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A Sheriff And A Doctor Team Up To Map Childhood Trauma

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Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell (left) and Dr. Nancy Hardt, University of Florida.

Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell (left) and Dr. Nancy Hardt, University of Florida.

Bryan Thomas for NPR

The University of Florida’s Dr. Nancy Hardt has an unusual double specialty: She’s both a pathologist and an OB-GYN. For the first half of her career, she brought babies into the world. Then she switched — to doing autopsies on people after they die.

It makes perfect sense to her.

“Birth, and death. It’s the life course,” Hardt explains.

A few years ago, Hardt says, she learned about someresearch that changed her view of how exactly that life course — health or illness — unfolds.

The research shows that kids who have tough childhoods — because of poverty, abuse, neglect or witnessing domestic violence, for instance — are actually more likely to be sick when they grow up. They’re more likely to get diseases like asthma, diabetes and heart disease. And they tend to have shorter lives than people who haven’t experienced those difficult events as kids.

“I want to prevent what I’m seeing on the autopsy table,” Hardt says. “I’ve got to say, a lot of times, I’m standing there, going, ‘I don’t think this person had a very nice early childhood.’ ”

Back in 2008, Hardt was obsessing about this problem. She wanted to do something to intervene in the lives of vulnerable kids on a large scale, not just patient by patient.

Hardt’s Map Of Medicaid Births

The deep blue and red spot on the left shows the Gainesville area’s most dense concentration of babies born into poverty — to parents on Medicaid.

Medicaid birth map

So, by looking at Medicaid records, she made a map that showed exactly where Gainesville children were born into poverty. Block by block.

Right away she noticed something that surprised her: In the previous few years, in a 1-square-mile area in southwest Gainesville, as many as 450 babies were born to parents living below the poverty line.

It just didn’t make sense to her — that was an area she thought was all fancy developments and mansions.

So Hardt took her map of Gainesville, with the poverty “hotspot” marked in deep blue, and started showing it to people. She’d ask them, “What is this place? What’s going on over there?”

Eventually she brought the map to the CEO of her hospital, who told her she just had to show it to Alachua County’s sheriff, Sadie Darnell.

So Hardt did.

And, to Hardt’s surprise, Sheriff Darnell had a very interesting map of her own.

Darnell had a thermal map of high crime incidence. It showed that the highest concentration of crime in Gainesville was in a square-mile area that exactlyoverlaid Hardt’s poverty map.

“It was an amazing, ‘Aha’ moment,” says Darnell.

“We kind of blinked at each other,” Hardt says. “And — simultaneously — we said, ‘We’ve got to do something.’ ”

The hotspot is dotted with isolated, crowded apartment complexes with names like Majestic Oaks and Holly Heights. The first time she visited, on a ride-along with Sheriff Darnell’s deputies, Hardt tallied up all things that make it hard for kids here to grow up healthy.

Dr. Nancy Hardt's free "clinic on wheels," parked in December at an apartment complex in Gainesville, Fla., gets about 5,000 visits from patients each year.

Dr. Nancy Hardt’s free “clinic on wheels,” parked in December at an apartment complex in Gainesville, Fla., gets about 5,000 visits from patients each year.

Bryan Thomas for NPR

There’s a lot of poorly maintained subsidized housing. Tarps cover leaky roofs. Mold and mildew spread across stucco walls. Sherry French, a sergeant from the sheriff’s office, says lots of families here have trouble getting enough to eat.

Hardt added hunger to her list and substandard housing. And she noticed something else: almost a total lack of services, including medical care.

She mapped it out and determined that the closest place to get routine medical care if you’re uninsured — which many people here are — is the county health department. It’s almost a two-hour trip away by bus. Each way.

This was a problem a doctor like Hardt could tackle. She would bring medical care to the hotspot, by rustling up a very large donation: a converted Bluebird school bus, with two exam rooms inside.

Hardt organized a massive crew of volunteer doctors and medical students from the University of Florida, where she teaches, and raised the money to hire a driver and a full-time nurse.

The “clinic on wheels” first made it out to the hotspot in 2010, parking right inside one apartment complex there. Patients could walk in without an appointment and get treatment free of charge, approximating the experience of a house call. Today, the mobile clinic gets an average of 5,000 visits from patients per year, in under-served areas all over Gainesville.

Physician assistants and undergraduate care coordinators treat patients in the mobile clinic parked at Majestic Oaks, a low-income apartment complex in Gainesville.

Physician assistants and undergraduate care coordinators treat patients in the mobile clinic parked at Majestic Oaks, a low-income apartment complex in Gainesville.

