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Shadowed Flames: PTSD in RWBY Part 7

Disclaimer: These articles contain in-depth discussion on the topics of mental health/illness and topics such as abuse. 

The writer is also not a trained nor certified therapist. However, they have been writing for twenty years with a heavy focus on correct, realistic portrayals of mental health. They have studied PTSD and C-PTSD in depth and speak from personal experience. Of course, they only speak from one point of view as PTSD symptoms and experiences are unique to each and every person. This is done from a clinical viewpoint, using sourced academic literature.

More technical jargon (namely the actual list of symptoms) will be given in more everyday language when and where possible.

All right, we’re out of Set D and into Set E now. Thankfully, these ones are much more straightforward than most of the other sets. Plus, I’m also drawing on examples I’ve already used, so I don’t feel the need to go into too much depth. That’s at least with the first two.

E. Marked change in awareness and reactivity associated with the trauma, beginning or worsening after the trauma occurred as evidenced by two more more of the following:

    1. Irritable behavior and angry outbursts (with little or no provocation) typically ex­pressed as verbal or physical aggression toward people or objects.

2. Reckless or self-destructive behavior.

3. Hypervigilance.

4. Exaggerated startle response.

5. Problems with concentration.

6. Sleep disturbance (e.g., difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep).

The main ones I can point to are E1, E4, and E6.

I’m gonna breeze through E6 as I’ve already covered it fairly exhaustively in Part 2. She has the nightmare revolving around Adam. That qualifies as “sleep disturbance.” 

[Image source]
[Image description: Yang has a nightmare about the events of the Fall, centering around Adam. Adam is on the left, looming over Yang on the right who has a terrified expression on her face]

E4 is fairly similar, going over it in Parts 2 and 3. She has an extremely exaggerated startle response when she drops the glass in “Of Runaways and Stowaways.”

[Image source]
[Image description: Yang in the kitchen, leaning up against the counter. She’s off center to the left and in a small perspective. She has a panicked look and is gripping the counter. A shattered glass sits on the floor slightly off center and more in the foreground.]

E1 is where I will get into greater detail to examine a couple of scenes. 

The first one is, again, the one I keep drawing on where she throws the book. That’s an irritable, angry outburst. I won’t harp on those panels any further so let’s just look at the next couple.

[Image descriptions: Two panels from the DC comics.
Panel 1: Taiyang dodging a book. He’s off to the left of the panel while the book flies through the air in the bottom right hand corner. His speech balloon says, “That bad, huh? What happened—did the dog die?”
Panel 2: Yang sits on her bed in brown pants with an orange shirt off to left. Her expression is extremely grim and angry. Taiyang is in the bottom right of the panel with only his hair in shadow. Both have speech balloons that just read with an ellipsis.]

There isn’t a whole lot more to explain here since it’s clearly just leaving her pretty angry. 

I do, however, want to breakdown the scene from “Alone Together” a bit more.

Honestly, this scene’s a bit hard to watch the more I do as I’m writing this.

It starts off pleasant enough with Yang, Weiss, and Ruby chatting over coffee. They’re all relaxed and just having fun being together with each other after thinking they might never see each other again. It’s calm and tranquil until Ruby says the nail in the coffin.

[Image description: Weiss sits on the left side of the screen, Ruby sits on the right. Both are holding white mugs of coffee. Subtitle says, “I just wish Blake could be here with us.”]

The mood just suddenly grows tense in the scene and what makes it hard for me to watch is this next bit in particular.

You can just see Yang’s walls go up in an instant with how she responds. 

[Imag description: Back shot of Yang, Ruby, and Weiss (left to right). Subtitle says, “[Yang] Yeah, well, she made her choice.”]

Honestly, it just hit me as I was writing this article this is it’s actually a good example of how many different symptoms can intersect at once.

Going back to Part 3, we have Criteria B4:

B. Presence of one (or more) of intrusive thought patterns related to the trauma starting after the event:

4. Intense or prolonged mental distress at anything that resembles part of the traumatic event

From Part 4, we have Criteria C2:

C. Avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma after the event occurred (one needed):

2. Attempting to or avoiding external reminders (people, places, conversations, objects, situations, etc) that create distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings closely associated with the trauma

This might seem like it’s stretching, but honestly, it’s not to me. This is something I can personally experience fairly regularly especially when talking with my therapist. When we start to touch on my trauma, I get defensive. I get irritated in nearly an instant. I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to ignore it and leave it alone. By getting angry and irritable, I can maybe change the topic. My brain is just telling me to ignore the trauma. So I’m avoiding external reminder (Criteria C2) which is causing some pretty intense feelings of emotional distress (Criteria B1) by getting angry and irritable (Criteria E1).

However, Weiss and Ruby don’t quite understand that as they keep pressing Yang.

Granted…I don’t blame or really fault them for doing so.

They’re worried about her. She was so close to Blake but she’s telling them she just doesn’t want to talk about it. They probably also have the sense Yang’s not really being truthful which the talk with Weiss reveals.

However, it does end the scene with her going full red eyes— 

[Image description: Close shot of Yang’s face, her eyes glowing red.]

—though Ruby pointing it out leaves her pretty upset.

[Image description: A less up close shot of Yang, she’s slightly off center to the right. Her eyes are still red but her expression is clearly upset.]

And then…her hand shakes. 

[Image description: Up-close shot of Yang’s body that focuses on her left hand holding the white mug of coffee. Image is still, but in the episode, it shakes.]

