eumelia: (Default)
Arachne Jericho wrote a series of blog posts titled Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Fiction (Broken into one, two, three and four parts).

It is a really good series. Trauma and the dealing with it can be a deal breaker for me when it comes to fiction.
I happen to have PTSD.
It's not something I talk about often because I'm in a good place in my life.
The latter part of 2006 and the majority of 2007 sucked, sucked, sucked. Most of 2008 was okay and improved as I realised what I needed to do in order to be able to function. I was in therapy from April 2007 'til January 2009.
That's a year and eight months.
I was never on any medication.
In 2006 and 2007 I had a few panic attacks, I've had one full blown flashback once in my entire life - I hope I never ever have one again, but really that's not up to me.

Briefly, for those who were not reading me during 2007 and/or 2008 and joined after Jan 2009, I participated in the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, the war changed me - I think for the better - and also left a scratch in my brain.
I've been told that I shouldn't make myself out to be a victim, that other soldiers during the war, those who were on the front line and actually fought and didn't just watch the fighting on a big screen and count the rockets as they fell (which is what I did).

Perspective is great. It doesn't lessen my own pain. Making fun of myself and calling myself a whiny self-pitying ass does, though!
My therapist at some point said I use self-deprecation as a way to deflect.

Jericho gives an excellent over-view of what PTSD is and what it isn't and the way it is depicted in fiction - I think there's a unanimous agreement that The West Wing Christmas episode Noel is the best ever on television.

PTSD is a subtle disorder for many, including me. One friend nagged me gently to get help, because she could see that I wasn't "myself".
For a while I was unable to watch the News on teevee for fear that they would show aerial footage from a war plane - those images are still triggers for me and I can get very tense and, ha, stressed. Most war movies have become no-no's, but not good ole' Action films (I'm so glad I didn't lost James Bond).

It took me a while to want to get help, because damn it I'm not weak! Not to mention, in my mind you can't get PTSD by watching a television screen and seeing things blow up! I see that in movies all the time!
Except I was hearing the crackling voices of people telling me co-ordinates of rockets that were being fired from Lebanon.
Trees became targets.
A man who fired one those rockets died on July 26th 2006, it was a Wednesday, he was blown to smithereens.
I saw it happen.
People clapped for a job well done.
That night I broke down and the paradigm of my conciousness was altered - for the better and also with a few hiccups.

PTSD doesn't happen to people who sit in HQ. It also only happen to War Poets, to people who are really hurt.

I was told I take things too hard. That I'm too sensitive. That I need "to get over it". Well, I did... that's why I have PTSD and a good year, instead of... something else entirely.

Go read that series of posts and know that PTSD is hard to write, is often not named (I'm not sure it needs to be, every time or all the time) and I'll think about why I love the characters I love and identify with more than I did before the war.
eumelia: (Default)
I slept like a log last night.
Woke up at dawn and watched a first instances of light filter through... and went back to sleep.
No dreams.
No visions.
Just... pure sleep.

Last night I was unable to write about the film coherently because I was still in a state of catharsis.
It's a very difficult movie, the animation creates a buffer from the gory reality that is portrayed and the seamless transition between the present, memory and hallucination was... magnificent.

Ari Folman is a very courageous film maker, he is making a statement that is very, very political but yet transcends "Left" or "Right", he's showing how we remember that which we really don't want to.
Folman himself doesn't consider the film to be political, just very personal.
But everyone knows, by now, that the Personal is Political and he shows us exactly how intricate that relationship is.

We don't see what went through the minds of the Phalangists or of the Palestinians, he only shows us what goes on in the mind of kids men, who were kids, that witnessed an atrocity and were also complicit in it.

As I said, watching the movie inevitably brought back memories of my own War.
The second Lebanon war.
I recognised Beirut in ruins and I recognised the aerial films that target people in order to bomb them.
Not much has changed.
That could very well have been a point.

Memory is a weird and, ha, surreal thing.
It's also a real thing, though not tangible.
The film shows how this works, how events that are experienced, history will construe differently.
There are complete scenes in the movie that reminded me of things I experienced, but I don't really want to give things away because not knowing all the details and spoilers really enhances the viewing.
One thing that is by now well known about the movie is that at the very end, just before the credits, there is actual footage of Sabra and Shatila after the massacre and it happens just as the young soldier remembers, clearly and really, what happened.
Those memories of war which for twenty years he just didn't want to remember.

It was extraordinary.

Watching the movie wasn't just cathartic for me.
With this viewing I feel I've come full circle with myself as far as my own war is concerned.
Which makes me very, very glad.
Because with the closing of this story I don't need to be haunted any more, I don't need to make sure all the time that I'm not too anxious or starting a spiral of panic.
I'm stronger than I used to be.
Even my therapist says so... and so I've reached a peak of my therapy and will no longer be needing to see her on such a regular basis... just when and if I need to.
Which makes me very, very glad.

Behind the very beautiful moving pictures is a very real and true story, history and it is unforgiving.
This movie is an anti-war film in the sense that when you identify with the soldiers, and you do, you don't want to be there just as much as them.
I have a feeling I'll carry this movie for a long time.