Bryan Thomas for NPR

But the clinic is really just one piece of the puzzle.

Because after the day that Hardt and the sheriff matched up their maps, they kept digging into the data. And, a few years later, Hardt made some new maps. They showed that the crime in the hotspot included the highest concentration of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect in Gainesville.

Childhood Trauma Maps

The reddish pink spots on these maps of the Gaineseville area, indicate an increased density of reports of child abuse and neglect (top map) and domestic violence (bottom). Deep blue indicates the highest concentration.

two maps of crime

That revelation brought Dr. Hardt back to her original mission — to head off bad health outcomes in the most vulnerable kids. So she teamed up with Sheriff Darnell and other local groups and grass-roots organizers from the neighborhood. They collaborated to create the SWAG (Southwest Advocacy Group) Family Resource Center, right in the Linton Oaks apartment complex.

The SWAG Center opened in 2012. Kids can come play all day long. There’s a food pantry, free meals, a computer room, AA meetings. A permanent health clinic is slated to open up across the street next week.

All the resources here are designed to decrease the likelihood of abuse and neglect by strengthening families.

“I think we knew it intuitively — that health issues are associated with crime, [and] crime is associated with health issues and poverty,” Darnell says. “But seeing that direct connection literally on a map … it helped to break down a lot of walls.”

Child abuse and domestic violence are still serious problems, but there has been a small drop in the numbers of such calls over the past few years, according to the data.

Hardt says that investing in families and health now can help kids grow up healthy — and save money in the future.

“Conservatives or liberals, everybody gets that,” she says. “That we have limited resources and we need to really spend them wisely. I think the maps — the hot spot maps — just tell us policywise, where we need to be going and what we need to be doing.”

Hardt’s next goal is to make more people aware of the links between health and early education. Last summer, the county got a new superintendent of schools. Hardt has been to visit him three times already — maps in hand.

This story is part of the NPR series, What Shapes Health? The series explores social and environmental factors that affect health throughout life. It is inspired, in part, by findings in a poll released this month by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The sound of ripping of clothes

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On the bus yesterday, I listened to an audiobook about a man I found very interesting. I would love to reproduce everything I heard, but this will be some facts that I found especially interesting

I had the nickname in grade school and high school, “Dictionary,” because I spent so much time reading the dictionary. One noon, just after the noon dismissal bell rang, I was in my usual chair reading the dictionary in the back of the room. Suddenly a blinding, dazzling flash of light occurred because I just learned how to use the dictionary. Up to that moment in looking up a word, I started at the first page and went through every column, page after page until I reached the word. In that blinding flash of light I realized that you use the alphabet as an ordered system for looking up a word…I don’t know why it took me so long. Did my unconscious purposely withhold that knowledge because of the immense amount of education I got from reading the dictionary?

Milton H. Erickson – Wikipedia 

His story is impressive, and even more so when one considers his background: He was color blind, deaf and dyslexic. He learned hypnosis, and worked as a psychiatrist first. He married, got 5 children with his wife (he had three from previous relationships). He founded the American Society of Hypnosis. He died in 1980, and his ashes were strewn over a mountain top that many of his clients reached. 

I had polio, and I was totally paralyzed, and the inflammation was so great that I had a sensory paralysis too. I could move my eyes and my hearing was undisturbed. I got very lonesome lying in bed, unable to move anything except my eyeballs. I was quarantined on the farm with seven sisters, one brother, two parents, and a practical nurse. And how could I entertain myself? I started watching people and my environment. I soon learned that my sisters could say “no” when they meant “yes.” And they could say “yes” and mean “no” at the same time. They could offer another sister an apple and hold it back. And I began studying nonverbal language and body language.
I had a baby sister who had begun to learn to creep. I would have to learn to stand up and walk. And you can imagine the intensity with which I watched as my baby sister grew from creeping to learning how to stand up.
– My Voice Will Go With You

He was recognized for his hypnotherapy, were he integrated his extensive knowledge collected from experience and intelligence. An example of his insights: “One day a horse wandered into his home place. He let the horse take him where he wanted, and he stopped where he came from. When the farmer asked how he knew where the horse came from, he said: I didn`t, the horse did”. By relying on the force of the unconscious, he could help both people and animals

