I never give up and it has been hope that has gotten me through some bad times. Hope is sure getting a work out lately. But hope can’t do it all. When simply living our lives we have every day stress, some more intense some less, but we are also surrounded by waste from the largest superfund site. Dr. Bob Wright told me years ago that stress is also toxic and can make you literally sick. His wife Dr. Rosalind Wright spoke at one of the Tar Creek Conferences on stress of living in a superfund site.
The contaminated waste here should be dealt with in a safe, consistent manner. We cannot will it away, there are tons of it. We need help and the agency created to help and protect our citizens is the EPA.
There is a great effort a foot to de-power the EPA, since regulations have become a dirty word and they set regulations and enforce rules. Most rule-breakers are not you or me, the rules are broken by polluting companies. Some pay fines and never correct their actions to protect human health and the environment with it cheaper to violate rules and pay the fines. But the push to demonize the only federal agency with "Protection" in its name is working. And we may lose our protectors, flawed as they have been.
Life in America was really toxic before the Environmental Protection Agency was put in place and that may be where we go again for a time before the pendulum swings back to protecting us and not business profits. All that to say, fear is one of my stressors and hope my go-to, modifies some of it.
Hoping EPA is around to do its work to protect the future we all hope to have in Ottawa County and the country, hoping community members, young and old will want to get trained to be lay health advisors helping make sure our kids and their parents know how to be protected from our local lead exposures. Hoping the tribes continue to receive their funding to keep their valuable environmental departments operating to help protect their members.
There are different kinds of stress, some positive that push us to get things done. Tolerable stress we can muster through and be ok, maybe even better for it but we can be derailed by excessive or prolonged stress on the body and brain. Stress can have damaging effects on learning, behavior, and health across the lifespan when it disrupts the development of brain and other organ systems, and increases the risk for cognitive impairment and developmental delays, and stress related problems later in life like heart disease, diabetes, substance abuse, and depression.
Toxic stress increases the risks for smoking, suicide, teen pregnancy, STD’s, and domestic violence. It seemed like the stresses we experience in childhood we can carry on to stress our own children. These toxic stresses can reduce children’s ongoing chances of success in school, holding jobs and maintaining stable relationships.
Childhood exposure to “toxic stress” can have a cumulative toll on a person’s well-being and happiness for a lifetime.
Children can be shielded from the most damaging effects of stress and effects reversed if their parents are taught how to respond appropriately. When a child feels loved and valued by a parent, it buffers the circumstances and that can buffer the stresses.
Understanding the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences and toxic stress gives us a powerful tool for not only addressing health disparities, but for improving the lives of all Americans. The effects of ACEs are well known and there are implications for all those who deal with children, youth and adults with behavior problems.
Jim Wikel, a therapist with Grand Lake Mental Health talked recently about the questions we ask: "What's wrong with the person?" needs to be changed to: "What happened to the person?" When we change the question Robert Anda believes it would be the most important opportunity for the prevention of health and social problems and disease and disability that has ever been seen. AND THAT SOUNDS LIKE HOPE TO ME.
There is a common biology with every child in America who is experiencing adversity. Our future and the future of any society depends on its ability to foster the healthy development of the next generation. We do this and we can learn to do it even better. Delight in your child's amazements and be there as their shield, you are my hope and they are ours.
Knowing Hope is the thing with feathers ... Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim
'Hope' is the thing with feathers--
That perches in the soul--
And sings the tune without the words--
And never stops—at all--
And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard--
And sore must be the storm--
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm--
I've heard it in the chillest land--
And on the strangest Sea--
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.