Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tolson 4 TEARS* Reviews "God, If You're Not Up There"

Darrell Hammond has offered our society a story about pop-culture by describing his work as a comedian. He has also generously shared that which we don’t see beneath the mask of entertainer: the depths to which child abuse destroys the psyche. A writer who can tell this story of trauma, its ramifications, and recovery is generous enough to let others know that they are not alone. It is significant to solving social problems when a celebrity reveals that all that glitters is not gold; breaking the silence of child abuse is a courageous step toward awareness of the need for prevention. Mr. Hammond describes the crisis ridden life he led, which he fed with alcohol, drugs, and a constant need for intervention.
The audience of Saturday Night Live may enjoy the behind-the-scenes activity of Hammond’s career on the show. However, audiences of his award-winning acting may not have known the origin of his genius. Apparently, his voice was not heard as a child, until he noticed that his mother would often stop abusing him when he mimicked others’ voices. He tells the readers how he developed this talent as a means of self-protection. Hammond writes poignantly about his father and their relationship, or lack thereof. Meanwhile, Hammond felt scared to death of the world at large. The fear shadowed him, and showered him with insecurities that led to multiple self-destructive behaviors. The pressurized public life as an entertainer and the intense private life as a trauma victim was his reality in paradox.
The writing style seems appropriate for the man and the material. There is no sensationalizing of the trauma he endured; he tells this story as it unfolds for him, in unbearable explosions of flashbacks and nightmares. Hammond is tortured, as was his cold father and cruel mother, but he does not torment the reader with unnecessary scenarios of abuse. He gives the reader enough details of the child abuse to understand his inner hell. After countless rehabs and psych wards, misdiagnosis and medications, he also gives the reader reason to hope for Hammond’s continuation in recovery and contentment in relationships.

Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story

*Tolson 4 TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide, so no shed tear is wasted

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tolson 4 TEARS* Cheers Poem on "Tears"

I titled my book Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story based on a phrase I wrote: "It saddens me beyond my tears that love is lost within the fears." But a phrase is not enough to express what tears mean. I am glad the following poem crossed my path because it also uses the word "fear" in connection with "tear", and the discomfort often associated with crying.

The dictionary defines the word "tear" as "a drop of the saline, watery fluid continually secreted by the lacrimal glands between the surface of the eye and the eyelid, serving to moisten and lubricate these parts and keep them clear of foreign particles. 

This fluid appearing in or flowing from the eye as the result of emotion, especially grief.

But the human condition is not easily defined by the dictionary. Often it takes the poet to describe what we experience in life. This poem interprets "tears" as a full expression of an emotional experience.

ART4Awareness by Michal Madison
When Tears Fall

by CM Cox
When tears fall in empathy,

one wonders what is wrong with that person.

When tears fall in sheer enjoyment,
one wonders why anyone would cry over happiness.

When tears fall in anger,
one wonders why anyone would do this.

When tears fail to fall,
fear wins, 
pain wins, 
our emotions lose,
our emotions lost.

When the tears of a child fall,
we leap to hold, 
we leap to wipe, 
we leap to mend, 
we leap to dry the reasons that make them cry.

When the tears of an adult fall,
we fail to hold,
we fail to wipe,
we fail to mend,
we fail to dry the reasons that makes another cry.

When the tears of an adult fall,
in happiness,
in sadness, 
in anger, 
in pain, 
in sympathy,
or in raw emotion---
we do not share this respected gift to one another,
because we fail to feel.

Tears fall because we feel, not because we don't.

*Tolson 4 TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide, so no shed tear is wasted

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tolson 4 TEARS* TV Interview 4 Awareness

In this interview, which aired in St. Joseph, MO, I (Lynn C. Tolson) was asked about the process of writing a personal memoir. I really wanted to talk about awareness of domestic violence and sexual abuse, but the host was eager to hear about the publishing process. The theme of the interview is similar to what I cover in the prologue to Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story.
***For nearly twenty years, I engaged in careers in retail, real estate and property management. Every working day left me feeling unfulfilled, as if I was living a false life. My real life began not by changing jobs, but by putting pen to paper in journal writing sessions. Themes emerged regarding the impact of my sexual abuse, drug addiction, and suicide attempts. By using the journal to write about the problems and solutions discussed in my counseling sessions, a story of transformation evolved. My desire to share a message of healing from trauma became too strong to ignore; the book became a mission. I left the corporate environment to write my story about personal yet universal emotional issues. Although journal writing was a cathartic experience, the book was written with the courage to face my fears, with compassion for myself and others, and a conviction to tell the truth.
By bringing my dark secrets to light, it is my hope that others who have had similar events will know that they are not alone. Readers may explore their own emotions to open lines of communication, eliminate shame, and experience healing. I also hope that my book promotes understanding of the issues that cause individual suffering and plague our society.***

Another question to ask is "Why read Beyond the Tears?" You'll find the answer by clicking here!


*TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide, so no shed tear is wasted

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tolson 4 TEARS Reviews "How I Stayed Alive When My Brain..."

