NOTE: The name of the victim in this account has been changed to protect her identity.
Lori, a 45-year-old Top of Utah woman, knew her life wasn't perfect, but she felt relatively happy in her marriage of more than 20 years.
One day, though, an old friend asked her why she had been so distant in the third grade. Wanting to give an honest answer, she thought about her life back then.
Soon, Lori was thinking about sexual and physical abuse she suffered in her youth.
She found herself in the throes of depression and experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that kept her from effectively doing her job and from enjoying her hobbies and her children.
Lori agonized over how and why this could happen to her.
What Lori experienced is common among those who suffered childhood trauma, experts say.
"No one escapes childhood abuse unharmed," states an introductory paragraph on the website findcounseling.com.
Dennis Ahern, a psychologist with McKay-Dee Institute for Behavioral Health, said adverse experiences in childhood make lasting changes in a person's brain that affect the way they think, feel and respond.
"Some may show no obvious problem at all until they are confronted with some situation that activates the old connections," he said.
Depending on the severity, Ahern said, childhood abuse can make long-term changes in the chemical reactivity of brain functions.
"Once a connection between life events and our responses is formed, it will always be there. It may become inactive, or we can find better ways of dealing with situations, but the connection is always available to be activated."
Ron Thornburg, director of the Family Counseling Center in Ogden, said 70 percent of the adult clients there go to address childhood abuse.
Nancy Dahl, a therapist with Family Connection Center in Clearfield, said she believes about 50 percent of the clients she sees are dealing with issues from their childhoods.
And the symptoms can be debilitating.
"Some of the major challenges faced by adults having suffered trauma in childhood include: safety and trust issues, issues of intimacy, self-esteem issues and issues of power and control (or feeling a lack of)," Joseph Lancia, a clinical associate professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a distinguished fellow in the American Psychiatric Association, said in an email interview with the Standard-Examiner.
But there is hope for those who want to change their circumstance.
Treatments are as varied as the individuals who want to address their issues.
The important thing, say the professionals, is that a person seeks help.
Insurance companies now recognize the benefits of mental health services and offer coverage of a variety of services, including psychotherapy and counseling.
Insurance companies also often cover antipsychotic and antidepressant medications.
Salt Lake Behavioral Health opened in October. The program is offering free evaluations to those who call 801-264-6000 and ask for the service.
Family Support Center in Ogden offers services on a sliding-scale fee structure and has a policy of getting people experiencing a crisis to a professional within three days.
And there are a host of other resources, from churches to support groups to counselors in a variety of settings, said officials from various agencies.
If one program or professional isn't helping, shop around.
Ahern said not all programs or professionals work for every person.
"Treatment isn't always pleasant, but if you don't believe that you are making progress, it may be that you should seek a different provider or program," he said.
Officials at Salt Lake Behavioral Health suggest a wide array of possibilities for treatment, depending on an individual's need, from group sessions to individual counseling.
They also suggest self-help books, as many are available in bookstores.
"The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse," by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis (HarperCollins, $22.99), is a national best seller that now has a 20th anniversary edition.
Sloane Rampton, a therapist with Salt Lake Behavioral Health, said workbooks are great tools. She said bookstores carry workbooks that address specific childhood or adult issues that people face.
But staying in good physical shape is key, said Sig Evans, program director at the Salt Lake Behavioral Health Hospital.
"I always get on my soap box for good, consistent exercise and diet," she said.
"That's usually the first thing that goes because (the stress) takes over their physical and emotional part," Evans said. "They ignore their physical part, and that compounds that stress."
Evans said she always encourages people to stay the course for their physical health.
"We see a lot of our patients, (who) are not healthy," Evans said. "It goes along with their post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Exercise is a natural serotonin uplifter, which is what a lot of our prescription drugs do. They need to be physically active."
Ahern said friendship also is important.
"Positive connections with people and meaningful activities in your real world are very important in helping you out of the past to live well in the present," he said.
Lori said talking to friends often became an important part of her effort to sort out overwhelming feelings she had packed away so many years earlier.
Her friends helped her to understand herself and to feel validated as she unloaded.
But she said professional counseling was key to her putting together the pieces of the emotions she discovered through the experience of rediscovering her childhood.
While she admits the several-month-long exercise was a painful journey, Lori said the rewards were well worth the effort.
Lori said eventually, she felt the weight of many heavy issues leave her, even though she hadn't ever realized how she had carried them with her for so many years.