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美国25万人因新冠丧生,但创伤远不止于此

美国25万人因新冠丧生,但创伤远不止于此

Sy Mukherjee 2020年11月20日
与疫情相关的悲痛,其独特之处在于:它具有非常个人化和社会化的消耗性。

走过充满不幸消息的几个月,11月18日,又一分水岭到来:新冠疫情已经造成美国25万人死亡。

也就是说,有25万朋友、家人、邻居死于过去几周死灰复燃、愈演愈烈的疫情之中。公众的情绪像坐过山车一般跌宕起伏:刚从辉瑞和Moderna这些公司听到关于疫苗研究前景的好消息,紧接着又被医院人满为患的现实轰炸,看到新冠肺炎死亡人数激增、封城的新闻,心情又跌落谷底。

我们不会被过去一年席卷的种种混乱蒙受损失?当然不可能。但是,为什么对悲剧作出的不同种悲痛,会以不同的方式打击到我们呢?持续的不安和恐惧感(例如当新病毒造成严重破坏时)与大规模枪击或恐怖袭击等恶性事件相比,又有何不同呢?

其实,悲痛的种类繁多,但它们往往同根同源——难过、震惊、愤怒、焦虑、不安。

早在6月那些个“天真”的日子里,哥伦比亚大学复杂悲伤中心(Columbia University’s Center for Complicated Grief)的创始主任凯瑟琳·希尔博士在接受威斯康星公共电台(Wisconsin Public Radio)的采访时就直言不讳地说:“悲痛不会以任何可预测的方式发生。”

突然爆发的悲痛冲击可能引起无法预测的反应,具体响应因人而异:可能是愤怒,可能是临床抑郁症,甚至可能出现躁狂发作。这就是我们情感生物学的本质。

“对于你遭受的损失来说,悲痛相当强大。”希尔说,“复苏的步骤并不有序。”

但与疫情相关的悲痛,其独特之处在于:它具有非常个人化和社会化的消耗性。美国人被禁止探访年老和生病的亲戚,葬礼被迫缩减时间或取消,看起来很健康的年轻人在与新冠病毒搏斗的过程中不得不开窗通风几周。

随之而来的是关于新冠病毒对我们的生活产生的连锁反应的不断讨论,从中我们也清醒地认识到:我们只是不知道疫情什么时候会结束。

一旦失去亲人,死亡的阴影会一直徘徊。但它也会消散。希尔在电台采访中说:“允许‘缺席’存在——这就是人死后,身边其他人的生活方式。”

在接受《财富》杂志采访时,她详细阐述了这一特殊时刻如此怪异的原因。

她说:“这和9·11事件非常不同。死亡25万人的这一事实,一直在你的脑海中挥之不去。”

不确定性才是真正加剧不安的“情感杀手”。“我们都将继续面临死亡和失去的风险,这是我们最害怕的两件事情。”希尔说,“9·11事件是创伤性的,一段时间后就结束了。而疫情还在继续,彻底改变着我们的生活。”

这就涉及到希尔正在研究的课题:一种名为“长期悲伤紊乱症”的疾病。

这一课题正在受到评估,或将正式公布。简单概括就是:悲伤会使人在长时间内变得衰弱。希尔预计的情况要来得更糟糕。她预计,随着疫情的持续,与新冠病毒作斗争人数的比例将从10%翻一番至20%——不仅是因为个人得失或负罪感的问题,更因为在高度政治化的氛围中,人们的愤怒正在积聚。

希尔说:“持续的、无处不在的失望和渴望,绵延无期的怀疑感,大多数时候当我们衍生出这类情感,都会快速纠正、拨乱反正,比如9·11事件发生之后。你可能会纠结:‘为什么我未能劝说我的兄弟姐妹不要去上班?’但你不会仅仅抓着这个想法不放,因为你知道它没有意义。但是,要想摆脱没有戴口罩造成感染、未能被他人安慰带来的愧疚感,要难得多。”(财富中文网)

编译:杨二一

走过充满不幸消息的几个月,11月18日,又一分水岭到来:新冠疫情已经造成美国25万人死亡。

也就是说,有25万朋友、家人、邻居死于过去几周死灰复燃、愈演愈烈的疫情之中。公众的情绪像坐过山车一般跌宕起伏:刚从辉瑞和Moderna这些公司听到关于疫苗研究前景的好消息,紧接着又被医院人满为患的现实轰炸,看到新冠肺炎死亡人数激增、封城的新闻,心情又跌落谷底。

我们不会被过去一年席卷的种种混乱蒙受损失?当然不可能。但是,为什么对悲剧作出的不同种悲痛,会以不同的方式打击到我们呢?持续的不安和恐惧感(例如当新病毒造成严重破坏时)与大规模枪击或恐怖袭击等恶性事件相比,又有何不同呢?

