Introduction to Elizabeth Brico, Author of ‘Trauma! A PTSD Blog’
Hi, my name is Elizabeth Brico and I’m the new author of Trauma! A PTSD Blog. You can also call me Betty if you prefer. I've been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for almost a decade. I developed it in response to domestic violence, which occurred when I was a teenager. HealthyPlace has been a long time refuge for me. I've enjoyed reading the various blogs and articles, especially those pertaining to PTSD. You can imagine, then, that I'm thrilled to be joining the team as one of the authors of Trauma! A PTSD Blog.
Dealing with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a complex disorder. Although new studies are discovering that some people may have a biological propensity for it, PTSD is, essentially, a disorder that is developed. Nobody is born traumatized. And, not everyone who experiences trauma ends up with PTSD. Though there is still much to be learned, the scientific community agrees that PTSD results from a combination of traumatic experience and poor support afterward. I find that information pretty interesting because it means that, even if something really bad happens, when people get proper support they don't always have to be traumatized for the rest of their lives.
Supporting Someone After Trauma
Everyone's story is unique, but for me and many people I know who have PTSD, the reason we didn't have the support we needed wasn't because nobody cared about us. The people in our lives just didn’t understand what we needed. When my abuse happened, I was really young, which meant most of my friends were young, too. My family was, justifiably, horrified. All of these people cared, but nobody knew what to do, including me. I had no idea how to ask for help, or how to help myself. Honestly, I'm still figuring that out. So that's a big part of my journey I want to share here: figuring out how those of us living in the aftermath of trauma can support ourselves, and also how we can help the people in our lives to better support us.
Parenting with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Another important thing about me that I should tell you is that I am a mama. I have three kids, two of whom live with my husband and I full time. Our two girls are both toddlers. My home can get pretty hectic. Having PTSD is hard, and being a parent is hard. When you combine the two, life can feel downright impossible, at times. A lot of what I do each day is figuring out how to maintain my sense of self, while providing a safe environment in which my family can thrive.
Mindfulness, exercise, and writing are the main tools I use to keep myself balanced. I spend at least a few minutes each day doing all three. Before identifying those healthy tools, I was doing a lot of really unhealthy coping – the kind that alleviated my symptoms for a moment but ultimately made my life worse. I'm still learning and still healing, but I'm doing better today than at any other point in the last 10 years. For that, I am grateful.
Recognizing the Role of Community in PTSD Healing
Although posttraumatic stress disorder is estimated to occur in about 7%-8% of the population, it is a disorder marked by isolation. It is common for those of us with PTSD to feel as though we don't belong, even within the communities where we spend our time most. Sharing our experiences and communicating with one another is extremely important. I hope to use my time writing at HealthyPlace demonstrating that, if you're living with PTSD, you are not alone. You are worthy, your experience deserves a voice, and you deserve for that voice to be heard.
Brico, E. (2017, August 16). Introduction to Elizabeth Brico, Author of ‘Trauma! A PTSD Blog’, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, June 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/2017/08/introduction-to-elizabeth-brico
Author: Elizabeth Brico
I have suffered chronic SEVERE abuse since I was born in my grandmothers bedroom where she also had to name me while waiting for the ambulance cuz my biological mother was too drugged up to even realize she gave birth. We suffered every abuse there is while we were with her on top of her sometimes selling me and my siblings to her "clients" for extra pay, things, or drugs. We were taken 3 or 4 different times from her cuz they would give us back then take us and put us in foster care again which mostly wasn't much better honestly, but everyone turned a blind eye to the foster homes cuz they needed foster homes desperately and sometimes because they worked with the social workers, they had become friends so they didn't care what they did. My sister and i were abducted from our school playground at 5.At 8 I was finally adopted to a family about almost the same as my biological family. At almost 10 years old, they decided I opened my mouth too much and kicked me out. I married an abusive man 10 years older than me on my 18th birthday who constantly told me I should be glad he still married me after finding out I had cancer a couple weeks before we were married. Divorced him soon. Got pregnant with my oldest by another extremely abusive and very dangerous guy I had dated from time to time during my teen years. Had 2 more kids and try as I might, I COULD NOT escape from him. Domestic violence shelters, moving different homes, then cities, then states. He always found us and it was safer for me to appease him and convince him that I was going to stay with him. Until I got the chance to run again. Eventually going to a place where I was to a certain extent, better protected from him with them than I was protected from the police and courts and shelters as hard as they tried to protect me and my kids, he stalked the shelters and had them on complete lockdowns for weeks at a time. A couple of them saying that my case was one of the worst cases they had ever seen. Unfortunately my children were