As aware as I am of what PTSD can entail, I sometimes forget how little most people know about the disorder, other than the stereotypical depictions of flashbacks, withdrawal, and violence.
That’s usually what I see in my crime drama binge-watching tendencies, although I’ve been surprised a time or two at how spot on some do manage. Perhaps, I’m not convinced because TV doesn’t allow for the same type of emersion that reading does.
I don’t want to seem like I’m an expert on the subject. I certainly am not, but I have lived with a multitude of my husband’s symptoms for the last twelve years: loud bangs inducing flashbacks, sleeping with his arm propped on his ear, violent nightmares, pacing the house from anxiety, complete shutdowns of emotion and personality, and coaxing him inside from his stakeout when the drug addicts down the street were stealing from the neighborhood cars.
The biggest thing I’ve learned—and relearned several times—is how unfair it is when people, including myself, expect him to behave like he doesn’t have a mental illness.
This is probably the most influential component to the overall dynamic of a character, like Ria. She can’t behave like everyone else because her pain is so new. The trauma from the first leg of her journey bleeds into the others: the girl she failed to save, being staked in the side, being staked in the heart, the human she got changed and had to kill to survive, the car crash, a child she had to let die, slicing the throat of an enemy, and so so much more.
I, too, lean toward that stereotypical flashback move. Hers overlap each other, too similar not to impact her when new trauma strikes. Unsure of how accurate I’m being, I never put her flashbacks in the way of her ability to fight. Instead, they seem to fuel her.
Some studies have found that the heightened awareness and constant adrenaline from a combat zone overpower the effects. After all, PTSD is predominately categorized as being unable to turn this feeling off when returning home to presumable safety.
With the Celampresian Camp—or Boot Camp for Vamps—there are enough lulls for the symptoms to pop up and retreat in cycles. Most of this manifests in anxiety for Ria, an never-ending feeling of doom. Granted, she’s not wrong. Being hunted can do that to a person. It can also lead to a lack of sleep and withdrawing from outside world.
Checking off as many boxes as I could in the first four books, book five will have a different pace, and PTSD will be more prominent for my main charrie.
Overall, I’m happy enough if Ria holds her own kinds of truth amongst the variables that come with something as immense as PTSD. Have you tried to tackle in-depth psychological trauma in your stories? Let me know in the comments below.