We can go back to Part 3 and Criteria B4 and B5 to see this.

B. Presence of one (or more) of intrusive thought patterns related to the trauma starting after the event:

4. Intense or prolonged mental distress at anything that resembles part of the traumatic event

5. Noticeable physiological reactions to something resembling part of the trauma

I think this scene can have multiple interpretations that could all be right. We don’t exactly know what’s going on in her head, so we can only speculate. One immediately jumps to mind that falls in line with my PTSD reading of this scene.

My gut reaction is that she’s thinking about how she so strongly activated her Semblance during the fight with Adam and flew off the handle. She flew off the handle here and it freaked her out.

Tied in is probably one of the main reasons: she just doesn’t want to flip out on Weiss and Ruby. They just got back together and, here she is, part of her Semblance activating. 

She might also be recognising they just want to help her and are concerned.

After that, she gets up and walks away.

[Image description: Weiss on the left of the frame, Ruby in the center. Both are sitting down, holding cups of coffee. Yang on the right, storming off into the house, back to the screen]

Here, I think it’s a few things. 

First is just her not wanting to get any angrier at them. They don’t deserve it especially since they were just concerned.

Second is that it’s likely also C2 for avoidance again. 

And that’s what I wanted to analyse about that particular scene. It…was a lot more than I expected. I honestly write these articles relatively on the fly, knowing only what criteria I’m gonna hit with general examples. As I dig in, I find more and more like I did here. It’s usually not a big deal. But this actually had me in tears because of how hard it hit me. It was way too close to home.

This is normally the point I’d wrap up, but there are three more criteria to hit on. Don’t worry; they aren’t that long. 

Criteria F just states that Sets B through E have occurred for more than one month. I think we can check that off. 

Criteria G says that the symptoms seriously affect how a person lives socially, in their job, and other areas of functioning. We can see a good example above of that. We can also extrapolate that it effects her on seeing her at the beginning of V4. She’s not herself. She’s not really interacting with Taiyang like she probably should be.

Criteria H just exists to rule out it being connected with the effects of a substance like alcohol or medication or another medical condition. I…think we can safely rule those out.

So that’s a wrap…for Yang’s part. Join me next time as we dive into the real controversial bit of this: Blake.

Shadowed Flames: PTSD in RWBY Part 6

Disclaimer: These articles contain in-depth discussion on the topics of mental health/illness and topics such as abuse. 

The writer is also not a trained nor certified therapist. However, they have been writing for twenty years with a heavy focus on correct, realistic portrayals of mental health. They have studied PTSD and C-PTSD in depth and speak from personal experience. Of course, they only speak from one point of view as PTSD symptoms and experiences are unique to each and every person. This is done from a clinical viewpoint, using sourced academic literature.

More technical jargon (namely the actual list of symptoms) will be given in more everyday language when and where possible.

I’d just like to tack on a preliminary “I’m sorry” if I missed any scenes of Yang opening up. I haven’t had the time to rewatch all seven volumes from the beginning recently. I also remember V1-5 better than 6 and 7 since I haven’t watched them as many times.

That said, let’s roll into our last criteria for Set D.

6. Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others 

This is probably the hardest one to make an argument for as it’s not plainly obvious and, admittedly, a fair bit more interpretation than the others. But I think it’s a potentially valid one.

Honestly, this entire topic with Yang is rather interesting. For as friendly and open as she is, she’s never really one to open up to others. One of the only times we see her do this willingly is V2 C6 “Burning the Candle.” This is when we see Blake driving herself into the ground due to trying to put a stop to the White Fang after the ending of V1 at the docks.

She tells Blake the story of how she almost got her and Ruby killed due to looking for Raven. 

[Image description: Blake and Yang are in an empty classroom. Blake standing off to the left of the frame. Yang to the right sitting on a desk with her legs crossed. Both are in their V2 outfits.]

Even then, this entire session is really just to try to get Blake to slow down, take care of herself, and have some fun. It’s not really about how it effects her now and how she’s still looking for Raven. It’s just a lesson and message for Blake. 

Two of the most major occurrences I can recall had to have people push her to talk and those are:

V5 C8 “Alone Together” where she talks to Weiss about how she feels about Blake— 

[Image source]
[Image description: Weiss on the left sitting next to Yang, Yang crying into her hands, both in their V4 to 6 outfits.]

—and V4 C4 “Family.”

[Image description: Taiyang’s kitchen. Port and Oobleck sit at the table in the foreground with Port close on the left, Oobleck a little further in on the right. Taiyang is toward the center leaning against the counter. Yang in the center in her V4 attire. Subtitle says “Yang: I’m…scared.”]

This may come across as meandering, but it has a point. This does establish a pattern in Yang’s behavior in general which might seem to weaken the point. She’s someone that doesn’t like to talk and burden others with her problems. 

But the point is that I think what happened to her only strengthened this pattern of behavior. She lost one of the people she was closest to after Blake bolted. She literally lost an arm for her.

Only for Blake to leave and, for all Yang knew, with no intention to ever return.

The fact of the matter is she doesn’t even talk about these things with her father.

She seems extremely close with Taiyang if “Family” is anything to go off of. The way they joke around and laugh… It seems like Tai’s done everything he can to create an environment where he can communicate with his girls. 

I mean, there’s this joke that she responds to positively.

[Image description: Taiyang pointing at his head in the kitchen. He’s the only one in frame, but he’s still speaking to Yang. Subtitle says “[seems you lost] some brain cells along with that arm.”]