witness to the violence or once in a while, the object of his rage. I did what I could to protect them with the options I had available at that time which often meant putting myself physically in between him and them when I noticed him shifting moods so when he did rage it was me that it landed on. He did do some damage to everyone in the family though. I was doing good for a while then I started dating and had a child with another guy I had dated off and on during my teens as well and of course he was an abusive alcoholic so I was pretty quick to figure it out and start coming up with a game plan to leave safely with all of us, when I had gone to do leave, we were in a car accident that left me in the hospital for a couple weeks and half my body paralyzed for a while before we got far out of town and he didn't know that we were leaving leaving him thankfully so him and his family took care of my kids while I was in the hospital cuz of course I had absolutely no one else around. I also found out that I was pregnant while at the hospital. A week after the hospital I was still partially paralyzed and using a walker and wheelchair and cps came and even though I explained everything that I was leaving I just had to change plans and wait for a few more days until I had someone coming hours to get me and the kids to stay with them and leaving him and even though I had just been in the hospital and was half paralyzed, the worker took my children anyway and told me that now I can't leave at all even though I had nothing and no one for hours away. There was a lot of illegal things going on with that worker and my case and my kids but thats too long. I did everything and more even volunteering to be drug tested every single day for 3 months straight even though I had never had any concerns with anything like that at all. She took my baby from the hospital and I never got to take him home at all and she asked me to provide everything I had set up for him already (which she knew cuz she and another worker came to see my home and told the judge in court 2 days before that they had no concerns and wouldn't have anything to do with the new baby)to the foster home for him. I did everything they asked me to and more. About a year into fighting for my 5 kids I met my current husband and then at the end I got pregnant with my daughter and the worker told me she was never going to give my kids back "because she didn't FEEL like it". But that she would give me a deal, she would leave the baby I was currently pregnant with alone, if I signed over my parental rights for all my other kids by the end of the week. Otherwise she still would never allow me to have my kids back but if I decided to fight more instead, then as soon as my baby was born I would never even get to see her, and she would have ALL my kids. So I took a couple of the hardest days and finally decided that there was a chance a family member would get my kids and that's what we thought was going to happen but again she lied so much about that, but I knew I couldn't do anything to get my oldest children and I was determined I was going to save at least one of my babies from that child torture system they call foster care. So I signed. I had my daughter 3 months later she tried to get the cps workers in that county cuz I got smart and moved out of her jurisdiction but they came and said she was basically on a full blown power trip with me and they had absolutely no concerns about mine and my husband's ability to parent and care for our baby so they let us leave the hospital with her. Since then I've tried several times to get any sort of contact or information about my children, I've had my last child 2 years ago now and my husband is great and we have our 2 daughters, but when I lost my children that was the absolute worst thing that has ever happened to me. With everything that I've endured that is by far the worst thing. My PTSD has been in full swing pretty much since and I've done my best to manage and still be a good mom to the kids I have but its sometimes more than I can bear looking at them and being reminded so much of their brothers and sister. My sister also lost her children and is definitely not doing as well as I'm trying to right now. Hopefully things get better for her as well. I don't beat my kids, they are well loved and cared for. One of the things that kept being said by the worker during my case was who my mother was and how she was and her record. That DOES NOT mean that I am my mother. She affected my life for the long haul for sure, but I am not her and will never be. I know unfortunately my oldest children have already had damage done that I can't reverse no matter how much I want to, but I did the best I could with what I had at the time and i can only hope that one day they will come find me and unlike with me and my biological mother, they aren't disappointed but proud that I'm they're mother and know that I love them and every single day I live i try to make at least one small step towards being the best person and mother I can possibly be. I'll never be perfect or fit into the picture of "being a good mom" that people (especially people with money) tend to see in their head when asked what does a good mom look like to you, but I'm doing the best I can and I'm better today. Its different every day whether it's going to be an easier day being a good mom and managing my PTSD, or a freaking HARD one like the last couple because it was my son Orion's 10th birthday yesterday. Practice compassion and empathy people. Don't just make assumptions about someone just because they had something bad happen to them, and don't hear one thing, like they had their kids taken by cps, and assume you know them and the person they are because you have a preconceived notion due to stigmas about whatever it is. You have NO IDEA what actually happened what the actual story and facts are.
