An article written by Sue Vorenburg appeared in my local paper this morning.  See Article.  It chronicled Sue’s struggle with severe childhood bullying and the resultant PTSDbadwiring disorder that she has dealt with.

The result of the terrorizing I experienced is what I like to call bad wiring. My brain was forming at that age, making connections. The connections it made, however, have little to do with adult reality.

The bullying happened long ago, and while I feel strongly about addressing issues with it in schools, I try not to dwell on the things that happened.

But the bad wiring remains. I didn’t understand that until I was in my mid-30s, when I finally sought help.

Before that, I had symptoms. Things about me that I knew were off, or odd, that made me feel out of place.

Sometimes, I’d get extremely sensitive about people touching me. Sometimes, I’d feel so frightened of everything turning against me that I’d spend a lot of time trying to stop myself from hiding in my closet. Sometimes, I’d end up furious for no real reason.

At night, it would feel like my head was spinning in circles, the same thoughts running through over and over. It was like I was waiting for the whole world to cave in.

Many of us arrive at adulthood unprepared.  Our bad wiring fails us.  Said another way, our emotional skills do not match the level of our adult responsibilities, we feel “off, or odd, … or out of place.”  We struggle.  Sometimes we find comfort in dysfunctional ways that lead to addiction.

There are many roads to lead to this place, not just bullying, but more importantly, there are solutions.  Our bad wiring and the symptoms they present, need not define us or our lives.

One example of learning to live with our bad wiring was presented in the movie, It’s a beautiful mind. The true story of a schizophrenic, his life contained imaginary people that he believed were real.  Near the end of the movie he is talking with a known associate and a stranger.  He turns to the known associate and asks pointing to the stranger, “Is this person real?” When he is assured that the stranger is real, he continues his dialogue.  That is an example of living around bad wiring.

Part of our responsibility is figuring out how it works in us and finding “ways around it.”  Emotional skill building also is essential.  Learning to quiet ourselves, by practicing meditation, acceptance, and living in the moment are very real, helpful solutions.  In addiction there are a host of techniques and skills that will allow us to thrive in spite of the developmental shortfall.

You don’t need to let the bad wiring dictate your life.