Wraquel Spencer Brown, Peer Recovery and Grief and Loss Specialist speaking at the ALL4Knox meeting. Photo by Vivian Shipe

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — The Holidays are coming. During the season, tempers flair, in families people fight, shoppers react negatively, crimes increase; adults and children alike are affected by the season. But why?

ACES may be the answer to not only holiday reactions but many other situations arising in the lives of those we interact with.

ACES, also known as Adverse Childhood Experiences was the topic presented by Peer Recovery Grief and Loss Specialist Wraquel Spencer Brown at the third ALL4Knox town hall meeting.

She advised the crowd to begin to look at people through a trauma lens as children and adults are often triggered in their reactions to people or situations by something that happened to them in their past. Brown said there are ten types of known trauma: personal traumas of verbal, physical, sexual , and emotional abuse and neglect and trauma by family members via alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, and a jailed or absent parent can all play into the actions of a person years later.

Other trauma have surfaced over the last few years such as losing a caregiver, homelessness, moving a lot, recovering from an accident, being bullied, witnessing violence, discrimination, adverse neighborhood, and having been an adopted or foster child.

Many child in school are misdiagnosed or not diagnosed as suffering from ACES. This has led to increases of childhood suicides, unneeded prescriptions for ADHD drugs and a higher likelihood of the children experiencing, sadness, anger, shame, guilt, anxiety, and worry which left unchecked can cause harm to the child and others.

In many instances the person themselves may not even be aware of why they are reacting in a certain way.  As an adult, many don’t recognize these experiences they had as a child can trigger reactions not only verbally; they can also have an on an individuals health, and increase the likelihood of strokes, cancer, heart disease and diabetes according to a study done by Kaiser Permanente and the CDC in Atlanta.

Brown suggested instead of reacting to others by saying “What’s wrong with you!” we begin to see thru a trauma lens and reach out by asking “What happened to you ?” She then discussed some of the alternative ways to deal with ACES , some of which are: mindfulness training, tapping, centering, calming corners, and self awareness,

Good advice for the holiday and for every day.

For more information on understanding ACES and techniques to combat this issue: Contact Wraquel Brown at ForgetyounotTN@gmail.com or call (865) 208-3004