Taiyang seemed to know just what Yang needed to hear.

And, yet, she doesn’t actually talk without prodding from Port.

Looking at “Alone Together” is also interesting. If we step back to look at the scene that led up to her and Weiss, we see her continuing anger toward Blake. When pushed too hard, she gets angry, but then she gets up and walks away. (We’ll get more into this particular scene in the next criteria set…)

[Image description: Weiss on the left of the frame, Ruby in the center. Both are sitting down, holding cups of coffee. Yang on the right, storming off into the house, back to the screen]

She gets up to go deal with it on her own. She possibly is just removing herself so that way she doesn’t continue to get angry, but following that… 

[Image description: Yang sitting alone in a room with her head bowed. Subtitle says, “Look Ruby, I don’t really want to talk about it, okay?”]

…the way she talks makes it clear she doesn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone about it, but Ruby least of all. 

But she does start talking once she realises it’s Weiss. 

She loves her family, but she feels like she can’t talk openly to them. A lot of that is likely tied into exactly what she says about having to pick up the pieces and having to hold everything together. But even so, she’s closed off so much to them she just can’t talk to them. Not even her father who clearly knows her so well. She’s extremely estranged from them in an emotional sense, likely just further exacerbated by losing Blake. 

This is best exemplified in the V5 finale “Haven’s Fate.”

[Image source]
[Image description: Image shows the inside of the Haven vault, a huge desert. Yang is small in the frame, slightly off center to the right. She’s holding the lamp and on her knees, sobbing.]

She just breaks down sobbing after confronting Raven. She’s alone and so she finally feels like she can let everything out. She just bottles everything up, only letting it out in moments like “Alone Together.” Even then, she generally needs prodding.

Underneath everything, Yang is someone that’s hurting alone, suffering in silence, just like so many other mentally ill people. 

This one was a bit shorter, but I didn’t want to start getting into Set E at the tail end of this. So see you next time when we start there!

Shadowed Flames: PTSD in RWBY Part 5

Disclaimer: These articles contain in-depth discussion on the topics of mental health/illness and topics such as abuse. 

The writer is also not a trained nor certified therapist. However, they have been writing for twenty years with a heavy focus on correct, realistic portrayals of mental health. They have studied PTSD and C-PTSD in depth and speak from personal experience. Of course, they only speak from one point of view as PTSD symptoms and experiences are unique to each and every person. This is done from a clinical viewpoint, using sourced academic literature.

More technical jargon (namely the actual list of symptoms) will be given in more everyday language when and where possible.

Let me just throw the criteria up and then talk about what all of it means first.

D. Negative changes in perceptions and mood associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the trauma occurred (two or more needed):

    1. Inability to remember important aspect(s) of the event(s), typically associated with dissociative amnesia and not related to drugs, alcohol, or head injury

    2. Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted,” ‘The world is completely dangerous,” “My whole nervous system is permanently ruined”).

3. Persistent and distorted thoughts about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event(s) that lead to the individual to blame themselves or others

4. Persistent negative emotional state (eg, fear, horror, anger, guilt, shame)

5. Noticeable decreased interest or participation in significant activities (ie, socialising, hobbies, etc)

6. Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others 

7. Consistently unable to experience positive emotions (ie, happiness, satisfaction, or love)

So now we’re starting on the changes PTSD makes to one’s perception of reality and mood and we’re moving into the more subtle stuff. This is where many portrayals of PTSD fall apart due to failing to understand these.

As I stated in the primer article, PTSD twists your perception of reality and isn’t just “LOUD NOISE = FLASHBACK.” It’s this set of criteria as well as the next one that really showcase it. 

However, I will admit that this is where things will also get…tricky to try to point to. These are all internal changes in thought process and perceptions. In a visual series like RWBY, it makes it difficult to see these internal changes.

I feel like the three I can point to for pretty sure are D4/D7 and D6. 

So persistent negative emotional state is…very straightforward and we see it pretty well in V4 C3 “Of Runaways and Stowaways.”

The entire beginning of her introduction is literally nothing but a negative mood.

[Image source]
[Image description: Yang watching TV in the center of the frame on the couch. This is the first time we see her after the 6-8 month time skip in V4]

She’s completely impassive while watching the news.

[Image source]
[Image description: Close up on Yang’s face while she’s sitting on the couch but she has her head tilted over the back to look at Taiyang upside down.]

The greeting she gives Taiyang is extremely listless and not at all what you’d expect from her. She just tilts her head back and says “Hi Dad” in a relative monotone. 

The fact of the matter is that’s also implied to have been her mood basically since she did start to feel “better.” 

The end of V3 had Team RNJR leaving during the winter. 

[Image source]
[Image description: End of Volume 3. Ruby is off to the extreme left of the frame to look over her shoulder, taking up about a fourth of the screen in the foreground. From left to right: Ren, Jaune, Nora wait for her in the background in a snowy forest scene]

When Yang goes outside to get the mail, it’s obviously well into spring, if not into summer.

[Image source]
[Image description: Yang at the beginning of V4 getting the mail. She checks the mailbox with her left hand while tucking the letters under the remains of her right arm.]

I’m gonna combine D7 with this because they’re pretty related with one major example.

[Image description: Taiyang’s kitchen. Port and Oobleck sit at the table in the foreground with Port close on the left, Oobleck a little further in on the right. Taiyang is toward the center leaning against the counter. Yang in the center in her V4 attire. Subtitle says, “But…this is normal now.”]