On the jacket of the hardcover, Susan Rose Blauner @sblauner writes, “I searched for a book like this, but found none, so I wrote one.” The first edition was printed in 2002, when there were few books about suicide. What was available lacked a story of recovery, and Ms. Blauner filled that void. Making oneself vulnerable by writing about one’s own suicidal thinking takes courage.
It’s brave for an author to state that she has borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and major depression. It’s difficult to continue the cycle of life under these conditions. Blauner says that she was a victim of sexual abuse. (Rape victims are 13 times more likely to have attempted suicide than their non-assaulted counterparts.) Blauner shares her personal journey from suicidal thinking to hope and healing.
The premise of the book is that most people who think about suicide don’t want to die; they want relief from emotional pain. Blauner was responsible to the readers by doing her homework. Included in her book are notations from specialists who study suicide, thereby offering research as a foundation for her statements. (Those who experience the suicidal thoughts are also experts on the topic.)
In the “Tricks of the Trade” section, Susan shares sources of help, as well as skills developed in therapy. Blauner explains the difference between statements such as “I am depressed” versus “I feel depressed.” She uses analogies to illustrate the “Neuron Superhighway,” simplifying a complex neurological pattern. She offers numerous suggestions for the reader to explore. Sometimes, when one is suicidal, there are no other options. She encourages the reader to explore an activity, such as journal writing. It’s not the answer, but each bit of information is a step toward life.
If you are looking for a book that will help you help someone with suicidal thoughts, How I Stayed Alive has specific instructions, including how to listen well and respond appropriately.
Blauner put an enormous amount of work into this book. Part Seven includes hotlines, websites, and resources. There is a sectioned bibliography, references to citations, permissions, and an index. It takes effort to convey this helpful information to readers.
Susan Blauner structured her intangible journey into a book that has substance for therapists, suicidal thinkers, and those around them. A portion of the proceeds of the book go to the National Hopeline Network 1-800-SUICIDE. If you are in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor Story

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Beyond the Tears Receives 5 Star Review

Positive Outcome!

This is a definite must read book, [Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story] the author keeps your attention throughout and you don't want to put it down. She opens up her heart and soul as she writes, her courage and strength to change her life around and become positive in a very negative environment growing up is admirable to say the least. She shares things about her life and the people in it that lets you experience the tragedy of a dysfunctional family environment, the abuse of drugs, horrors of being molested and being raped. When most people would never be able to turn their life around she has, it's a big difference in finding the right therapist and creating a more positive environment around you.

I can't say enough about this book or the author, you have to read it and I know you'll come away a better person for it. I know it would be very beneficial for psychology majors and counselors to read and learn about a persons life that would benefit them in their profession.

To give this five stars is my only regret wish I could give it a lot more and then some. I not only purchased the e-book version but also the printed version and have already recommended it to several friends across the country. I probably will be purchasing at least four more copies to give as gifts to friends I know that would enjoy the positive outcome and help them in their own lives as well. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Beyond the Tears Receives 5 Star Review

Insights and Reflections

My first encounter with Lynn C Tolson was actually on Facebook. As I became involved in groups and pages about childhood sexual abuse, Lynn's name kept popping up everywhere. Who was this woman? My research revealed she was an author, herself once a victim of sexual abuse, and currently a social worker and speaker who gives a great deal of her time and self to helping other victims, both on and offline. I got the impression she was well-known and I felt dwarfed by her achievements. But at that point, she was still just a name with a nice Facebook photo. 

Now, having read Lynn's book, if it were possible, the one thing I'd love to do is meet her in person. I want to meet this woman who at the opening of her book was on her way to commit suicide. She'd had it! She couldn't take any more. She hauled into a motel, swallowed all the pills she could find and waited for death to come. But life wasn't done with her yet because she had a mission to fulfill: to heal from her own devastating and lonely past; to conquer her drug-addicted lifestyle; to rid herself of an older husband who was using her low self-esteem to victimize her further, and ultimately to share her path to recovery with the thousands of other victims out there who might also think that taking their own lives is the only solution. Thank heaven Lynn's attempt to end it all failed or Beyond the Tears wouldn't have been written. 

The one thing that stood out for me as I got further and further into Lynn's story of sexual abuse by both her schizophrenic biological father, and later, by her older brother, was her extreme isolation, even as a young child, in a family of several members. Like all victims of sexual abuse, she couldn't bring herself to tell her own mother of the abuse. Why? Because her mother was too delicate, too fragile. So to save her mother from heartache, she let her own heart ache with her ugly secret. Intimidated by her step-father, confused by her own father, ignored by her mother and scorned and berated by her abusive brother, Lynn wandered through her teens dulling her pain on street drugs. She watched a soul-mate die from an overdose and still couldn't help herself. After compounding the mess of her life by marrying a mentally and verbally abusive husband, suicide seemed the only out till fate stepped in. Lynn met Karen and with love, caring and wise counsel, Karen got Lynn to open up and tell all.

As all abuse victims come to realiize sooner or later, healing begins in finally telling someone, but it is journalling, writing, that ultimately closes the wounds. Karen encouraged Lynn to do that. Lynn took another 20 years before putting pen to paper and further heal, but it is her readers, especially those who are victims of childhood sexual abuse who benefit from her writing. Lynn not only shares her life with us in an easy to read, semi-fictional style, but she peppers her story with insights and reflections on the personalities of her family and how they contributed to her isolation, an isolation I sense she still feels today but is able to live with. Every so often, she throws in some touching poetry that is short and poignant. And by sharing Karen's words of counsel and wisdom with us, Lynn offers the reader concepts that truly help one heal. 

If there's one thing I love about the internet and social networking sites like Facebook, it's that it clarifies perceptions we form of people when we only meet them in print, as in their blogs, poems or books. Read their words and you form a picture of them. Look at their photos and we see what the words don't show. Listen to their voices, as I did recently in a blog talk show with Lynn and the image sharpens. Watch a video (Lynn has one on her own blog site at, and you suddenly know a lot more about this person who till now was just a name on a book.

Getting to know Lynn C Tolson begins with reading Beyond the Tears, but don't stop there! Visit her blog, read her posts, check out her other reviews and videos at Goodreads, and come to know this strong woman who was once a victim of child sexual abuse but is today a survivor and thriver. As Karen told her: "When you lose your identity as a victim, you gain an identity as a survivor". Beyond the Tears is a guide to doing just that.

Review completed by Viga Boland, author of No Tears for my Father: A True Story of Incest