The difficult emotional reactions to COVID uncertainty have led many — including this week the US Centers for Disease Control — to suggest we’re surfing a tidal wave of new mental illness, with depression and anxiety at dangerous crests.
Biological anthropology is responding with a different idea. Maybe the depression we’re seeing is a normal human response to adversity. Maybe ADHD and PTSD are likewise our bodies’ appropriate responses to certain environmental threats. Maybe we’re seeing symptoms of “mental illness” because we’re experiencing so much adversity in our environments.Continue reading