Childhood Trauma Is Not a Mental Illness

Eventually, I decided to retrieve my childhood records, hoping to learn more about what had happened to me. I wanted to know if my community had ever tried to help me, and I thought that maybe I’d find closure in the answers to the many questions I still had. To my surprise, I was able to retrieve almost 1,700 documents from CPS, and yes—they knew. The CPS records detailed all of the torment I had been living through. I also obtained my school records, mental health records, and juvenile justice records, all of which confirmed the abuse I’d survived while institutions were labeling and medicating my pain instead of holding my abusers accountable.

For example, clinicians had documented that for five years during my early childhood and adolescent years, I was living in an “unsafe environment that interfered with my overall functioning.” Yet nothing was done to remove me from that environment. These same clinicians also documented that when I was 21 years old, I was at a middle-school level and emotionally detached from my twins. The only solution I had been offered as a young adult was the same one they had placed on me growing up: to take my medication while they treated me for my “personality disorder.” I also discovered that the therapist assigned to me through Texas Medicaid was the same one that had treated my mom, whom I resented because she was my main abuser. Therapy never helped her, and the therapist never held her accountable for how she had treated me or addressed the trauma that, I later learned, my mother had suffered in her own life. Instead, they diagnosed and treated her for psychotic disorders.

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Kathleen Notes: Trauma often looks like mental illness and many of my clients have been misdiagnosed because of it. One of the reasons for this is because counselors, therapists and psychiatrists fail to look into childhood and/or prior trauma. Why? I`m not sure since the research is pretty clear.



- - Volume: 9 - WEEK: 13 Date: 3/25/2021 11:45:16 AM -