The trailer is really just a taste, a drop in the ocean that is this film: Waltz with Bashir )

I hope this didn't take too much of your time.


Jul. 22nd, 2008 01:16 am
eumelia: (Default)

Well, that's one way to start an entry about the War and the two years that followed it.

When I was called into to the HQ for war-time reserve I really didn't think I'd be stuck there for a month. I didn't think my life would ever include running on adrenaline, going to the bathroom twice in a twelve hour shift and seeing people blow up.

During that time I did my best to disassociate myself from what was going on (I wore a uniform so ripped and graffitied upon, I put on Pride buttons, I drew Venus symbols on the pants and at every opportunity I sat in half a uniform, just the pants and a tank-top - just so I wouldn't look like I was conforming, despite the fact that I was). I was competent and did my best to help the people I was with, but I never tried to improve my skill, I was there to support my fellow shift members - even doing four shifts in a row so that they could get a proper rest and not fall apart at the seams, somehow, I held myself together and didn't fall apart until six months later.

During the War itself I ignored this intuitive knowledge, just like everyone else. I remember saying things that annoyed the people around me because my belief in what I was doing was pretty non-existent, but I did it because I was told I was needed and I'm just that much of a sucker (though no, knowing what I know now I'd never agree to do this sort of thing again... being an agent of death once, was enough).

In the six months following the War I went through a lot of changes. Most of them can be read in this here LJ, if you're so inclined. Basically, the values I held in theory began to solidify and I really couldn't look back at that month of my life without feeling guilty and helpless - especially because at the time I knew that we had gone on the rampage for bravado and to scare The Enemy into submission and not to really go in and get the kidnapped soldiers (yes, the ones returned to us last week).

It was also during those months that my friends and family realised that something was Wrong. I felt Wrong, like I was outside myself, that I had no control over what was going on inside of me and outside of me. So after many attempts to just talk to my friends about the fact that I don't sleep, am constantly angry, am constantly crying and that I am in a constant state of hate, rage and profound distrust, I actually went and sought professional help.

It was also during this time that I drifted quite far away from the comfy Left-of-Centre politics I had lived the majority of my life - Feminist, racism is bad, the Settlements in the Occupied Territories are the root the Occupation and thus must be removed, etc. etc. etc. All this without any understanding of the machinations that created the circumstances in which carpet bombs were used without notifying anyone on the ground.

And so I drifted Left (I suppose I would be considered Loony or Radical, depending on your perspective) and I feel good being in this place of self-examination and activism, it is probably what has prevented me from stumbling into clinical depression.

Trauma never really goes away.
In Hebrew there is a slang word for someone being messed up over something and never being the same and that is שרוט/ה in English it is "scratched", like a vinyl on a record player, when it hits that scratch there is a warp in the sounds that the vinyl is supposed to emit, but it gets stuck on that warp and the cacophony can be deafening.
It can also carry long distances, two years in measured time.
Most likely for longer.

In the shadow of these events, Haggai Alon (חגי אלון), a political consultant and analyst gave an interview to Ha'aretz reporter Akiva Eldar (עקיבא אלדר) about the goings on behind closed doors in the early days of the War and in the latter days and how many, if not most or all of the terrible, ahem, oversights.
The interview in Hebrew - שבויים בקונספציה.
The interview in English - A painful return to fateful hours.
eumelia: (Default)
I read an article in Ha'aretz today, the weekend magazine ran an article called My God, What did we do? by Dalia Karpel about a new documentary that reveals the trauma of female IDF soldiers of the (first) Intifada. Just a warning, the article can be difficult to read for some, so enter with caution.

In the article, the six women who appear in the documentary speak a little about they had to do there. They are all in their early to mid-thirties, seeing as they were in their late teens to early twenties at the time. In the article the phrase "shell-shock" is used over and over again, as these women talk about the how they felt during and after their military service in the Territories.

The term "shell-shock" is a benign and archaic way to say Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is somewhat endemic to this part of the world. I very much empathized with the women in the article in this regard, having also experienced the symptoms and what the knowledge of what they had to do in the name of "security".Cut for f-list convenience and for choosing to continue reading about this disturbing subject )
eumelia: (Default)
We are currently in what a year ago was a part of the Second Lebanon War.

Those of you who followed this blog since know it's been a rough year for me, probably the crappiest I've ever experienced, since you can't really count the roller coater hormone rides of teenage life truly crappy. At least mine weren't.
I envy people who had the worst time in their lives during their teens; that can be put behind and one can move past that.
Here I talk about what I feel and things get a little graphic, so proceed with caution )

But tomorrow I'm going to Fantasy-Con where I'll see "Fraggle Rock" and buy Comic Books and all will be... a little bit better.

In addition, the genocide in Darfur must be stopped.

וכמו כן, צריך לעצור את רצח העם בדרפור.


eumelia: (Default)

June 2015

 12345 6

V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.


-"V for Vendetta"


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