M. Alda Gomez Otero
5 series including symptoms of trauma
I sometimes work with clients who are “traumatised” by the idea that they have experienced “trauma”. #Trauma depends on our interpretation of our reality, so if our society claims that trauma is a heavy load that will overwhelm us and let us feeling powerless for life, that is what our interpretation will be. We learn in the context of our society. If our society can see that trauma is a normal occurrence, despite their uncomfortable physical and psychological sequels, we can maybe change our perception of our reality. Our interpretation of traumatic events might change, and we may start feeling hopeful that we can heal and move on.
Trauma is a part of life
I chose the following series to show you that trauma is a part of life. Its symptoms appear in almost every series we encounter in our TVs or streaming platforms. Trauma is not something to be afraid of. It is something to learn from, gaining confidence in ourselves and our power to heal in the aftermath of trauma. I met many traumatised people who turned their lives around, creating art, publishing books, dedicating their lives to help others, travelling…They were not stronger than you. They were as scared and felt as overwhelmed as you. But they chose healing and life.
In our screens the negative impact of trauma is more often shown than their positive consequences. Trauma is a terrible thing which often leaves horrendous sequels. However, many people manage to overcome their trauma and find meaning in their lives, by feeling more understanding towards others and channelling their suffering into positive endeavours. Some of these series also portrait this positive aspect of trauma, called post-traumatic growth.
Series with symptoms of trauma
Bordertown – This Finnish detective series is a great picture of how trauma can affect those who work in risk-related professions, such as police officers. It also portraits very clearly different symptoms of trauma, such as isolation, poor concentration, and flashbacks. Excellent characterisation.
La Mante (The Mantis) – Incredible French series which gets into the mind of a psychopath. It depicts how a traumatised person can evolve in life. It also shows how a good psychotherapist can help people rebuild their lives. Wonderful! Interesting, well researched thriller with a climax at the end.
Peaky Blinders – British gangsters drama set in Birminghan. Traumatised by World War II, Tommy Shelby, main character is still plagued by his memories of war: nightmares, flashbacks… symptoms of trauma. War veterans often live with the sequels of war for life, experiencing these disturbances not only in dreams, but also during their awake life.
Tales of the City – An American miniseries that portraits life in San Francisco among the LGBTQA community at two very different periods in time. At some point, Anna, one of the main characters, goes to a police station and it is highly triggered, experiencing a full-blown panic attack – symptom of trauma. She was traumatised by the harsh treatment that policemen gave to trans people during the sixties and the sudden loss of the love of her life. She transformed her pain by creating a haven for many people.
Elite – A Spanish series in which a 16-year old is murdered. In the second season, the murderer experiences panic attacks with shortness of breath. It wonderfully depicts that trauma can be experienced not only by victims but also by perpetrators of terrible crimes. The victim’s brother’s reaction is also typical of a traumatised person, trying to regulate the emotions of his loss by numbing them in alcohol and drugs.
Working in a profession that will confront you with trauma, such as being a police person or in the forces, being the perpetrator, the witness or the victim of a traumatic event or losing someone close can change your brain chemistry to that of a traumatised person. If you don’t feel like yourself after something happened to you (it could have happened years ago), and you feel that it is harder than usual to function in life, a trauma counsellor or psychotherapist can help. Instead of living in constant overwhelm and fear, you could turn your life around.
© Alda Counselling - Exeter & Teignmouth