I updated “Design is Tested at the Edges: Intersectionality, The Social Model of Disability, and Design for Real Life” and “Compassion is not coddling. Design for real life.” with a selection on stress and trauma from “Psychiatric Retraumatization: A Conversation About Trauma and Madness in Mental Health Services – Mad In America”.
People who enter services are frequently society’s most vulnerable-people who have experienced extensive trauma, adversity, abuse, and oppression throughout their lives. At the same time, I struggle with the word “trauma” because it signifies some huge, overt event that needs to pass some arbitrary line of “bad enough” to count. I prefer the terms “stress” and “adversity.” In the book, I speak to the problem of language and how this insinuates differences that are not there, judgments, and assumptions that are untrue. Our brains and bodies don’t know the difference between “trauma” and “adversity”-a stressed fight/flight state is the same regardless of what words you use to describe the external environment. I’m tired of people saying “nothing bad ever happened to me” because they did not experience “trauma.” People suffer, and when they do, it’s for a reason.