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August 2018 Newsletter
In this issue we announce the dates and locations for some of the recently funded national educational workshops and you can read about our annual national day, Blue Knot Day.
We are keen to highlight our theme to foster the different activities for Blue Knot Day Monday 29 October, 2018 with community events and activities across the country all week from that Monday to Sunday 4 November. In this issue we share a couple of events that might spark an idea for you and your workplace or community.
We are constantly encouraged by the different ways people contribute to raising awareness and support for adult survivors of childhood trauma.
In My Story this month we hear from Bj who shares some of his journey of yearning, healing, forgiving and now living joyfully with his own family.
In the ‘Self Care Resources’ section we introduce two free apps that offer resources, suggestions and information which could help you or someone else you think could benefit.
Our feature article this month discusses the prevalence and impacts of sleepless nights and insomnia and provides ideas and tips that may help if you are having trouble sleeping.
As always if you have comments about what you have read in this issue, contributions for the My Story section or suggestions for future issues, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
At my present age and she at hers when she died:
she could actually be a daughter and I her parent.
It’s time I grew up.
To stop looking for the mother to nurse me into health
To heal me, after having broken me
So it’s time to age past the sexualized trauma
To grow up emotionally as I have physically.
Why is it so hard to mature past a soul wound?
To use some of Tracy’s story (Breaking Free May 2017)
“I claim this life my own. I walk this earth; I live my time,
having told the Knights of my dark nights”
Claire (Breaking Free May 2017) grew to a point
enabling release towards her parent.
As she matured he grew smaller.
Somewhat similar to her I presume the affects
will go down into the grave with me.
I’ve outgrown my parent by 20 years
In death she came to me as I sat alone at work,
I knew it was her but as this time she had been made whole.
I yearned for this wholeness.
The wonder of the other world, forgiving the unforgivable.
I yearned to be the same, made whole.
To free her To free me.
And in so doing release all mothers from my
imposed responsibility on them for the wrong done:
waiting for them to gather together my wounded parts
To be the fairy god-mother who waved the magic wand,
miraculously restoring all which had been stolen away.
A knife to the soul
Are drained out
As blood from the body.
Looking for the mother
The mother who never was.
Who stole everything
From her very own child.
Despite all of this, my partner and I have raised two daughters untouched by my childhood, or experiencing anything similar. Of this I am most glad; knowing the childhood sexual abuse and violence stopped with me. In my family childhood sexual abuse did not become transgenerational. They watch my agony at times, but have not experienced it. My joy abounds, and I can relate to Christine Cissy White (Breaking Free May 2017) who wrote of parenting whilst dealing with her own stuff; she looks back at the maturing of her daughter with joy. As for me, if I have done nothing else with my life but protect my children from an R18 world, then I will die happy, knowing that on the other side, no judgement will befall me. Bj
Follow this link to read Breaking Free May 2017 again
RESEARCH PROJECT: ADULT RESILIENCE AND WELL-BEING FOLLOWING ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES
You are invited to participate in a small research project which focuses on the role of resilience in fostering well-being, in adults who have experienced any form of adversity during their childhood or adolescence, prior to 18 years of age.
Participation in this study is entirely voluntary, 100% anonymous, and entails completion of a short on-line survey that will take approximately 15 minutes.
This study is being conducted by researchers at the University of New England (UNE).
The study has been approved by the University of New England’s Human Research Ethics Committee.
If you are interested to participate, further information and access to the survey is provided in the link below.
If you have any queries, please contact Karen Munce by email (email@example.com)
Thank you for your support.
Click on this link to access survey.
The films are supported by evidence-based tasks (created by a team of experts). I really enjoyed seeing the few films I watched, hearing from people across the globe as they share snippets of their challenges and how they cope.
There are 3 focus areas ‘Smile More,’ ‘Self Compassion’ and ‘Stress Less’. Each area offers a daily task, which starts with a mood check in, before and after each activity and links for extra support if needed.
Blue Knot Foundation makes every effort to provide readers of its website and newsletters with information which is accurate and helpful. It is not however a substitute for counselling or professional advice. While all attempts have been made to verify all information provided, Blue Knot Foundation cannot guarantee and does not assume any responsibility for currency, errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the information provided.
Chats For Life
The Chats For Life app will help you to plan a conversation with someone that you may be concerned about, who may be struggling or not going well. Designed with and for young people, however the skills are also very useful for any age group.
A series of short videos will give you tips on how you may plan difficult conversations. You can create and access your conversation plans and the video tips on your phone or tablet at any time. The app allows you to schedule chats and reminders for chats with your friend or family member. #suicideprevention
The creators encourage users to be kinder, help others, and improve relationships.
Pope Francis has said he would not respond to explosive accusations by a former top Vatican official that the pontiff had covered up sexual abuse, saying dismissively that the document containing the allegations "speaks for itself". Read More
Monday 29 October
The Australian government will deliver a formal national apology to victims of institutional child sexual abuse on Monday October 22, as part of the federal response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The following week, on Monday 29 October, Blue Knot Foundation’s national awareness raising event, Blue Knot Day, will be held across the country – an annual event where Blue Knot encourages all Australians to unite in support of adult survivors of childhood trauma.
