In the movie Reign Over Me we are shown the anatomy of PTSD in a way one rarely sees in the movies.
Adam Sandler plays a man who has lost his entire family and has no way to even begin to get near his feelings about this loss.
For anyone who wonders what PTSD means, or who does not understand why there is personal work they are unable to do as long as they are suffering from trauma, this movie offers a very simple depiction of the internal landscape of someone in the midst of trauma.
At one point in the movie, the parents of the protagonist’s dead wife approach him. At the moment we see them approaching, we don’t know who they are. We only know they cause Adam Sandler great distress and he flees from them. This is an extraordinarily accurate depiction of the predicament of someone in trauma. The presence of any reminder of the pain causes the individual to do whatever the system can do to flee that feeling.
All the best intention to help, all the feelings of concern that loved ones or therapists may have for the sufferer have no relevance when the very act of being cared about feels like a push towards the precipice of what can not be tolerated.
There are tools, such as EMDR, that assist those suffering from PTSD to address and clear patterns that prevent healing from deep wounding.