In V4 C4, “Family,” Yang admits to her arm missing as being normal now, but there can also be deeper implications. 

This is how people with mental illness often talk. Once they’ve been in a low enough state, they’ll often just accept the fact there’s no such thing as ‘getting better.’ They’re willing to just accept the fact that their new circumstances are how things will always be from then on. A lot of people aren’t willing to fight or make efforts to get better.

Don’t think I’m talking down to people with mental illness. As I’ve said before, I have PTSD and C-PTSD. I also have severe anxiety and depression which is a pretty ugly cocktail. It’s not the fault of the people who have mental illness as it’s simply their brain’s reaction to the environment. 

What I’m getting at is that people just see it as safer to stay where they are. They’ve come to know the darkness of their mind and they’re afraid to leave.

Yang herself admits to it just a few seconds before.

[Image description: Taiyang’s kitchen. Port and Oobleck sit at the table in the foreground with Port close on the left, Oobleck a little further in on the right. Taiyang is toward the center leaning against the counter. Yang in the center in her V4 attire. Subtitle says, “Yang: I’m…scared.”]

She’s gotten used to the feeling of just being flat and not doing much in life now. Her world has become a lot smaller, relegated mainly to the house on Patch. It’s no longer the entire city of Vale, let alone her ambitions of becoming a Huntress. When things have become routine and predictable without much upheaval, it just feels better. 

That’s honestly what the entire dream sequence earlier in the episode was about.

It honestly wasn’t so much about Adam and being unable to defend herself; it was more about her fear of what will happen if she tries again. By putting on the arm, she’s saying she’s willing to take the first step toward leaving what has become safe for her. 

This is what these two criteria are getting at especially when combined. 

As this scene shows on its own, Yang is capable of experiencing positive emotions. She’s laughing and teasing with her dad. She’s able to joke around, laugh, and have fun.

[Image source]
[Image description: Taiyang sats on the far left, Yang stands to his right with both leaning against the counter., Oobleck sits near her at the table and Port sits across the table from him. Taiyang and Yang are laughing.]

People with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD can have good days and bad days. They can still have fun and act like neurotypical people. Just because they don’t “look” like they’re suffering from their conditions doesn’t mean they don’t still have them. And they can go into periods of remission before it comes crashing down over them again.

You can still experience good feelings, but it’s difficult to do so and especially sustain them. 

Well, join me next time when we tackle D6 and (probably) move onto Set E.

Sources: 

Ciccarelli, S. K., & Noland, J. (2014). Psychology : DSM 5. Pearson.

Shadowed Flames: PTSD in RWBY Part 5

Disclaimer: These articles contain in-depth discussion on the topics of mental health/illness and topics such as abuse. 

The writer is also not a trained nor certified therapist. However, they have been writing for twenty years with a heavy focus on correct, realistic portrayals of mental health. They have studied PTSD and C-PTSD in-depth and speak from personal experience. Of course, they only speak from one point of view as PTSD symptoms and experiences are unique to each and every person. This is done from a clinical viewpoint, using sourced academic literature.

More technical jargon (namely the actual list of symptoms) will be given in more everyday language when and where possible.

Let me just throw the criteria up and then talk about what all of it means first.

D. Negative changes in perceptions and mood associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the trauma occurred (two or more needed):

1. Inability to remember important aspect(s) of the event(s), typically associated with dissociative amnesia and not related to drugs, alcohol, or head injury

2. Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted,” ‘The world is completely dangerous,” “My whole nervous system is permanently ruined”).

3. Persistent and distorted thoughts about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event(s) that lead to the individual to blame themselves or others

4. Persistent negative emotional state (eg, fear, horror, anger, guilt, shame)

5. Noticeable decreased interest or participation in significant activities (ie, socialising, hobbies, etc)

6. Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others 

7. Consistently unable to experience positive emotions (ie, happiness, satisfaction, or love)

So now we’re starting on the changes PTSD makes to one’s perception of reality and mood and we’re moving into the more subtle stuff. This is where many portrayals of PTSD fall apart due to failing to understand these.

As I stated in the primer article, PTSD twists your perception of reality and isn’t just “LOUD NOISE = FLASHBACK.” It’s this set of criteria as well as the next one that really showcases it. 

However, I will admit that this is where things will also get…tricky to try to point to. These are all internal changes in thought processes and perceptions. In a visual series like RWBY, it makes it difficult to see these internal changes.

I feel like the three I can point to for pretty sure are D4/D7 and D6. 

So persistent negative emotional state is…very straightforward and we see it pretty well in V4 C3 “Of Runaways and Stowaways.”

The entire beginning of her introduction is literally nothing but a negative mood.

[Image source]

[Image description: Yang watching TV in the center of the frame on the couch. This is the first time we see her after the 6-8 month time skip in V4]

She’s completely impassive while watching the news.

[Image source]

[Image description: Close up on Yang’s face while she’s sitting on the couch but she has her head tilted over the back to look at Taiyang upside down.]

The greeting she gives Taiyang is extremely listless and not at all what you’d expect from her. She just tilts her head back and says “Hi Dad” in a relative monotone. 

The fact of the matter is that’s also implied to have been her mood basically since she did start to feel “better.” 

The end of V3 had Team RNJR leaving during the winter. 

[Image source]

[Image description: End of Volume 3. Ruby is off to the extreme left of the frame to look over her shoulder, taking up about a fourth of the screen in the foreground. From left to right: Ren, Jaune, Nora wait for her in the background in a snowy forest scene]

When Yang goes outside to get the mail, it’s obviously well into spring, if not into summer.

[Image source]

[Image description: Yang at the beginning of V4 getting the mail. She checks the mailbox with her left hand while tucking the letters under the remains of her right arm.]

I’m gonna combine D7 with this because they’re pretty related with one major example.

[Image description: Taiyang’s kitchen. Port and Oobleck sit at the table in the foreground with Port close on the left, Oobleck a little further in on the right. Taiyang is toward the center leaning against the counter. Yang in the center in her V4 attire. Subtitle says, “But…this is normal now.”]

In V4 C4, “Family,” Yang admits to her arm missing as being normal now, but there can also be deeper implications. 

This is how people with mental illness often talk. Once they’ve been in a low enough state, they’ll often just accept the fact there’s no such thing as ‘getting better.’ They’re willing to just accept the fact that their new circumstances are how things will always be from then on. A lot of people aren’t willing to fight or make efforts to get better.

Don’t think I’m talking down to people with mental illness. As I’ve said before, I have PTSD and C-PTSD. I also have severe anxiety and depression which is a pretty ugly cocktail. It’s not the fault of the people who have mental illness as it’s simply their brain’s reaction to the environment. 

What I’m getting at is that people just see it as safer to stay where they are. They’ve come to know the darkness of their mind and they’re afraid to leave.

Yang herself admits to it just a few seconds before.

[Image description: Taiyang’s kitchen. Port and Oobleck sit at the table in the foreground with Port close on the left, Oobleck a little further in on the right. Taiyang is toward the center leaning against the counter. Yang in the center in her V4 attire. Subtitle says, “Yang: I’m…scared.”] 

She’s gotten used to the feeling of just being flat and not doing much in life now. Her world has become a lot smaller, relegated mainly to the house on Patch. It’s no longer the entire city of Vale, let alone her ambitions of becoming a Huntress. When things have become routine and predictable without much upheaval, it just feels better. 

That’s honestly what the entire dream sequence earlier in the episode was about.

It honestly wasn’t so much about Adam and being unable to defend herself; it was more about her fear of what will happen if she tries again. By putting on the arm, she’s saying she’s willing to take the first step toward leaving what has become safe for her. 

This is what these two criteria are getting at especially when combined. 

As this scene shows on its own, Yang is capable of experiencing positive emotions. She’s laughing and teasing with her dad. She’s able to joke around, laugh, and have fun.

[Image source]

[Image description: Taiyang sats on the far left, Yang stands to his right with both leaning against the counter. Oobleck sits near her at the table and Port sits across the table from him. Taiyang and Yang are laughing.] 

People with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD can have good days and bad days. They can still have fun and act like neurotypical people. Just because they don’t “look” like they’re suffering from their conditions doesn’t mean they don’t still have them. And they can go into periods of remission before it comes crashing down over them again.

You can still experience good feelings, but it’s difficult to do so and especially sustain them. 

Well, join me next time when we tackle D6 and (probably) move onto Set E.

Sources: 

Ciccarelli, S. K., & Noland, J. (2014). Psychology : DSM 5. Pearson.

Shadowed Flames: PTSD in RWBY P2

Disclaimer: These articles contain in-depth discussion on the topics of mental health/illness and topics such as abuse. 

The writer is also not a trained nor certified therapist. However, they have been writing for twenty years with a heavy focus on correct, realistic portrayals of mental health. They have studied PTSD and C-PTSD in depth and speak from personal experience. Of course, they only speak from one point of view as PTSD symptoms and experiences are unique to each and every person. This is done from a clinical viewpoint, using sourced academic literature.

More technical jargon (namely the actual list of symptoms) will be given in more everyday language when and where possible.

The writing of Yang’s PTSD from Volume 4 onward has been a point of major contention among many fans, especially whom don’t have a good grasp of the psychology behind it. It can be difficult to tell if some things do apply to Yang or not. However, she does show enough symptoms overall that match up with the official list to constitute a diagnosis. 

Before starting, there is one term I would like to address that will probably come up a fair bit and that is the word “trigger.” Online, it’s used as “Oh that triggered me” when you see something that’s mildly upsetting. 

The APA Dictionary online simply defines triggers as “a stimulus that elicits a reaction.” 

In the context of this article and series, however, the use will be far more specific. Whenever it’s used, it will specifically mean “an external reminder of the trauma that generally causes a negative reaction.” 

The first set of criteria listed is under fairly straightforward and don’t require too much explanation.

A. Exposure to trauma in one or more ways: 

1. Experiencing the trauma directly

2. Witnessing the events as they occur to somebody else

3. Learning that the events happened to somebody that one is close with. In cases of death, it must have been violent or accidental.

4. Experiencing extreme, repeated details of traumatic events, ie first responders collecting human remains, officers learning the details of abuse.

Considering this… 

[Image source]

[Image description: Whole scene is crimson and black due to Adam using Moonslice. He’s off to the side while Yang is up in the air, her arm detached and floating in the air. Blake is on the ground. All figures are in shadow aside from the red highlights on Adam’s outfit and his hair, Yang’s bright yellow hair and her Ember Celica.]

…she obviously experienced the trauma herself. 

There’s also a potential argument for A2 as she did see Adam attacking Blake, albeit it very briefly. 