Milton Erickson was an interesting therapist and scientist: With creativity he tailored therapy to each client so that it fitted perfectly. He was the perfect “mirror” for others, so much that he actually could “talk” exactly like the client in front of him. He strongly believed in the unconscious, and in letting people find their own insights. He could tell little anecdotes that were completely right for the client. An example was an alcoholic that lived in a family where everyone drank (even his own wife) and drunk for several years. He was considered a hopeless case. Milton gave him a task: He should go to a park and sit down to watch a cactus for several minutes. Erickson told him this cactus could live without water ericksonfor three years. 5 years later his sister called Erickson and told him both he and his wife had stopped drinking. He also used Reframing, mirroring and the paradox intervention. And example of the first, is when he sent a rootless client to Flagstaff so that she created new positive associated to a place that just seemed negative before. An example of the second is when he met a patient that tore things apart. She tore and threw everything she saw: Clothes, curtains, wallpaper. Generally, she was acting out. Erickson stood beside her and did the same thing, he tore up pieces of the wallpapers and threw things here and there. He exclaimed: “This was fun! Let`s go somewhere else and do more of it”. They came to a hospital, where he ripped the clothes off a nurse.

After this event, the girl became an angel, not knowing that the nurse in on the whole thing. An example of the paradox intervention was telling a woman who had severe problems with her weight. Erickson told her to try a new method where she first would gain a certain weight before she started with dieting. When she no longer had to restrain herself, she suddenly lost the weight she needed.

BUCHis theories have been developed further after he died, and one of the results is NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming ). I actually know very little about NLP, but I have thought several times that I`ll have to check into it, since I`m very interested in theories integrating what we know about our brain, with psychology. Maybe this means I should? 

  1.  Milton H. Erickson | History of Hypnosis

    Milton H. Erickson (1901-1980) graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1

    Milton Erickson, Founder of Conversational Hypnosis | Business NLP

  2. Ericksonian Hypnosis: Breaking Habits with Tasks — NLP 


The sound of waking up

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How her song “wide awake” relates to the background information

This world is full of people who dedicate their lives to relationships towards others. This is admirable, and even more so when we hear their personal stories about how they still made it though it all. We need the seeds of hope to grow, and inspirational posts like these is the water that make us stretch for the sun.

This post is about a woman who already has inspired many with her surprising comeback after many negative stories in news. She has really surprised me with some of her new songs and her complex (and probably intelligent) personality, but I still know little about her since I`ve didn`t have time to read about her. I would love to learn more if anyone has something to share on her background that are relevant to this post.

(Revelations and insight feel like this for me, if curious).

Thinking of You (Katy Perry song)
Thinking of You (Katy Perry song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following post will begin with some short background information, before I delve into some of her romantic relationships (which often are many and troubled for people who`s been vulnerable when they grew up. Either because of being sensitive or because of trauma or neglect). This does not mean that it always will be a pattern like that, or that every person with problems had the same past). 

After reading about her earlier relationships, you will read a well-written and interesting interpretation of her song “Wide awake” that I found on the internet. I will end the post with the music video that belongs to the song.

Short background about her childhood and career:

I didn’t have a childhood,” Perry told Vanity Fair in an interview for its June edition. “I come from a very non-accepting family, but I’m very accepting.” She was the child of evangelical minister parents, who allowed her to read only the Bible and even banned terms like “deviled eggs.”

Sometimes when children grow up, their parents grow up,” she said. “Mine grew up with me. We coexist. I don’t try to change them anymore, and I don’t think they try to change me. We agree to disagree. August 24 Her Dream Comes True. “They’re excited about my success” she says.

 NEW YORK (Reuters)

Lately, the singer tops the Billboard 200 albums chart that earns her four Grammy nominations, including the coveted album of the year award.

It did also earns a 2011 Grammy nomination for record of the year for her inspirational hit “Firework”.

Katy Perry

Her relationships: overview


Perry begins dating Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy. “She’s super hot,” he tells PEOPLE of falling for his Warped tourmate. After a year of dating and even exchanging promise rings, they call it quits. “It hurts right now,” Perry says during a concert after the split. “When you breakup with someone you move on. You don’t really want to move on…but you have to because they don’t give you any choice.”  After that she was is linked to musicians Benji Madden and Josh Groban. (September)

Katy & Russell

After joking about having a crush on her at the VMAs, British comedian

Not Like the Movies
Not Like the Movies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Russell Brand and Perry take their new romance public. Three months later, Brand orchestrates aspecial New Year surprise in India, where he asks Perry to marry him with a ring hidden in flowers.

Perry and Brand tied the knot in a “very private and spiritual ceremony” held at a resort in India, the newlyweds announce in a statement. “Love between two people is the most spectacular yet ordinary thing in the world,” the groom said in the days leading up to the nuptials. “We’ll get married in front of our friends and family, and keep it sort of normal.” The arrangement, that lasted several days, treated guests to safaris, song and dance numbers and several parties (2010)

Sadly 16 months after the marriage, they got divorced.

