Sunday, January 11, 2009

Variations in Response to Stress-- from the NYTimes.


In "Down and Out-- or Up" New York Times write Benedict Carey (he likes to write about psych stuff) discusses suicide, psychological distress, and resilience in the face of the crashing economy. Carey writes:
----- Just as loss itself comes in different flavors, from the bittersweetness of divorce to the acid tang of public condemnation, so too do people’s responses to loss differ, sometimes wildly. There are people who fall hard and do not find their feet for a long time, if ever — a condition some psychiatrists call complicated grief. And the depth of this economic collapse has unceremoniously stripped thousands of far more than money: reputations have reversed; friendships have turned sour; families have fractured.
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I agree-- some people grieve and move on quickly, others never go back to who they once were (even with therapy and anti-depressants). I wouldn't have put it, though, that they do not find their feet, I would have said they find different feet. They become a little of someone else, often someone who isn't quite so motivated to work or travel or run in the rat race as the person they were before, but someone who might eventually find a new and quieter life. It is as if their values and goals change. Sometimes, it seems, that's just the way it is.

Carey goes on to write:

--- In any group of people, moreover, there will be a handful who are exceptional, who find some release or hidden opportunity in a seemingly devastating loss — a kind of Zorba response. In one study in England, psychologists found a bricklayer who, after being paralyzed, became an academic and now says the injury was the best thing that ever happened to him. Other research has recorded significant improvements in the lives of some people after they lose a loved one.
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I'll end with that. Oh, but in case you missed it, the Ravens won.