Have You Ever Had Toxic Stress?

This post is in collaboration with StressHealth.org. All opinions are my own.

Have you ever been the victim of toxic stress? Toxic stress can result from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and can affect lifelong behavior and even have lasting and tragic consequences. Not every child has the perfect upbringing. Sometimes it may look perfect to outsiders, but when you look inside, a different truth emerges.

Growing up, I went to a private school, had friends, always had plenty to eat; on the outside it looked like the perfect life. But inside, it was different. My parents fought a lot when I was young and I couldn't stand the screaming. I used to hide in my room because it was heard through the house. To this day I get nervous when people start raising their voices around me.

Then when I was a teenager, my mom started drinking. When she would drink, she would get mean and make me feel badly for how I looked. I didn't like seeing my mom drink. I remember pouring her bottles of wine down the kitchen sink. She always promised she would stop drinking, but she never did.

Experiences like these can result in toxic stress that is carried on into adulthood. Sometimes it's hard to let go of the baggage you've carried for all those years.

In my late teenage years, all of the fighting and drinking finally started giving me panic attacks. It also made me very antisocial. I wanted to be away from everything and everyone. For the most part, I stayed in my room because that was my safe haven.

Toxic stress can happen at anytime during your childhood. When I first watched this video from StressHealth, I immediately understood how the young boy felt. In the video, he is stuffing all the baggage from his bad childhood into the closet. And that's how so many of us treat our past, too. We bottle everything up inside until it has nowhere to go.

My experiences as a kid taught me about what type of parent I did NOT want to be. There is no yelling in our house and no alcohol is allowed either. My husband and I don't drink and I am proud to say that I have never taken a sip of alcohol in my life. I learned at a young age what it could do to a family.

If you think you might be suffering from toxic stress, you can learn more about it at www.stresshealth.org