She tends to focus mainly on losing her arm (rightly so) but she’s generally afraid of Adam until the end of V6. Seeing him attack Blake could have had a hand on this. Admittedly this is more speculation on my part than anything; it just could be a contributing factor to her fear of Adam. 

[Image source

[Image description: Blake laying on the ground with Adam standing over her, Wilt’s blade stabbed into her near her hip]

A3 and A4 have no bearing on the trauma Yang experienced, so we can move onto the next set of criteria.

B. Presence of one (or more) of intrusive thought patterns related to the trauma starting after the event:

1. Recurring, distressing memories of the events

2. Recurring, distressing dreams with content related to the trauma

3. Dissociative reactions (ie flashbacks) where the trauma feels like it’s happening again

4. Intense or prolonged mental distress at anything that resembles part of the traumatic event

5. Noticeable physiological reactions to something resembling part of the trauma

Personally, I’d argue that Yang shows four of the symptoms, those being B2-B5. l’ll admit I haven’t done a full canon review recently, so I may be missing points for B1. There are some implications of it, but I’ll touch on those when I get to B3. The points seem very similar, but there is nuance that separates them from each other.

Getting into B2, we have a very obvious example of that in V4 C4 “Family.” 

[Image source]

[Image description: Yang has a nightmare about the events of the Fall, centering around Adam. Adam is on the left, looming over Yang on the right who has a terrified expression on her face]

The context of this particular vision of Adam is after she receives the prosthetic and is struggling with the choice of whether or not to start working with it. The thought of it alone is enough to trigger pretty severe nightmare in her about losing it. 

Admittedly, there is difficulty in establishing the fact that the nightmares are “recurring.” We see only this one isolated incident which does get at the core issue of why some people may have issues with PTSD diagnosis for Yang on some criteria. PTSD is about a recurring pattern of behaviors. We see only isolated incidents of these things which makes some of these very hard to make a definitive answer on. However, in my own research and writing experience, I’ve found that if one nightmare is caused by a trigger, it’s pretty common for them to be recurring. 

Moving on, B3 is straight forward except for one word in there: dissociation. This is one of those pieces of technical jargon that can’t be swapped out for everyday speech as it addresses very specific phenomena. At its base, dissociation is a mental break, in reality, usually to avoid negative thoughts. Everyone experiences it lightly in their lifetimes whether they know it or not. Whenever you daydream, you’re dissociating. If you get in your car and go from your house to work and don’t remember the drive, that’s another form of it. 

And that exactly what flashbacks are. It’s a very specific type of dissociation, often brought on by some sort of external trigger. 

We do see one very good example of this in V4 C “Of Runaways and Stowaways.” She drops the glass and it triggers her into a quick flashback of Adam. 

[Image source]

[Image description: Yang in the kitchen, leaning up against the counter. She’s off center to the left and in a small perspective. She has a panicked look and is gripping the counter. A shattered glass sits on the floor slightly off center and more in the foreground.]

Let me quickly circle back to Criteria B1 and the “recurring” part. We do see the glass as an isolated incident as far as canon goes which makes it difficult to pull on anything else to establish that. However, these sorts of things are rarely (if ever) simple, isolated incidents. 

Going back to the stereotype of veterans with (say) fireworks as a trigger, it wouldn’t just be one and done. They wouldn’t hear it once on New Year’s Even and never react again; it’d be every time they heard them. (This isn’t taking into the effects of specific types of therapy and actively working on it.)

The same would be true for Yang.

One thing to note with flashbacks is that they occur on a spectrum and can take many forms. The stereotype of the veteran is the most extreme example. Flashbacks can be auditory or the person reexperiencing certain physical sensations. I’m sure there are more types that I’m not aware of too. The main point is that the person doesn’t have to be fully seeing the events to feel like they’re recurring.

Let me just finish off this part by touching on the nuance between B1 and B3. Both deal with memories and how they intrude on a person’s everyday life. B1 is much more generalised than B3. B3 is about a very specific event, usually caused by a trigger. 

B1, however, is just generalised thoughts and it happens to everybody at times. Everyone has small moments of trauma in their lives where they might have been humiliated in front of others, bullied, or something similar. It’s remembering these times as unwanted moments that B1 is talking about. 

There’s a lot more to keep digging into with Yang, so join me next time where we’ll continue our exploration of the next two criteria. 

Sources:

APA Dictionary of Psychology. (2014). APA Dictionary of Psychology. Apa.Org. https://dictionary.apa.org/trigger

Ciccarelli, S. K., & Noland, J. (2014). Psychology : DSM 5. Pearson.

Shadowed Flames: PTSD in RWBY Part 4

Disclaimer: These articles contain in-depth discussion on the topics of mental health/illness and topics such as abuse. 

The writer is also not a trained nor certified therapist. However, they have been writing for twenty years with a heavy focus on correct, realistic portrayals of mental health. They have studied PTSD and C-PTSD in depth and speak from personal experience. Of course, they only speak from one point of view as PTSD symptoms and experiences are unique to each and every person. This is done from a clinical viewpoint, using sourced academic literature.

More technical jargon (namely the actual list of symptoms) will be given in more everyday language when and where possible.


So we’re finally moving onto a new set of criteria today that deals with avoidance.

C. Avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma after the event occurred (one needed):

1. Attempting to or avoiding distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the trauma

2. Attempting to or avoiding external reminders (people, places, conversations, objects, situations, etc) that create distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings closely associated with the trauma

If you’re a bit confused about how these are different, it’s okay; these two, in particular, are very similar, but they are different. However, in my own personal writing, I’ve found that they tend to go hand in hand. In tracking about twenty-some characters and their PTSD symptoms, I’ve found all of one case of them not going together. They do tend to feed into each other which is why.