A New Romance

Perry gets the rumor mills buzzing when she’s photographed leaving L.A.’s Chateau Marmont with singer John Mayer. Though the pair’s romance seems to cool off shortly after, they reunite and later spend the holidays together. “They’ve spent a lot of time together and really enjoy each other’s company,” a source says. “John is entirely focused on Katy” (2013).

No More Mayer?

For the second time, Perry and Mayer split, only a month after the “Your Body Is a Wonderland” Crooner describes their relationship to CBS Sunday Morning as “something that’s very human.” But by July 4, the on-again, off-again pair appears to reconcile once more, with Perry sharing an affectionate photo of the two over Instagram.


More information about the artist:

Katy Perry

She grew up in a very christian family, and today she is “open for the possiblities” when it comes to religion. She reminds me of an “explorer” out of what I`ve read so far, and say that she always ask the question“Why”, thereby not taken any “facts” for granted. She would probably score high on the scale of “openness to experiences” on certain domains, but I feel there is also some underlying fright that stops her from risking too much, and for this reason sometimes give up before she get hurt herself? I read she doesn`t accept being treated bad, but at the same time she has been in many relationships and shows with her behavior that she use a lot of time on them.

Perry sais she wants to be a private person, and for example said she and Brand turned down millions of dollars for their wedding pictures because “we wanted the moment to ourselves.”She also hopes that her music remains the focus of fans, rather than her appearance or her personal life. 

The next part will focus on trying to figure out what the video and lyrics in the song “wide awake” means. I find it interesting that this post reminds me a lot about dissociation and how one should treat it (What are dissociative disorders?).

Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” 

As Katy enters the dark labyrinth, she is lured to a lusciously red strawberry amongst the grim atmosphere. The strawberry acting as a metaphor of her sweet fame, she is as I said,

lured between the walls that close in on her. As they close, Katy sings about her “falling from cloud nine” yet pushes the walls away with a powerful light. We watch as Katy proves to us that nothing keeps her down and cornered. Soon after escaping the closing walls, Katy releases a flare from her

breast, a symbolic beacon of “help” (Also reminiscent of the pyrotechnics used in Firework). She

is then met by a child who is an artistic portrayal of her own, younger innocence. (We see later that the little girl gets on a bike labeled “KATHERYN”) The light surrounding the child and the dust flowing up in comparison to the dark, downward-flowing dust around Katy shows us in how high of a regard she looks on her past. Katy and her younger self travel down a hallway, toward a mirror. In the mirror, Katy sees the paparazzi crowding and photographing her. The child-Katy whom she is holding hands with is not in the mirror, leaving Katy alone against the horde of media. As we catch a glimpse of the horrid faced media Katy struggles desperately to break through the mirror, leaving it in pieces.

Katy’s struggle leaves her impaired in a wheelchair, being pushed by child-Katy. Her difficulties in life obviously wore her down and left her feeling vulnerable. While trying to pass through a hospital-like passage, the two are blocked by hospital uniformed men. Child-Katy steps forward while our Katy is weak, casting the “evil” or “bad” men away. This is Katy breaking through her mentally hard times, holding onto her innocence and purity.

Katy PerryAfter taking Child-Katy’s hand once more, (literally holding on to herself and her innocence) they find themselves out of the labyrinth. The wander into a lush, green bushed area, lathered with flowers of all colors and a handsome young man on a white Unicorn. The man steps down and Katy looks ecstatic to see him until he crosses his fingers behind

his back. Katy then reacts by knocking him sideways with a beautiful punch to his cheek. We witnessed Katy’s refusal to let the men of her past, beautiful but cruel and double-crossing men, to bring her down.

The video itself takes place during the time of Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold” and “California Girls” release, depicting that Katy was having inner self and life problems even during her rapidly rising fame. After watching her child-self ride away, Katy knows

that while she may feel alone, she is strong and pure. She isn’t in her dreams or nightmares’ anymore… She said it herself; she is “Wide Awake”.

Katy Perry’s Latest Single Is Like Nothing She’s Done Before (

<:article id=post-4450 class=”post-4450 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-depression category-inspiration-2 category-me category-psychology category-today tag-hope tag-life tag-love tag-mental-health tag-music tag-relationships tag-therapy tag-winners clear”><:header class=entry-header>

Listen to Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ (

Bareilles: Happy with success after Perry chatter (

Katy Perry’s Latest Single Is Like Nothing She’s Done Before (

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