Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs)

The topic of Adverse Childhood Events is extremely important and relevant in our community.

Dr. Burke Harris says very simply: when you, as a child, are exposed continually to traumatic events the hormones always in play can physically alter your growth.

If you have one ACE, you’re more likely to develop illness as an adult. If you have 4, those odds shoot up.

Some ACEs are:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect (physical, emotional)
  • Seeing a family member get abused
  • A family member in jail
  • Divorce
  • A family member struggling with substance abuse

My score is 3. I wonder how my childhood paved the way for my immune system to not handle disease well when I was bitten by ticks.

I was watching this YouTube:

It grabs my attention because Dr. Burke talked about how Lyme disease intrigued her.

*sits up straight*

Did I just hear that right?

The CG had the same look, so yep, I heard that right! She said Lyme disease. She even named the causative bacterium correctly!

I had to put up a comment. I even forgot to change from my old gmail to BorreliaEtc. But this got me thinking and I tend to forget “little” things like that.


I was intrigued when Dr. Burke started talking about Lyme disease being a topic of interest to her (given that a cluster of kids with RA in the same area of Connecticut were found to have the same exposure to disease-carrying ticks). But just like there isn’t just one adverse childhood event on the list, ticks don’t carry only one bacterium. They carry far more than the one bacterium Dr Burke Harris mentioned. Not only are there other types of Borrelia than B burgdorferi – there’s Ehrlichia, Babesia, Rickettsia, Bartonella and more.

So bringing this conversation back to ACEs – before I was 18 I was traveling, and while camping I was bitten by two ticks. I got sick in a matter of days, very sick. I went to my doctor upon getting home. I was so nauseated that I couldn’t keep water down; I threw up every day for 6 months straight. My doctor diagnosed me with heartburn and later I found out he mentioned bulimia in his records. Those appointments were hard on me and I often left in tears.

I had a very real, PHYSICAL problem and was ridiculed by my doctor as an attention-seeking problem girl.

I already had an alcoholic parent, divorce, and emotional neglect on my ACEs score (3). But I’m curious if the doctor’s abuse would be another point?

This topic has brought a whole new level of awareness to my family (my mother and her siblings have 7-9 ACEs scores) and we have Dr Burke’s book. But we do wonder if there is something that might be done for adults that have experienced this, like myself. (I turn 39 in December.) I love the work being done on kids and do hope to see meditation being taught/practised in schools once day just like the epilogue in her book says. But what do we do about the here and now? I and my family have a number of health problems.


Doubt if it’ll get a response, but I’ll never know if I don’t try. Oh, and sorry for the repeats here.

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