Thank you for sharing so openly and vulnerably about what you've been through and continue to experience. I am so sorry for the pain, injustice and trauma that you have been subjected to. You are absolutely right—it's vital to lead with compassion and empathy before making assumptions about the stories and circumstances of others. Thank you for the courage and resilience it took for you to share these pieces of your own story.
Blog Comment Moderator
Also, regarding the comment by the woman who shared abuse from childhood. You have recognized the precious and wonderful resilience inherent in faith. It cuts across all limitations and has a great effect on healing from the heartbreaking events that were horrible and beyond your control in childhood. Thank you for sharing.
Elizabeth, nice article on CBD. I’m a certified Medical Review Officer (MRO) and went through fairly extensive training from one of the National certification programs a couple years ago. You need to be a physician to go through the training. MROS receive urine drug testing results From federally mandated drug testing programs, as well as other testing programs such as pre-employment, post-accident and the like. I wanted to let you know that for someone in a job or applying for a job covered by mandatory federal drug testing, such as a truck driver or pilot, a test positive for THCA (the monitored metabolite for cannabis) above the cutoff is a positive test. Since cannabis is a Schedule I drug, understanding that the FDA has approved a cannavis extract for intractable seizures in children, any THC above the cutoff is positive. The only legal and legitimate reason would be that someone is a child with intractable seizures. The source of the THC is a moot point, whether it be hemp or cannabis. Oils distilled from hemp would consist of many plants, so even if a batch had tested low for THC, not every bud in that batch would have been screened. Given natural variability, one would have to expect a wide variation in THC levels. It goes without saying that any cannabis-derived CBD product would be expected to have a higher concentration of THC and higher risk for detection. For this reason I would advise caution in talking about risk of having THC in the urine, because people can lose a career for having too much THC in a urine drug test, regardless of the source,, and variability in THC levels is going to be a wide range for any natural product. Thank you for the article, though, it was well done, but no one apparently told you that federally mandated testing guidelines for MROs do not differentiate the source of the THC.
I was diagnosed with severe complex ptsd from child abuse and have flashbacks everyday n spend everyday alone. Its been 50 years and not getting better. I rely on Roman 8:18 The sufferings of this world wont compare to the glory to be revealed in us. Amen
I've just been diagnosed with PTSD a year ago after suffering for 29 years. I'm undergoing emdr and cbt but feel I'm only getting worse. My circle of friends has become small ( my choice) and I feel like I really cannot do much longer. Struggling isn't the word! I'm considering another medication yet again as nothing so far has helped. Any advice please? ?
Hey Paula. Thank you for your comment. I'm so sorry to hear that you're having such a hard time with PTSD. It can be a devastating disorder to live with. I'm not a medical or psychiatric professional, simply a peer, so please take what I say as such, but I think that the best thing you can do to help yourself is to persevere. You may have been living with this for a long time, but being diagnosed changes things. It allows you to name your struggles, which is a sort of power, and allows you to find tools to help combat it. Maybe a new medication is a good idea. Another is to pursue a therapist who clicks with you, and that can sometimes mean going through a couple. There are lot of different practices out there-talk therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, etc...so if one or two things haven't worked for you, that doesn't mean there isn't something that will. It's really hard work, but it is possible to feel better eventually. And keep reaching out to people!! That's a great thing to do for yourself <3
I find it difficult to find support--the church choir has my closest friends--they don't care what I have and love me
I feel you Elliot. It is really, really hard to find support, especially with all of the misinformation and stigma surrounding PTSD and other disorders. I"m happy for you that you have found solace and support in your church choir! That's wonderful! It's really important to have people in your life who love you without judgment. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment :)