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June 20, 2014 5:50 pm  #1


John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

Hi,

I'd like to ask something.

In "Study in Pink" Mycroft says to John, that his hands are tranqualised in dangerous situations. Mycroft reasoned that John hasn't got a PSD but misses the war.

Is there any psychological theory of this theory? Is there a psychological definition for this contrary reaction of stress?

I'm really very interested in this case.

Greetings and Thanks!
Bored-to-be-alive
 


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June 21, 2014 12:00 am  #2


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

If you watch the Hurt Locker, you can see some of the affects of War on a soldier's civilian life. The best scene in that film when Williams comes back to America & is trying to do shopping. His confusion at cereal stacked up on the shelf at the supermarket is priceless.

 

June 21, 2014 9:26 am  #3


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

I have no idea about any 'official' psychological theory about this, but I'm pretty sure that something like this really does exist.
For example, apart from "The Hurt Locker" there are a lot of movies in which you find similar scenes and situations. Soldiers who return from a war very often have problems to just lead a 'normal' life again, which is not just a problem nowadays. It's been there after WW2 as well, but at that time nobody really talked about it. Even if it might not be exactly the same, you can have a look at the German movie "Das Wunder von Bern", where Peter Lohmeyer returns home after being a prisoner of war - and normal situations like peeling potatoes almost drive him up the wall.
So yes, I believe that Mycroft is right. When you've been used to dangerous situations for a long time, it is possible that you miss this when you return back to safety.


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June 21, 2014 9:24 pm  #4


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

Yeah. Okay. Thank you! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


I almost believe that John isn't really traumatised. But if he was, so his friendship to Sherlock is his medicine.
 


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     Thread Starter
 

June 22, 2014 7:29 am  #5


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

Thing is, I don't believe PTSD & stress-normalisation (for want of a better term) are mutually exclusive. For example, if you have seen your bestfriend get shot right next to you then you are going to experience PTSD symptoms in relation to your bestfriend and to those specific circumstances where he was shot.

But this doesn't mean that you're going to flip out in every high-stress situation that you encounter. For example: you might start shaking uncontrollably when you see a photo of your friend (the one that got shot) and be perfectly calm when a building is on fire and you're trying to run to safety because the one does not connect to the other. Building on fire = is stressful but as a soldier you're used to life & death situations so you leave the building as calmly as you can. the photo of your dead friend = is a direct trigger of the PTSD because it reminds you of the incident that started the PTSD in the first place.

Last edited by saturnR (June 22, 2014 7:33 am)

 

June 22, 2014 7:40 am  #6


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

Thanks to you, saturnR. That sounds comprehensible.
The behavior depends on the different situations.

Oh, the psychological aspects of this show are just elegant! I'm glowing. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

 


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You made me change my mind in so many ways.

 
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June 23, 2014 8:02 pm  #7


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

Ok, this is just speaking from personal experience but I have a theory. Doctors have diagnosed me with depression and mild PTSD after having been severely bullied in my childhood. I get very depressed and run down when I have time to myself, during holidays and times of low stress but if I am under stress and I have to work really hard, especially if I feel I have a purpose, like caring for someone else, I function really well. In my youth I once stood in front of my tormentors and was ordered, like John, to hold my hand out and prove that it wasn't shaking, and it wasn't. Yet when I got home I cried my heart out curled up in bed. So adrenaline and a feeling of purpose can, in my opinion be very calming to people who have suffered trauma in one way or another. I know my experience can't compare with having been to war and gotten shot at but I guess a simillar function may not be impossible.

 

July 26, 2014 11:27 am  #8


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

I don't know the answer, Bored, but like you, I'm not completely convinced about the PTSD. 

John has been referred to a therapist, which does suggest he might have a diagnosis of PTSD.  But I think the usual treatment would be CBT and he doesn't appear to be getting CBT with the therapist (I know there are other therapies).  And both Mycroft and Sherlock suggest that he has been misdiagnosed in some way.  He does have a nightmare at the beginning, but who doesn't have the occasional nightmare?  It's not shown as being an ongoing problem after meeting Sherlock (unless I've missed it). 

I do think he has difficulty adjusting to civilian life, that he has been exposed to traumatic things and been affected by them, that he really is missing the excitement and danger, and that Sherlock somehow "cures" all that.   After all, he loses his psychosomatic limp early on (I know that was a nod to the injury changing in the stories, but it still shows how having the excitement he craves affects him). 

I think that a lot of what we're seeing is just John's personality, combined with his military conflict zone background, not PTSD. 

 

August 1, 2014 3:18 pm  #9


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

Guinevere81, that is really interesting.  I can totally see how the adrenaline can almost be addictive in itself, in spite of the trauma that engendered it.  So you and John, and a lot of us, I imagine, would feel most alive and in control when under a certain amount of stress to handle something or be productive and purposeful.  That explains a lot.  Thank you.


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August 1, 2014 10:06 pm  #10


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

I think he's definitely psychologically damaged to some extent by the war, based on the fact that he "misses it". He's obviously finding it difficult to just come home and slot back into normality when the warzone has been "normal" to him for so long now. That's why people do end up going back, like the guy from the Hurt Locker.....he just kept going back into these conflict zones because he couldn't fit in with civilian life, or felt that he couldn't. That in itself, has got to be a form of PTSD, or at least, a direct effect of experiences of military life.

That's why he needed therapy to HELP him adjust, although really, the only therapy he needed was Sherlock. Sherlock provided him with the danger he got on the battlefield, but in a home, civilian environment which is still less dangerous than being out in Afghanistan, so he's getting the best of both worlds.


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September 18, 2014 7:03 am  #11


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

I've been thinking about this in the context of the dream in HLV (which I hadn't seen when I last posted on this thread). 

I don't think Sherlock does offer him a safer environment.   It actually seems pretty dangerous - perhaps more so than Afghanistan (where John was a doctor).  I agree about Sherlock being the therapy he needs, though.  I suppose that, because of the army and his work, John has seen real death and danger.  A high-thrills hobby like sky-diving might be fun for him, but it's not going to fulfil that need.   Sherlock is able to provide him with real danger (sometimes even real death, awful as it is).   John acts as if he's in withdrawal without him.  He seems to need a big level of stimulation just to get to his "normal" - he actually finds it calming.  

It's obviously a problem for him after the war because he's not getting that stimulation.  With Sherlock, perhaps it's no longer pathological (well, maybe a bit, because it is a bit strange to willingly risk your life, but people do it with dangerous sports all the time, and are not seen as mentally ill).  As long as that need is met, John is his happy, normal self.

Last edited by Liberty (September 18, 2014 7:03 am)

 

September 18, 2014 7:14 am  #12


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

I have to disagree here, Liberty. The music, the lightning of the dream, Sherlocks face it all clearly indicates for me that Sherlock brings calmness for John.


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September 18, 2014 5:03 pm  #13


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

Don't worry, you're not disagreeing .  I said that he finds it calming. 

 

December 19, 2016 8:59 pm  #14


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

I know this is resurrecting an old thread, but I somehow couldn't find the last thread in which we talked about this subject!

Anyway, I thought this quote from Martin Freeman was interesting

As we know, John likes excitement and the thrill of the adventure. For as much he thinks that war is hell and he’s lived through it, as many service personnel do there’s a feeling that something is missing when they come back to peace time.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/sherlocks4/freeman

This is the impression I get, and it fits in with what Mycroft deduces, and Sherlock filling that gap for him.  His therapist has got it wrong.

 

December 23, 2016 8:52 am  #15


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

Liberty wrote:

I know this is resurrecting an old thread, but I somehow couldn't find the last thread in which we talked about this subject!

Anyway, I thought this quote from Martin Freeman was interesting

As we know, John likes excitement and the thrill of the adventure. For as much he thinks that war is hell and he’s lived through it, as many service personnel do there’s a feeling that something is missing when they come back to peace time.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/sherlocks4/freeman

This is the impression I get, and it fits in with what Mycroft deduces, and Sherlock filling that gap for him.  His therapist has got it wrong.

I agree. And I am sure that

John punching Sherlock in the face

will have nothing to do with PTSD but that John will have a "good" reason to do so.

Last edited by Schmiezi (December 23, 2016 8:53 am)


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December 23, 2016 10:16 am  #16


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

There is a very interesting similar moment in the film "The Seven-Percent-Solution": 

Holmes is on withdrawal from cocaine, ranting and hallucinating, attacking Watson verbally and physically. And Watson punches him unconscious to end this. Afterwards Holmes apologises because he was not himself.


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December 23, 2016 10:44 am  #17


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

That sounds like a plausible reason, SusiGo, however it - unfortunately -  doesn't quite match with

their relationship being tested to the point of almost breaking. So it seems, as Schmiezi mentions, John does it for - what he thinks - is a good reason. True anger, not just to stop hysteria.


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September 28, 2017 11:39 am  #18


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

Liberty wrote:

I know this is resurrecting an old thread, but I somehow couldn't find the last thread in which we talked about this subject!

Anyway, I thought this quote from Martin Freeman was interesting

As we know, John likes excitement and the thrill of the adventure. For as much he thinks that war is hell and he’s lived through it, as many service personnel do there’s a feeling that something is missing when they come back to peace time.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/sherlocks4/freeman

This is the impression I get, and it fits in with what Mycroft deduces, and Sherlock filling that gap for him.  His therapist has got it wrong.

I'd say exactly the opposite - as far as I know (I think there was something in Peter Beaumont's "The Secret Life of War" but I can't find it to quote - mabybe it was in another on my shelf full of books about Iraq and Afghanistan) the exact problem of soldiers (and journalists, as in Beaumont's case) with PTSD is that everything is "okay" while they are on the battlefield - after all, there can't the anything "post-traumatic" while the trauma is still ongoing - it's the transition to civilian life they find difficult to impossible.

So Sherlock "cures" John's disorder by putting him back on the battlefield. Which unfortunately doesn't work forever - sooner or later a person snaps. Might be an explanation (not an excuse!) for John in TLD...

 

September 28, 2017 1:41 pm  #19


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

I don't know - this is just Martin's take, but "a feeling that something is missing" doesn't seem quite the same as PTSD.   And Mycroft is convinced it's not PTSD, and I tend to go along with his deduction in this case.   This in the context that it's the writers'/actors' view of what PTSD is rather than real life, of course.

But the idea that it's behind his violence in TLD - that's interesting, and something that I hadn't really thought of.   He has just lost Mary (who he was seeing in her more exciting, dangerous role) and Sherlock (even though he's deliberately distanced himself, it's still a loss). 

Last edited by Liberty (September 28, 2017 1:49 pm)

 

September 29, 2017 8:15 am  #20


Re: John and his "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder"

If we still go by what Martin said, he did not mention PTSD as a reason or factor when he talked about this scene.


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