“Everyone Has A Hard Life So Get Over It”
You have to heard this your whole life. “Everyone has a hard life. Everyone goes through hard times. No one has it harder than anybody else.”
I’ve not only heard it throughout American culture, I’ve seen it on Medium.
It is also complete garbage. Only a small portion of our population actually experiences four or more adverse childhood experiences. Specifically, that number is 12%. Of course, not all ACES are captured by the research. For example, I have added neighborhood violence and genocide based on my experiences working with refugees and my own experience trying to walk home from school. But usually, when you add ACES, it only adds to the total of people who already have several.
These experiences lead to complex post traumatic stress disorder. C-PTSD affects the portion of our population who have been subjected to repeated, long-term abuse or neglect. Foster children have twice the rate of PTSD as soldiers. Although they have changed the name of PTSD to protect the stigma of soldiers to post traumatic stress.
One Medium article wrote, “ You had a hard life, you had some pain — okay cool, everyone does. Shake that shit off and get on with the fucking show.” That is patently false. Everyone does not have a hard life. In fact, the calculations done by researchers show that while only 12% of Americans experience 4 or more of the Adverse Childhood Experiences, while a full 36% of Americans never experience any. That means 1 in 3 Americans are walking around having never gone through any of the major adverse childhood events. Another 30% have only had one adverse childhood experience.
Now, therapeutically, what do we know about people with C-PTSD. They are walking wounds. Yes. Most importantly, they need to talk about what happened to them. Over and over. It counteracts the years of shame, silence, and self-blame that surrounds being one of those subjected to these experiences. NO, they are not like everyone else. They haven’t had some pain. They have pain so significant, researchers have found scores of neuro-endocrinological indicators in these people signaling their childhood pain. For example, inflammatory agents are increased in adults with these backgrounds. For more information on this, please see Gabor Mate, but there are others.
People in pain have been hearing the same thing their whole lives. Don’t talk about it, because people don’t tolerate listening to each other’s pain very well. Damaged people have typically never been given space to emotionally react to what has happened to them or receive support from a community for it. In books like, “The Body Keeps the Score,” you find that bottling up these emotions leads to disease.
Please don’t add to the stigma of recovery from numerous conditions that comes from writing it out. It shouldn’t be judged through a culture of don’t talk about it. Keep that stuff hidden. It shouldn’t be mistaken for cognitive failure. It should be seen as emotional release for people who have endured far *more* than other Americans have.