Tag Archives: disability

Fighting Demons

Pittsburgh Steelers v. New England Patriots (2005) (CC BY-SA 3.0 Gen)

Pittsburgh Steelers v. New England Patriots at Heinz Field (2005), Author Bernard Gagnon (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Fighting the demons of anxiety, depression, and PTSD is a little like playing football [1][2].  We make headway then lose ground.  But the fight never really ends, not the way a game of football does.  There is no score.

We win by surviving another day.

Across Decades

It can be enormously discouraging to wrestle with the scars of abuse, decade in and decade out.  Surely, we must after all this time have made progress.

But progress is not linear.  Despite the passage of time, and an extensive list of medications – not to mention therapy – familiar demons can resurface.

Factors Impacting Our Success

So, are anxiety, depression, and PTSD ever really “conquered”?  Can they, at least, be fought to a standstill?  The answer depends.

The factors include the length and severity of the trauma we sustained; our particular genetics; the quality and extent of our medical treatment; our psychological and spiritual resources; the emotional support we have available; and the other stressors to which we are subjected.

None of these can be quantified.  Most can and do vary over the course of a lifetime.

The Struggle

Why not just throw in the towel (to mix sports metaphors)?  After all, the struggle is exhausting.  The struggle, however, is life. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Poverty, Rape, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, Sports, Violence Against Women

Polio

Tank respirator (“iron lung”) in use at Union Hospital, Terre Haute, IN 1953-1973, Author Daderot (PD)

Polio has been known since antiquity [1].  Before vaccines for the virus were discovered, polio was a scourge [2].

Fortunate patients experienced only minor symptoms.  Others were paralyzed to varying degrees; left with deformed limbs, or permanently dependent on mechanical respirators (“iron lungs”) for their next breath.  A certain percentage died outright.

Up to 50% of those who survived polio succumbed to post-polio syndrome, as long as 35 years later.  The symptoms of post-polio syndrome include exhaustion, difficulties with memory and concentration, increasing muscle and joint pain, and depression.

Will Power and Moral Superiority

Recovery from polio is not reliant on will power or moral superiority.  Neither is recovery from abuse.  We must not, therefore, grade ourselves on the extent to which we can be said to have recovered.

Vulnerability

Like polio, abuse can leave us vulnerable in certain areas.  This is not the same as being weak.  To be weak suggests that, with a little work, we might be stronger.  It implies a certain lack of character on our part.  That is not the case with abuse.

Effort and Determination

Yes, we can, with effort and determination, overcome some of the physical, mental, and emotional scars stemming from abuse.  But there is no arithmetic relationship between effort and outcome.  A teaspoon of sweat will not guarantee us a corresponding amount of improvement.  Nor, for that matter, will a gallon.

That is not to say the effort is useless.  Whether we succeed in overcoming the scars of our abuse or not, the mere effort develops qualities in us we could not have anticipated.  Qualities like courage, patience, and humility.  Like fortitude. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse