Growing Up “Hippie Poor” vs. Hillbilly Poor

I just finished J.D. Vance’s excellent Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, a book that’s part sociological analysis about poor white Americans, and part memoir about growing up with a drug-addicted mother and all the crappy crap that goes with that. I come from the opposite corner of the socioeconomic spectrum (well, the “socio” part of the poor spectrum).Vance was Hillbilly Poor and I was Hippie Poor, but my experience was about 90% the same as his.

When media types talk about “poor white people”, they don’t usually mean the kind that we were — the kind with college educated parents and brown-bread sandwiches and an Continue reading “Growing Up “Hippie Poor” vs. Hillbilly Poor”

Ten Tips For Staying Sane (This Time) When Family Visits Make You Crazy

Yay! The holidays are here and crappy childhood people everywhere are facing the prospect of returning home.

Let’s say you’ve escaped your crappy childhood and you’re living happy and free as a grown-up. You get an e-mail. It’s your mother. She wants to know if you are coming home for Thanksgiving and you say yes, of course, and you jump right online and book a $400 plane ticket. And then. The remorse. Sets in… Continue reading “Ten Tips For Staying Sane (This Time) When Family Visits Make You Crazy”

Beware: Facebook is a Dangerous Neighborhood!

Like many people with trauma in the past, I loooooove a good bit of drama. I’m not saying it’s good for me. I’m just saying that I have had an inexplicable attraction to things that involve intense emotions — things like seeing babies born, peering at a car wreck, falling in love, pondering the Holocaust,  watching TV shows about medical emergencies, and yes, Continue reading “Beware: Facebook is a Dangerous Neighborhood!”

Election Stress? You Can Calm Your Mind With This Simple, Free Writing Technique

In 1994 I was going through a freak out. One bad thing after another kept happening to me — loss of a loved one, end of a relationship and a head injury from a random gang attack ALL within a couple of months. For several weeks I could barely read or focus my attention enough to dial a phone number, and despite therapy three times a week, my depression and anxiety were getting worse. Continue reading “Election Stress? You Can Calm Your Mind With This Simple, Free Writing Technique”

Day By Day, You CAN Recover From Childhood PTSD, and Other Crappy Crap From the Past

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing lots and lots of information about and answering questions about the effects of childhood trauma on adults. I’ll be talking about the physical, neurological, psychological, spiritual and cultural effects (yes, it’s a culture, for better and worse). But since I’ve just done five posts about “the problem,” it’s time to say a little bit about solutions. I’m going to tell you about a handful of treatments that other people have found helpful, and then I’m going to introduce you for the first time to the technique that saved my life when I was throttled by PTSD.(If you want, you can cut to the chase and see the video here). Continue reading “Day By Day, You CAN Recover From Childhood PTSD, and Other Crappy Crap From the Past”