“This is a historic time”, said Blue Knot President Dr. Cathy Kezelman AM. “A time in which, as a nation, we are starting to choose compassion and healing over rejection and blame, and the avoiding of uncomfortable truths. Our compassion as a nation is far greater than our fear of the truth”.
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, described the compassion and respect shown by the Royal Commissioners and their staff as setting “a pathway to real change” and that “we must do everything in our power to honour the bravery of the thousands of people who came forward.”
Blue Knot Day will honour the estimated 60,000 plus Australian men and women violated in 4,000 of Australia’s institutions.
“60,000 real people. 60,000 real lives. Hidden crimes with silenced victims, their traumas revealed through a ground-breaking Royal Commission”, according to Dr. Kezelman.
“There are still many other victims and survivors hidden, silenced, violated through multiple abuses, neglect, parental separation and ill-health, the imprisonment of a family member, violence and other traumas that no child should have to withstand.
“Acknowledgment is the first step along the long road to healing, but acknowledgement is nothing without action. And, so we act”.
Blue Knot Foundation, The National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma, delivers free and confidential support to survivors and their supporters through a specialist Helpline; educational workshops across the country to enable survivors to learn more about themselves and the ways forward through trauma; training programs for diverse professionals who work with adult survivors; and resources and research materials to help shape a more trauma informed, compassionate and healing culture for change.
As the victims of institutional child sexual abuse are honoured through the national apology, Blue Knot Foundation is inviting all Australians to strengthen this pathway towards healing through their ‘REAL LIVES. REAL CHANGE.’ Blue Knot Day theme; supporting the estimated 5 million Australian adult survivors of childhood trauma, and the 5 million boys and girls they once were.
“Trauma hurts us all”, said Dr. Kezelman. “The 5 million adult survivors of childhood trauma living in this country today are not faceless victims. They are our friends, our family, our co-workers, our next door neighbours. They are us. Trauma affects us all and this is our time to create real change, together.
“The time for blame, for turning away, for hiding, for running and denying, is over. Join us this Blue Knot Day, as we get real about helping to turn shattered lives around”.
To purchase Blue Knot Day merchandise, make a donation or find out more about how to raise awareness in your community visit https://www.blueknot.org.au/BlueKnotDay
Blue Knot Day will be held on Monday October 29, 2018 with community events and activities happening across the country from 29 October – 4 November.
By Jane Macnaught, Breaking Free Editor
SLEEP is an important topic – when we feel tired or sleep deprived small life issues can quickly become more difficult. If you have experienced trauma as a child, or you live with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or complex PTSD it is quite likely that you also experience one or more of the following: sleepless nights, impaired sleep, sleep disorders, broken sleep, nightmare intrusions, insomnia, hypersomnia.
A good night’s sleep provides many benefits. In this article we will consider the prevalence and impacts of sleepless nights and insomnia. We will provide some ideas and tips that may help if you are having trouble sleeping.
Why Is Sleep So Important?
The Sleep Health Foundation recent survey found that inadequate sleep is “very common in Australian adults, affecting 33-45% of adults (across all age groups).” The average reported sleep time was 7 hours, with 12% sleeping less than 5½ hours and only 8% reporting sleeping more than 9 hours a night. The majority of respondents that sleep less than 5 ½ hours noted frequent daytime impairment or sleep-related symptoms.
Sleep disorders and insufficient sleep have been linked to cognitive function and mental well-being. Reports include changes in mood, thinking, concentration, memory, learning, vigilance and reaction times. Sleep disorders have been strongly linked to a diverse range of health problems and chronic diseases.
A fascinating recently published study is the first to show a two-way relationship between sleep loss and becoming socially isolated, shedding new light on the global loneliness epidemic. In the study they found sleep loss blunted activity in brain regions that normally encourage social engagement. “Without sufficient sleep we become a social turn-off, and loneliness soon kicks in.” Yasmin Anwar, University of California - Berkeley. read more here
Neuroscientist Matthew Walker, author of, Why We Sleep, “explains the power of circadian rhythms, the therapeutic importance of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) dream sleep, and how alcohol, caffeine, pharmaceutical stimulants and sedatives disrupt sleep cycles and degrade the quality of brain waves that promote the rich slumber that wards off illness…”
“…There does not seem to be one major organ within the body, or process within the brain, that isn’t optimally enhanced by sleep (and detrimentally impaired when we don’t get enough). That we receive such a bounty of health benefits each night should not be surprising,” Walker writes
Are you one of those people that can never sleep more that 4-5 hours at night? Do you find that you catch up on sleep later in the day? Or at least try to. This is not uncommon and you might be a bi-modal sleeper. “Although we aspire to have consolidated sleep, this may not suit everyone’s body clock or work schedule. It might in fact be a throwback to a bi-model sleep pattern from our pre-industrial ancestors” read the article Insomnia was not discussed in literature until the late 19th century and this when the records of split sleeping ceased and modern society started to place pressure on the idea of one continuous solid sleep.