These are both about avoiding reminders of the event, but the main difference is internal versus external. The first one is basically just trying to avoid any sort of thoughts or feelings related to the trauma. The second one is about trying to avoid external reminders or triggers. External triggers can feed into distressing thoughts and feelings about the trauma, hence why they can feed into each other.

In this particular case, I think I can make an argument for Yang displaying at least C2, so that’s the one I’ll focus on. C1 would be much more difficult to try to make a case for as it deals with just avoiding thinking about the trauma. As we never really get inside of her head and hear her internal monologue, it’s much more difficult to make a case for.

She does display C2 very strongly through on multiple occasions.

Two of the best examples happen in rather a quick succession in V4 C3. “Of Runaways and Stowaways.” 

[Image source]

[Image description: Yang sits on the couch off the right of the frame in the background. Three books sit on the left in the foreground. The bottom one has a burgundy cover. The middle one has a green cover. The top one has a brown cover.]

The first one is when Yang glances at the stack of books then looks away rather quickly. It’s a subtle thing, but she associates books with Blake, so by looking away, she’s avoiding the trauma. 

Issue 3 of the DC Comics, “Rebuilding,” illustrates this point pretty well.

[Image descriptions: Two panels from the DC comics.

The first one has a back shot of Yang holding “The Man With Two Souls.” However, only the text “The Man” on the first line and “Two Soul” on the second line is visible. 

The second shows Yang throwing the book with a “FLING” sound effect. The bottom of her right arm is still covered in bandages. Text bos says “Just sad.”]

Admittedly, this particular instance is correlated directly to a book that Blake gave her. It still goes to show her reacting negatively to something that reminds her of the trauma. She tosses the book because she doesn’t want to think about Blake leaving. 

The second occurrence is when she’s watching TV. 

[Image descriptions: Three images.

Top: Yang sits on the couch in her V4 attire in the middle of the frame. Subtitle says. “Multiple rumors continue to circulate as to who was behind the attack at the Vytal festival tournament…”

Middle: Focus shifts to the news screen which is projected. Lisa Lavender is the news anchor. Title on the TV screen says, “White Fang member, Adam Taurus, present during Beacon Grimm attack.” Dialogue subtitle says, “officials have confirmed that high ranking White Fang member, Adam Taurus,”

Bottom: Yang sitting on the couch, slightly off-center to the left of the frame, holding the remote to turn the TV off.]

Honestly, the first shot of this particular is very interesting and something I didn’t think of when originally writing the previous part.

If we go back to the previous set of criteria, we can see a minor incarnation of B5 and perhaps even B4 along with what we’re currently talking about. 

Just for reference, here are B4 and B5 again.  

4. Intense or prolonged mental distress at anything that resembles part of the traumatic event

5. Noticeable physiological reactions to something resembling part of the trauma

That little expression on her face shows that she is clearly thinking about the Fall of Beacon in general even if not necessarily losing her arm. 

The scene does go on for a little while longer, but after the White Fang segment ends, she simply turns the TV off. Basically everything on the news was a reminder of the Fall of Beacon and the state of the city. It’s just a general reminder of what happens, so she chooses to simply not expose herself to it any longer.

The last occurrence we’ll touch on is still in the same episode and, again, rather close to these two scenes. It’s the one with Taiyang bringing in Yang’s prosthetic. It’s a rather interesting one that honestly does a lot of showing while being subtle about it.

[Image descriptions: Two images.

Top: View from the kitchen looking into the living room. Taiyang is in the foreground off-centered left, carrying three boxes in his arms and two bags dangle off them. Yang in the background on the couch, off-centered right.

Bottom: Yang slightly off center-right, looking down at her missing right arm.]

This is the first bit of the scene I’d like to pick apart. Yang watches Taiyang bring in all the packages and mail and then glances at her arm. From the way Taiyang talks and the way Yang acts, it seems like they knew it was coming. Taiyang’s speech, later on, seems to prove it since he’s (somehow) been in contact with General Ironwood. 

But the part I want to focus on is Yang’s little glance at her arm. Without really saying anything, you can just sort of see the thoughts in her head. It seems like it basically boils down to “but I lost a part of me. How can you expect me to just replace it so easily…?” 

Moving on, we have her opening it.

[Image descriptions: Three images.

Top: Yang sitting on the couch, off center-right. A long white box sits on the table in front of her.

Middle: Close up of Yang’s face with her expression looking distant. Subtitle from Taiyang says, “But you earned this one all on your own, kiddo.”

Bottom: Almost the exact same shot as above with Yang. Subtitle says, “Yang: Huh?”]

This is a pretty interesting little bit of showing as her expression and body language speak volumes as you can see the continuing thoughts.

However, what’s most interesting to me is her reaction while Taiyang’s talking. 

I don’t know anything about camera work, framing, or anything of the like, so this is kind of just speculation and personal interpretation on my part.

I feel like this small scene maybe another small example of criteria B3 (Dissociative reactions (ie flashbacks) where the trauma feels like it’s happening again) though much less severe than the example where she drops the glass.

I bring this up is because dissociation occurs on a spectrum from minor, momentary lapses to full-blown flashbacks of some sort. Looking at this scene, it feels like she’s dissociating a little bit. The framing is focused upon her face and her expression looks rather distant. We have Taiyang talking in the background which is used in a lot of animation to indicate someone’s not listening. And then you have a slight pause before her “Huh?” which means she wasn’t really listening.

