Monday 14 December 2009

A post of links from my research, so I don’t lose them. But there might be something here to interest some of you too.


PTSD in Fiction” series

Arachne Jericho has a series of articles on PTSD in Fiction on the Tor Website. (Triggery, as you might expect.) From the first, “Post-​Traumatic Stress Disorder in Fiction, Part 1:

PTSD is the intrusion of traumatic memories in life. It’s important to note that these memories intrude upon life, like an unwanted relative intrudes upon the peace and order of your household; they aren’t simply a remembrance. This effect is due to the way these particular kinds of memories are stored.

.… Information is lost as [ordinary] memories are integrated into long-​term storage, often removing much of their vividness and immediacy, putting them at a distance.

Traumatic memories in PTSD aren’t integrated this way. Your brain says DO NOT WANT, and as a result, they remain unprocessed—vivid and, unfortunately, so immediately accessible that they slip into consciousness at the drop of even tiny triggers.

But because you need to deal with everyday life, you need to put these memories somewhere other than your immediate attention, and so a compromise is reached: you toss the equivalent of a tarp over them.

I love her tarp metaphor. Sometimes a corner of the tarp will flip up, sometimes the whole thing will blow off…

You can get to the other three articles in the series, as well as some of her other posts about PTSD, on her blog here:

PTSD | Spontaneous ∂erivation

I like how she categorizes and explains the flaws with the common ways PTSD is portrayed in fiction and films. A road map of what to avoid!

“A User’s Guide to PTSD

Rachel Manija Brown has a series of posts on LJ about her own first-​hand experience with PTSD. Very interesting in terms of what it really feels like, and she recommends some books, TV, and films that portray PTSD in a realistic way. Read her posts tagged ptsd. She also has a few tidbits of writing advice on her blog (she wrote a book about her experiences).

PTSD in Lothere

You know I’m doing this research for Egelric’s sake, but there’s been enough tragedy in Lothere that there must be more people with PTSD in Lothere than that. So I’ve been thinking about them. Cat, for instance. Has she recovered? She seems to have (and lots of people DO recover with a few months or a year, and she had lots of support, so why not?). But maybe she just has a really solid tarp.

But of all the people I’m writing about recently, the two people who seem to show the most signs – in very different ways – of PTSD are Alred and Saeward.

You don’t know what happened to Saeward, but we see a man of chillingly flat emotions, who mostly picks and chooses his outbursts… but the sound of a fist banging on the door triggers an all-​consuming panic.

The thing that strikes me with Alred is his irrational anger lately. Somebody presses a button and he starts shrieking and makes the most frightening faces.

Using her “lifting a corner of the tarp” metaphor, Jericho says a trigger can result in:

a slight change in behaviour, which can be so subtle that neither you nor those around you are aware of it until you completely lose composure, i.e. sudden expressions of anger or fear. The most common occurrence of PTSD intrusion.

I suppose that Alred’s problems could have other sources – he is without a doubt severely depressed after all – but then again all of that can coincide: PTSD twined up with depression and anxiety and so on. And Alred was a soldier, we know, and an unwilling, terrified one at that. Not to mention the suicide attempt.

Everything you wanted to know about the hymen

This is random, but I just saw it linked on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, so here you go (it’s a PDF): “Vaginal corona: Myths surrounding virginity – your questions answered.” It’s from the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education so at least you figure there’s no Puritanical agenda attached. Quite educational. I actually said O RLY? a few times myself.

And now more than I ever I think it must suck to be a woman in a society where your name is Mud if you don’t bleed on your wedding night. From that pamphlet it would seem that bloody sheets – if you’re that lucky – might often simply be due to terrified or inexperienced (i.e. dry) intercourse.

In conclusion

Have a non-​canon picture of smiling Iylaine, so that we may bask in the beauty of what might have been:

Happy Iylaine.

(Sigefrith isn’t looking so bad himself.)