This is not good news for the mental health advocates who want us to believe that things “happen for a reason”, and that we grow from our pain. It’s really just not true.
“In 2003, before the natural disasters, none of the studied Chileans displayed any signs of PTSD or depression. But, by 2011, 9.1% had been diagnosed with PTSD and 14.4% reported dealing with major depressive disorder.
It was also noted that Chileans who had experienced stressors, setbacks, or tragedies before the earthquake or tsunami were at a higher risk of developing PTSD or depression after those events. Reported pre-disaster stressors by these participants included the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, divorce, serious personal injury or illness, legal troubles, and the loss of a valued possession.
Regarding PTSD specifically, the study’s authors calculated that individuals who had dealt with at least four pre-disaster stressors were at an increased risk of developing the condition. For depression, just one pre-disaster stressor was all it took to increase one’s risk, and for each additional stressor that risk increased.”
I argued earlier this week that abuse, and other acts of violence, trauma, etc. are not a part of our growth. I do believe this study is more realistic than what we often hear in the mental health community, and it is beyond time we stop giving people in real pain, from real traumatic events, warm, fuzzy platitudes, instead of real support. We also need to realize that what we are going through now, with a pandemic, and racial trauma, is not going to be growth and a lesson in resiliency for most people, but yet one more trauma piled on top of all of the trauma we’ve already experienced. Telling people that this is all happening for a reason is not helpful.