Nightmares and intrusive thoughts are a common problem for people who have experienced trauma. It can feel like you are re-living the events over and over each night. If this is a persistent problem, consider getting some support from your therapist or the counsellors on the Blue Knot Helpline. You may also like to look at the advice for managing nightmares from Living Well – written for men however equally useful for everyone.
1. Take A Warm Bath Or Shower. The contrasting temperature between the warm shower and your cool bedroom helps with sleep onset by sending a signal to the body to produce the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, which induces sleep. Enjoy a warm bath or shower just before bed.
2. Create a Peaceful Bedroom. Is the room welcoming, peaceful, calming and does it encourage sleep? Introduce cool colours, calm & inspiring pictures, images, objects and ensure the decorations are soft and comforting. Remove excess clutter, any potential triggers and known stressors from your bedroom.
3. Regular Sleep Patterns. A regular sleep routine keeps your biological clock steady. Help your body to establish a healthy sleep routine by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day, even on the weekends. Going to bed at a similar time each night allows the body to anticipate and prepare for bedtime. As a result, the routine will help you to feel sleepier at bedtime and fall asleep quicker, and you may possibly wake before your alarm.
4. Bedtime Buffer Zone. In preparation for bed, plan the time after dinner until bedtime. Separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety. Ninety minutes before bedtime avoid looking at computers, and smartphone screens. (remember they emit the blue light that stops melatonin production). Avoid watching over-stimulating shows on the TV. Keep the room dark and the TV a fair distance away and it may not affect you as much as a blue light from computers/ smart phones which are usually held closer to your pupils. However, restricting TV time may improve your sleep quality and quantity.
5. Can’t Sleep? Get Up. During the night do you wake up and find you can’t get back to sleep? Sometimes lying in bed, tossing and turning pushes our stress buttons. If you can't get off to sleep, it is advised that you get out of bed, go into another room and do something relaxing in low lights until you feel tired.
6. Avoid Caffeine and Excess Alcohol. It is known that caffeine (coffee, tea, coke) inhibits sleep onset. We are advised to avoid any of these drinks after 1pm. Also avoid excess alcohol in the evening – it may act as a sedative however the sugars in alcohol interrupt deep sleep.
7. Get In The Mood. Increase the use of relaxing activities before bed - try to get in the mood: Diffuse lavender or other essential oils, play peaceful music, listen to a familiar talking book, change your bed sheets, fluff your pillows, wrap yourself in a soft rug, allow some fresh air in, lower the blinds, drink warm herbal tea or milk and so on…
Young Doctors Expo
Blue Knot Foundation recently participated in the ‘Health Maintenance Community Expo’, which is held every two years for the first and second year undergraduate medicine students at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), one of Australia's leading research and teaching universities.
The expo, held on Friday August 3, attracted over 500 students, with some of the major learning themes in the Health Maintenance course being education, health promotion and disease prevention.
“The expo provided us with an opportunity to engage with students as they enter their healthcare careers”, said Shan Vasu, Blue Knot Foundation Marketing and Sales Coordinator. “Adult survivors of childhood trauma can often live with multiple and complex health needs and so it was a great opportunity for us to engage with students across a range of medical disciplines; raising awareness of both the impacts of childhood trauma, and the possibilities for recovery”.
Our thanks also this issue to Grill’d, Neutral Bay for their support in raising awareness of Blue Knot Foundation in the local community, through the ‘Local Matters’ community donation program, where customers donate tokens to 1 of 3 selected charities every month.
“It has been so inspiring to see such support from both the customers and the Grill’d team”, said Blue Knot Fundraising Manager, Cath James. “And to know there is such strong support in the local community in the run up to Blue Knot Day”.
A $300 donation was made by Grill’d, Neutral Bay at a recent lunch hosted by the restaurant for the Blue Knot team, recognising that Blue Knot Foundation was selected by most customers as their charity of choice that month.
Our thanks to the team at Grill’d for your generosity and to the customers for your support!
A big thank you to everyone who generously donated to our end of financial year fundraising appeal. The funds raised have allowed us to schedule educational workshops for survivors in cities and towns around Australia in 2018/2019 – one in each State and Territory.
We are announcing four workshops for 2018, further workshops to be held in 2019. Other dates to be released soon.
To register please click here
Blue Knot Foundation’s one day educational workshops are specifically designed for adults who have experienced childhood trauma and/or abuse. They provide information in a safe space to help survivors learn about the ways their prior trauma might be affecting them. How to care for themselves and seek effective support.
Here’s what a couple of prior attendees said:
“I did not expect to learn as much as I did or feel as comfortable as I did. The workshop today has made me feel brighter about my future and that I have more power in my healing. The fact that it is available free of charge is absolutely fantastic and is one less stress and obstacle in healing. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity..” Anonymous
“Wow! Awesome knowledge towards the journey of recovery. Hope is a powerful thing! This workshop has given that. Hope towards recovery and a life of genuine happiness in the future.” Anonymous
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