I am becoming quite uneasy with the way the word “trauma” is bandied about in the context of schizophrenia. Trauma is often likened to something immediate, like child sexual abuse or having a parent who beats you daily in an alcoholic rage. I fear that what I see as a growing insistence to link child abuse with schizophrenia is turning into a witch hunt. We are all traumatized in some way by our upbringing, even by “good” parents. Most of us don’t go on to develp schizophrenia.
Trauma in schizophrenia is usually much more subtle than that. It depends on the individual and the personal family history. That’s why one person’s schizophrenia is never identical to someone else’s. It is context specific. It can’t be replicated in others because everybody’s environment is different.
Think of dropping a stone into a pool of water. The pool is the pool of you, your children and your ancestors. The stone is a triggering event. It could be an untimely death, a grand deception, a stay in prison, an illigimate child. The ripples radiate out in concentric circles. Each generation is a circle. There is displacement. Most of us are not that sensitive to the ripples. But some of us are. Some of us sense that something has happened without knowing anything about its origins. That can be schizophrenia, or depression, or it could be a childhood cancer. There are all kinds of conditions that we take on in response to pain.
Let’s understand that “trauma” can mean deeply held “feelings” that even the suffer is unaware as to the origin. The sufferer passes these feelings on
Trauma is human suffering not made conscious.