All posts tagged: miriamtoews

The Legacy of Trauma Is Love: Miriam Toews’ ‘All My Puny Sorrows’

Rachel Yehuda, a Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Mount Sinai New York, is the Director of Traumatic Stress Studies Division and studies epigenetics, looking not just at the effects that trauma can have on an individual but how the impact of trauma reverberates through the bloodline of that individual. Early in her career, she found that ‘gene changes in the children’ and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors ‘could only be attributed to exposure in the parents’ to trauma, to hunger, to persecution, to torture. In an interview with David Samuels she points out that ‘you’re three times more likely to respond to a traumatic circumstance by getting PTSD if your parent had it’. It is thought that 30% of children whose parents have served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. However, for Yehuda, as Samuels so eloquently puts it, a traumatic event often ‘switches on’ resilience itself. Yehuda believes in the ability of the individual to respond positively to the legacy of trauma they are left; in the Jewish community she saw an ‘overwhelming …