Blog Book Review

Book Review: What Happened to You?

Book what happened to you there is a women drawn with blue and green colors, this is the cover of the book.
Picture I took of the cover – I removed the library sticker that was covering the word, “What.”

If you want to understand how events or trauma from your childhood affect your current behaviors, I suggest this book! Oprah writes about her upbringing and connects events from her adulthood to her childhood. And Dr. Perry shares his findings from over 30 years of neuroscience research and different stories from clients he’s helped. He breaks down how the brain stores memories and where in the brain they are stored. It’s truly an insightful book.

Few things I learned:

  1. Our viewpoint of the world starts as soon as we are born, believe it or not.
  2. Infants can sense the environment, for example, if there is tension or if they are in a loving home.
  3. Our brain associates trauma with our senses – like touch or smell.
  4. How we were cared for as infants and children affects our brain development, and not only that – but also the timing of when the trauma happened is important and impactful. Since children’s brains develop the fastest before the first two years – that is where the event affects the brain most.
  5. Trauma affects our health (from mental health or physical health).

Few things that stood out to me:

  1. Dr. Perry writes that therapy is more about building new associations and making new, healthier default pathways.
  2. When he talked about implicit bias – he said, “These beliefs and values are stored in the highest, most complex part of your braid – the cortex. But other parts of your brain can make associations – distorted, inaccurate, racist associations.” He explains that a person can have anti-racist beliefs but still have implicit biases that come with racist comments or actions.
  3. His definition of racism is, “In the U.S., racism is the marginalization and oppression of people of color by systems created by white men to privilege white people.” Yup, that is systemic racism, and that does fall into CRT.
  4. The last thing that stood out to me was how Dr. Perry says we can heal as a society. “How can our society move toward a more humane, socially just, creative, and productive future without confronting our collective historical trauma? Both trauma experienced and trauma inflicted. If we truly want to understand ourselves, we need to understand our history – our true history. Because the emotional residue of our past follows us.” – Dr. Bruce Perry.

Overall, this book is about changing the question from “why are you like that” to “what happened to you.” Because our upbringing has a lot to do with who we are.

This book is a great resource, but I still fully believe in therapy and doing the work to heal and better ourselves.

With Love, Heidy


Mommy Issues

Sitting here drinking my third glass of wine – while thinking maybe I am more like my mother.

Drinking away my sorrows, pain and regrets.

Instead of facing my demons head-on.

I’ve always stride myself to not be like her.

But they say, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” right?

It’s like you were my example of what not to be.

I understand your mental issues NOW – but now it’s too late, you’re gone.

As a child you don’t understand. You don’t comprehend why your mother drinks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

By the time the moon is out she can barely walk.

She’s yelling and breaking things – cutting herself and slurring her words.

What? What are you saying? You don’t make sense?

So, what do you do?

You start to cry and hope that tomorrow is a better day – but it’s a repeat of yesterday and the day before.

Many have daddy issues. I have mommy issues.

The bible tells us to honor our father and mother.

But how do you honor the person who’s supposed to make you feel safe but instead causes so much pain and anxiety?

It’s conflicting!

No matter what – I love you.

You did the best you could drowning your demons in alcohol. Although, they swam up to the surface at night.

It was too much too bare for little me, for the both of us.

Which is why I swore to never be like you.

I told myself I would never drink.

Alcohol steals the joy.

It steals the good memories.

It robs you of feeling safe and secure – it makes you scared and unsure.

Alcohol is the enemy – it turned you into a monster.

But here I am drowning in that monster.

Am I more like you and less like me?

Many have daddy issues. I have mommy issues.

P.S. Happy what would have been your 47th birthday. I love you.

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Triggers Suck!

Sometimes you’re washing the dishes and your mind wonders to that place where the hurt happened. And you replay it in your head.

Or you could be driving and one thought goes to another and another and then you go to the hurt and then another hurt and maybe another, depending on how many you’ve experienced.

You replay the whole scenario again. What was done, what was said, what you saw, how you felt, parties involved.

Or you could be listening to a song, or a podcast episode, or watching a movie, even reading a book, and a similar situation is being talked about, so of course you relate because you’ve been through it. And you go back to that place of hurt.

A certain song you no longer listen to because it reminds you of the person, or place, or situation .

Triggers Suck!

And when the wound is deep the hurt is deep.

Process through the hurt, work through the hurt, talk through the hurt, write through the hurt, cry through the hurt.

Don’t put a time limit through the hurt. There’s no time limit to healing.

But healing is attainable.