When I took the test, my Holmes and Rahe stress score was about 300 (pretty high). I didn’t take the student version because I didn’t identify with most of their questions about typical student life, because I don’t live a typical student life of an on-campus dorm kid.
What stood out to me about these tests was how frustratingly limited, how dully mainstream and worker-bee predictable the questions offered were about. They assumed a standard of normalcy that is only real for a certain percent of the population. I’m sure a lot of the situations offered to be officially recognized as stressful certainly do cause a lot of stress in real lives (loss of job, divorce, etc). Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder, with some anger, why the following type of questions were missing:
“Have you suffered the loss of a beloved animal lately (check: on-par with losing a human family member)?”
“We recognize that there are a lot of intimate relationships beside the strictly legally married ones: have you lost a beloved mate? This includes, but is not limited to, formal legal divorce.”
“Is one or both of your parents still living but are basically deteriorated into a state of violent, zombified walking dead strangers thanks to mental illness and poverty and now you’re an orphan?”
“Have you experienced a loss of a beloved community, a severing of ties with a cherished identity/tribe/lifestyle which was a foundational support to your wellbeing?” Why, yes, community actually matters as much if not more than biological family even though Americans are the only people in the world too fucking arrogant and solipsistic to even acknowledge that in their formal psychology.
“Have you been deprived of an important right of passage, the rejection from participation in ancient human life events? Are you suffering an inexplicable feeling of a lack of purpose and recognition of what matters in the world around you? In fact, is your whole society falling a part?”
“Are you suffering flashbacks of abuse and neglect?”
“Are you coping with the impending death of a family member, maybe the only one with whom you have a parental bond?” Grieving ahead of time is natural and a healthy way to cope with loss.
“Have your homeland and native ecology been devastated?”
“Have you experienced a decreased amount of time spent exercising or being in contact with nature or your understanding of the Divine? If so, this might kick your ass.”
Yeah, Christmas was a thing to be stressed about, but not separation from non-nuclear family. I’m not persuaded by much of standard psychology.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash