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A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle: PTSD on TV

A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle

"I cast my lot with a Marine and where he was, was home to me." ~ Anonymous.

Monday, June 18, 2012

PTSD on TV

It's not often that something on TV gets me all irritated.  It's TV.  It's mostly fiction and even those shows that aren't, are story boarded versions of real life.  And, frankly, if I don't like what your show has to say, I don't have to to watch it.  Period.  That said, yesterday I saw something on TV that I made my jaw drop.

The hubs and I were sitting on the couch doing a whole lot of nothing and it just so happened a The Unit marathon was on.  We watched this show for a very short period of time, but it's so beyond ridiculous that we stopped after the first season.  That said, we enjoy watching it on occasion still, if for nothing else than the fact that the absurdity makes us giggle.

Yesterday we watched an episode that we had seen before, but frankly, I had forgotten this particular part of the plot.  One of the main characters nephews comes home from Iraq for a family event.  They catch him in the bedroom beating his wife.  He tells the main character it's because he has PTSD.  Now they prefaced this part of the episode by saying he had literally left Iraq 36 hours prior.  I can let go a lot of what is wrong with this part.  Not all people with PTSD beat their wives, in fact, none of the men I know with it do, but hey, it's TV drama.

The next part is what made my jaw drop.  The main character, a Delta Special Forces Army Ranger who has supposedly seen ridiculous amounts of action tells this character that he's not allowed to have PTSD because he has a pregnant wife to think about.  He tells him to bury it deep inside.  I'm not kidding, but it gets worse.  He makes a comment about how, at some point, this kid was told that he is allowed to feel angry, but that that is not the case.  In essence, he tells the kid, "Here's a piece of duct tape and a straw, now shut your mouth and suck it the F*** up."  But in a less concise manner.  This whole plot line centers around the fact that the character and the grandfather served and didn't have PTSD and this kid is NOT ALLOWED to have it.  He even tells this kid that he has to consider the fact that he has to do his family and his RACE (he's African American) proud.  UHM... WOW.  Just... WOW.

I looked at my husband with my mouth hanging open.  This TV show tried to portray PTSD as a CHOICE.  This kid was told it was ok to be stressed, angry and affected by what happened to him by the military, but that he's not allowed to feel that way because he has a family?  He's supposed to bury all of that deep inside so he can what? Explode a few months down the road?  So he can withdraw from his pregnant wife and their marriage and never speak to them and their marriage can ultimately fail?  So he can spend a life time not dealing with what it going on with him and what he's been through?

Look, I get it, it's TV, but this is part of the problem with how military members with PTSD are viewed by civilians.  Yes, civilians should be able to use critical thinking to realize that this show is pure fiction, but many will still allow something like this to shape their views on PTSD.  It is not the responsibility of a fictional, and frankly, ridiculous, TV show to educate the public, but you would think that a show about military members and their families would try to be, at a minimum, more sensitive about the content they air when it regards a very real issue like that.

PTSD is not a choice.  It is not something that should be buried deep inside and ignored.  Trust me on that one.  It is a very real issue faced by very real people.  It doesn't matter what your service record is, how high ranking you are, or what branch you serve in.  It doesn't make you weak to have it, and it sure has shit is NOT an attitude of the self entitled.  And it probably effects more families than you realize and if you know very many people who do, or have, served, your probably know someone who has it and don't even realize it.

 It's a very really issue that should be recognized, not demonized.

Ok, end of rant.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Annie said...

just came across your blog... I've enjoyed many of your posts, but I kinda have mixed emotions with this. I've heard so many different definitions of PTSD that I'm honestly not entirely sure what it is. If I go with what everyone makes it out to be, I would have to say that all combat service members who have been in combat situations face PTSD.

I'm not sure if I agree or disagree with The Unit's take on the subject, but in their defense, I think service members who talk to service members about things like that simply want them to carry on as normal a life and as quickly as possible.

At the end of the day though, we all have to decide what choice to make, and if a person decides to not get help for PTSD, that is still a choice.

Anyways, not trying to say you are wrong or the show is right... just trying to offer a different perspective.

June 22, 2012 at 7:33 AM  

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