I’ve learned during the past 20 years that almost all of us on planet earth have experienced some kind of trauma or loss, now more commonly recognized as POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD). We become trauma victims when we experience natural disasters, murder, suicide, gang fights, robbery, car accidents, rapes, riots, terrorism, war and yes, child abuse!
No matter what the cause, the symptoms are similar; and, the sooner we receive treatment the sooner we have a chance to once again lead a happier life. Here in the USA, the general public has become aware of PTSD because it is so prevalent among our Iraq Vets, who have been offered more mental care than any other military men in history.
My specialty is mental, emotional, physical and spiritual (not sexual) childhood PTSD recovery. I’ve looked closely at the effects of my upbringing on my adult life. Not only did I grow up in the darkness of Germany’s WWII war but also, I was abused physically with wooden spoons, closeted and much more. Ironically, I was able to put on a happy face and hold a 38 year Flight Attendant career because I didn’t recall the details of my childhood abuse until 1990 when I was 50 years old.
Once it was pointed out to me, I started an interesting healing process and it continues to this day. Adults who are victims of early childhood abuse are called Adult Children. I am a Recovering Adult Child, an adult with a little girl inside who was kept from a normal healthy development. Recovery to me was like putting together pieces of a puzzle.
Has it ever changed my life! The “old” Bettina suffered from chronic depression, hyper vigilance, high anxiety, explosive anger, unworthiness, hopelessness and fear in general. The new “Sparkles” is leading quite a content life with only occasional short lived PTSD symptoms. When this occurs I immediately apply appropriate tools I’ve learned and get back on track.
Unfortunately, childhood trauma victims are overlooked in our society. My guess is that only 10% of our mental health care system even considers childhood abuses to be PTSD cases. The reason may be that most childhood PTSD victims are unaware of their abuse. Their wounds are hidden deep inside and fester for a long time, even an entire life time, causing very troubled lives. In my case it manifested in destructive relationships and alcohol addiction.
Those whose interest has been stirred by this article so far, might be wondering, “How do I know if I was abused?”
I suggest you ask yourself the following questions:
“Is my life working? Am I happy?
Do I like me when I look at myself in the mirror?”
If you answer, “No,” you may have a dispirited child inside of you who is trying to get your attention!”
You might be blaming everyone else. I had the same false belief, “That’s just the way life is! There’s nothing I can do about it” I thought to myself.
That is not true! There’s hope for adults who have been severely abused or traumatized in their early childhood. Help is available and it’s never too late for healing one’s old severely wounded spirit.
Right here and right now, I proclaim that there is a way out of the darkness into the light, a better way of living. Here’s how:
1. We must be willing to take a very close look at ourselves and our lives.
2. We must strongly desire to make changes in our lives. (I call this, “I’m putting on my own oxygen mask first, before assisting others!”)
3. Good news! We don’t have to do it alone; help is available.
When I said, “I can’t stand this anymore. I’ve had enough,” I suddenly noticed all kinds of help coming my way in form of books, people, tapes, and even angels.
Now, it is my mission to get the word out on childhood PTSD. Therefore, I’m sharing my personal story in a trilogy memoir. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher but instead I became a Flight Attendant (stewardess) from 1965-2003. I use the metaphor of flying with God because it is a fact; and, we are here to extend His Love here on earth.
In 2006 I produced first book: “FLYING WITH GOD, Putting on a Happy Face.” It’s about growing up during the WWII in Germany, moving to America and starting my flying career. I include interviews, training, along with the interesting episodes and photos. More about childhood PTSD and excerpts from my book are available at bettinasparkles.com.
Perhaps “FLYING WITH GOD” will inspire you. I pray for that!
Bettina “Sparkles” Obernuefemann was born 1940 in Germany and presently lives in north central Arkansas, in the beautiful Ozark Mountains, with her husband Michael. July 31, 2003 she retired after a thirty-eight year flying career. She’s devoting her new ‘free’ time to writing, a creative effort blending her love for flying with her dedication to recovery and spirituality. Presently, Sparkles is enjoying writing her second book.