其实,悲痛的种类繁多,但它们往往同根同源——难过、震惊、愤怒、焦虑、不安。

早在6月那些个“天真”的日子里,哥伦比亚大学复杂悲伤中心(Columbia University’s Center for Complicated Grief)的创始主任凯瑟琳·希尔博士在接受威斯康星公共电台(Wisconsin Public Radio)的采访时就直言不讳地说:“悲痛不会以任何可预测的方式发生。”

突然爆发的悲痛冲击可能引起无法预测的反应,具体响应因人而异:可能是愤怒,可能是临床抑郁症,甚至可能出现躁狂发作。这就是我们情感生物学的本质。

“对于你遭受的损失来说,悲痛相当强大。”希尔说,“复苏的步骤并不有序。”

但与疫情相关的悲痛,其独特之处在于:它具有非常个人化和社会化的消耗性。美国人被禁止探访年老和生病的亲戚,葬礼被迫缩减时间或取消,看起来很健康的年轻人在与新冠病毒搏斗的过程中不得不开窗通风几周。

随之而来的是关于新冠病毒对我们的生活产生的连锁反应的不断讨论,从中我们也清醒地认识到:我们只是不知道疫情什么时候会结束。

一旦失去亲人,死亡的阴影会一直徘徊。但它也会消散。希尔在电台采访中说:“允许‘缺席’存在——这就是人死后,身边其他人的生活方式。”

在接受《财富》杂志采访时,她详细阐述了这一特殊时刻如此怪异的原因。

她说:“这和9·11事件非常不同。死亡25万人的这一事实,一直在你的脑海中挥之不去。”

不确定性才是真正加剧不安的“情感杀手”。“我们都将继续面临死亡和失去的风险,这是我们最害怕的两件事情。”希尔说,“9·11事件是创伤性的,一段时间后就结束了。而疫情还在继续,彻底改变着我们的生活。”

这就涉及到希尔正在研究的课题:一种名为“长期悲伤紊乱症”的疾病。

这一课题正在受到评估,或将正式公布。简单概括就是:悲伤会使人在长时间内变得衰弱。希尔预计的情况要来得更糟糕。她预计,随着疫情的持续,与新冠病毒作斗争人数的比例将从10%翻一番至20%——不仅是因为个人得失或负罪感的问题,更因为在高度政治化的氛围中,人们的愤怒正在积聚。

希尔说:“持续的、无处不在的失望和渴望,绵延无期的怀疑感,大多数时候当我们衍生出这类情感,都会快速纠正、拨乱反正,比如9·11事件发生之后。你可能会纠结:‘为什么我未能劝说我的兄弟姐妹不要去上班?’但你不会仅仅抓着这个想法不放,因为你知道它没有意义。但是,要想摆脱没有戴口罩造成感染、未能被他人安慰带来的愧疚感,要难得多。”(财富中文网)

编译:杨二一

In a seemingly interminable year of unfortunate news, the United States crossed another grim milestone on November 18: More than 250,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19.

That's a quarter million dead friends, family, and neighbors amidst a pandemic that's only gotten worse in the past few weeks. The general public is, understandably, oscillating through emotions. One day, we hear news of promising coronavirus vaccine studies from companies like Pfizer and Moderna; the next, we're bombarded with the unfortunate realities of overrun hospitals, spiking COVID deaths, and newly implemented lockdowns.

It's unrealistic to think that the cascade of chaos which has engulfed us for the past year won't take its toll on our heads. But why is it that certain kinds of grief, in reaction to tragedy, strike us in such different ways? How does a feeling of constant unease and dread (like when a new virus decides to wreak havoc) differ from a shock incident such as a mass shooting or terrorist attack?

The reality is that there are many kinds of grief, but they tend to spring from the same roots. Sadness. Shock. Anger. Anxiety. Restlessness.

Way back in the innocent days of June, Dr. Katherine Shear, the founding director of Columbia University's Center for Complicated Grief, put it bluntly in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio: "Grief doesn't occur in any kind of predictable way."

A sudden shock of grief can elicit an unpredictable response. The specific response varies widely from person to person. It might be anger. It might be clinical depression. There could even be manic episodes. That's just the nature of our emotional biology.

"Grief is such a powerful thing to the specific loss that you've had," said Shear. "The steps for recovering aren't orderly."

What's unique about pandemic-related grief, however, is that it's both immensely personal and societally consuming. Americans have been prevented from visiting their elderly and sick relatives; funerals have had to be scaled back or canceled; seemingly healthy and young people have had to be ventilated for weeks as they grapple with coronavirus.

Then comes the deluge of constant discussion about the virus and its ripple effects across our lives, as well as the sobering realization that we just don't know when it will all end.

Death lingers once we've lost a loved one. But it dissipates. "The presence of absence. That's how you live after someone dies," as Shear said during her radio interview.

She elaborated on what makes this particular moment so bizarre in an interview with Fortune.

"It’s very different from something like 9/11," she says. "You can’t wrap your mind around 250,000 people dead."

But the uncertainty is the real emotional killer, fueling the malaise. "We all continue to be at risk for death and loss, the two things we fear the most," says Shear. "9/11 was traumatic, but it was over after a while. This is just ongoing, and it’s turned our lives upside down."

This gets to one of Shear's passion projects: The malady that is "prolonged grief disorder."

It's a condition being evaluated and likely to be made official, but in simple terms, it's grief that's debilitating over a long period of time. And it's something Shear expects will get worse. In fact, she expects the percentage of people grappling with it will double from 10% to 20% as the pandemic continues, not just because of personal loss or existential guilt, but building anger in the midst of a hyper-politicized atmosphere.

"The persistent, pervasive yearning, longing, and sadness. An ongoing sense of disbelief," says Shear. "A lot of times we have these thoughts but quickly correct them like on 9/11. You might say, 'Why didn't I tell my brother or sister not to go to work?' But you won’t hang on to it because it doesn’t make sense. But it’s much harder to let go of not wearing a mask and not being able to be comforted by other people."

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