Miri is angry. She’s right to be angry. What’s she angry about? People who don’t know jack shit about psychology making pronouncements about psychology, especially aggressive personal “you don’t have that you liar!!” type pronouncements.
Apparently a bunch of Skeptics™ don’t know what posttraumatic stress disorder is, but insist on lecturing those diagnosed with it (or those who have studied it) without ever bothering to educate themselves about the disorder, its symptoms, and its etiology. Because nothing says skepticism quite like blathering on about what you have no evidence for!
Well they probably saw an episode of a tv show that mentioned it once. I saw this one episode of The West Wing this one time, when Josh had PTSD and Adam Arkin came down from New York to fix him. Josh was all defensive and angry because he thought it was going to be talking about fee-fees and he didn’t want to, but Adam Arkin said oh hell no, I’d rather be set on fire than talk about your fee-fees. So that makes me an expert on PTSD, surely.
So, onto our Skeptics who think themselves qualified to determine who has PTSD and who doesn’t based on their own random little criteria. First of all, if someone has the symptoms of PTSD, then they have the symptoms of PTSD. You can’t Logic! and Reason! your way out of this.
But second, to anyone who claims that only things like combat, assault, or natural disasters can cause PTSD, maybe you should see what actual researchers in psychology have to say about that. Namely:
- Sexual harassment can cause trauma and lead to PTSD.
- 44% of a sample of people who experienced bullying in their workplaces had “high levels of PTSD symptoms.”
- Another study linking workplace bullying to PTSD symptoms.
- Bullying during adolescence can cause trauma.
- Being the victim of stalking can cause PTSD symptoms.
- More about how being the victim of stalking can cause PTSD symptoms.
Research on online bullying and harassment is, unfortunately, still sparse. But given the dismaying way in which interactions online can incite the same strong emotions that interactions in person can, I fully expect this area of research to fill up quickly. We’ve already seen in several high-profile cases that technology-based bullying and harassment can provoke someone all the way to suicide. That they might also experience PTSD is not a huge logical leap at all.
No but you see people who let online bullying and harassment provoke them to suicide are making a mistake, a factual mistake, like taking an umbrella with you because you think it’s raining when it really isn’t. It’s the same with PTSD. So if enough people harass people with PTSD hard enough for long enough, the people with PTSD will admit they don’t have it and then the harassers will have made the world a better place.
Notably, the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, which is the diagnostic manual used by the World Health Organization, does not attempt to stipulate which types of trauma cause PTSD. It just states that the first criterion is “exposure to a stressful event or situation (either short or long lasting) of exceptionally threatening or catastrophic nature, which is likely to cause pervasive distress in almost anyone.”
I can easily see bullying and harassment falling under that category, as the only people I have ever seen claim that bullying and harassment are not traumatic are people who have not personally experienced it.
Maybe it’s all a big science experiment that we don’t know about. Maybe all these people are doing all this bullying and harassment as research. Maybe we’re all living in a great big giant motherfucking Milgram experiment.
Or else there are just a lot of shitty shitty shitty people out there.