American Sniper, PTSD & Me


My husband and I actually took a little time out for just the two of us and saw a movie Saturday afternoon. He had wanted to see American Sniper for over a month. I wasn’t so excited about seeing that particular movie. Not because I’m not a Bradley Cooper fan…I assure you, I am. I am also a fan of Clint Eastwood movies and of Chris Kyle (the American Sniper legend on whom the movie is based). It was the movie itself I was wary of. You see, I knew it might be an “issue” for me. It would make me face the one thing I really don’t care for about myself….
I have PTSD.
I don’t like to be reminded of it. I don’t like the triggers that remain long after the initial symptoms are lessened. And I certainly don’t seek out tripping any triggers intentionally. I thought the movie might just do that.
I was right.
From the very first moments of the movie, I was immersed in my own nightmare; the incident that caused my PTSD. The movie opens with an Islamic call to prayer. Since part of our escape route was through Istanbul, Turkey, the call to prayer several times a day became one of my triggers. I had not expected this as part of the movie and it caught me off-guard.
Of course the movie also displayed several gruesome, tense and tragic scenes; the kind I expected. These were somewhat easier to take, though I squirmed, wiggled and closed my eyes through a good portion of the movie.
What I found most surprising was the amount of behavior I found in common with Chris Kyle. The behaviors that happened once he tried so hard to return to civilian life. The ones that make you appear like…well…a bit of a jerk. The ones I have spent the last few years beating myself up over. He displayed the same behaviors.
For some reason, this actually helped me. I wasn’t weird or alone in my struggle. God has always been there for me in huge ways, so I knew I wasn’t ever alone. However, even though I went through PTSD therapy called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), the triggers are still there for me to deal with, for at least years, if not for a lifetime. But I was never able to deal with my personality changes after my year-long ordeal. I kept asking myself, “Why did I just do or say that?” I thought I was alone in that certain area of PTSD. But I wasn’t. That was a lie.
I’m glad I went to see American Sniper. It was worth the front row seats (the show was sold out) and all the embarrassing squirming. Not only does God never leave my side for a moment, but there are other PTSD sufferers who have “I just acted like a jerk and I’m not sure why” issues. Just knowing that helped.
But what does all this have to do with adoption?
I can’t help but wonder. With our adopted children go through what most of them go through before they come to our families, how do they not develop post-traumatic stress disorders?
Over the next few weeks, I will be exploring this topic. This busy mama only has one day a week to blog, so please be patient, subscribe, and hold on. This series is going to get a little bumpy.
It is my prayer someone is helped….besides me.
Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post and Warner Brothers…with obvious manipulation;-)


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