Brother Be Well Wellness for Boys and Men of Color

Part II:  How Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Manifests Itself in Me

People who identify with four or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are predicted to have more health problems as adults—I identify with seven. Adults like us are more likely to experience a variety of health concerns such as heart disease, shorter life expectancy, and other physical health problems.

In my personal ACEs, I witnessed domestic violence in my household. As an adult, I developed an inflammatory disease called rheumatoid arthritis. I believe my body’s inflammation is a biological response to the toxic stress experienced throughout my upbringing. For example, I recall my father coming home late one night. He quickly became upset with my mother when she asked where he had been. My father picked up a wooden bar stool, then ran toward my mother and smashed it across her chest.

Witnessing frequent physical abuse performed on my mother was traumatic. This exposure overactivated my stress response systems. Although ACEs are prevalent in our society today, we can still discover healthy ways to cope and achieve against adversity. 

Justin Martinez, BBW Host/ Content Contributor

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