As someone that literally lives their entire life dissociated, this really feels like a subtle way of showing a small lapse into it. She’s spacing out, but it’s because she’s remembering everything she went through. She doesn’t seem to quite know how to cope with what’s in front of her, so she just lapses out for a moment.

And then comes the last bit. 

Image description: Yang sitting on the couch, center frame. Her gaze is down and to the right and hair covering her eyes. Subtitle says, “Maybe later?”]

Here’s the avoidance. 

This scene is very short without much said, but it’s expertly shown. As somebody with PTSD, honestly, this is a fantastic representation of how much more subtle it can be and almost always is. As I said in the primer, PTSD isn’t just about loud noises and flashbacks; it a subtle thing that changes your behavior. You do things like this. Even if something would be beneficial for you, it makes you avoid it because you don’t want to experience those thoughts and feelings again. 

With this covered, we can move onto Set D: alterations to the mood and perception of the world.

Sources: 

Ciccarelli, S. K., & Noland, J. (2014). Psychology : DSM 5. Pearson.

Shadowed Flames: PTSD in RWBY Part 3

Disclaimer: These articles contain in-depth discussion on the topics of mental health/illness and topics such as abuse.

The writer is also not a trained nor certified therapist. However, they have been writing for twenty years with a heavy focus on correct, realistic portrayals of mental health. They have studied PTSD and C-PTSD in-depth and speak from personal experience. Of course, they only speak from one point of view as PTSD symptoms and experiences are unique to each and every person. This is done from a clinical viewpoint, using sourced academic literature.

More technical jargon (namely the actual list of symptoms) will be given in more everyday language when and where possible.

So, last time, we talked about exposure to the trauma and the first three patterns of intrusive thought patterns. Let’s pick up where we left off last time with the last symptoms of intrusive thoughts.

B. Presence of one (or more) of intrusive thought patterns related to the trauma starting after the event:

4. Intense or prolonged mental distress at anything that resembles part of the traumatic event

5. Noticeable physiological reactions to something resembling part of the trauma

Honestly, I’m kind of glad I stopped where I did last time for this. Looking at these two symptoms together, we can see them manifest in Yang together in one very noticeable way that pervades mostly through Volume 5, but also in Volume 6.

The subtle hand shaking.

[Image source]

[Image description: Yang in her V5-6 attire off to the right and taking up most of that part. She’s gripping her shaking left hand with her right, looking upset. A water bottle sits off to the left more in the foreground.]

[Image source]

[Image description: V5 C4 “Lighting the Fire”: Yang’s fighting the Branwen bandits when her hands shake, reminding her of the night that Adam took her arm. She’s holding her left arm with her right, eyes closed.]

[Image source]

Image description: Scene from V6 C11 “The Lady in the Shoe”: Adam taunting and trying to purposely trigger her. She stands off to the right of the frame, a back shot with her left hand and the fully extended Ember Celica. Adam stands in the background, just slightly left of the center in the background. He has his hands on Wilt and Blush, ready to draw them.]

Obviously, these aren’t all of the examples of her handshaking, but it gives enough of a good picture to draw on. The reason she’s shaking is that, even though she’s somewhat better, PTSD isn’t something that just goes away. She still has issues to sort through, ones that cause her severe emotional distress due to how she’s reminded of the night of the Fall.

I am going to make a bit of a digression here, but there are a few more things I’d like to analyze especially in regards to triggers.

The scene with Adam is horrible and speaks to his character. This isn’t an in-depth analysis of it, but this scene does speak to how quickly he can think on his feet at times even if it’s obvious. He did say he’d destroy everything Blake loved and so he goes straight for the jugular with her. It’s a devious move to gain any advantage he can get. He can tell she’s mentally weakened by what happened, and so he goes to purposely trigger her to elicit the reaction he wants.

The following scene also does bring up a good point about PTSD and mental illness in general.

[Image source]

[Image description: Yang and Blake in the frame, Yang to the left, Blake to the right. It’s focused on just their hands. Blake has hers over Yang’s which is a balled fist. The Ember Celica is fully extended.]

Sometimes just being there for somebody is one of the best things you can do for somebody with a mental illness. Yang is obviously triggered by what Adam is saying, so Blake steps in to support her and help disrupt those thought patterns which are being intrusive.

If you know a person well enough or they ask you, if they’re triggered, sometimes helping redirect the intrusive thought patterns can be a very welcome thing. I know when my depressive episodes get triggered by whatever, I definitely appreciate it when my friends help distract me. This is a highly individual thing, though. Each person is unique in their reactions and perceptions. It’s something that needs to be discussed with the person beforehand or permission given at the moment to do so.  

Getting back to the actual symptom listing, there is something I’d like to touch on specific to B4 as shown in the DC comics from Issue 3, “Rebuilding.”

[Image descriptions: Three panels from the DC Comics.

The first one has a back shot of Yang holding “The Man With Two Souls.” However, only the text “The Man” on the first line and “Two Soul” on the second line is visible.

The second one shows Blake handing Yang the Book. Blake’s fingers don’t cover the text “With” on the first line and “l s” on the second line.

The third shows Yang throwing the book with a “FLING” sound effect. The bottom of her right arm is still covered in bandages. Text box says “Just sad.”]

This is another pretty good example of a trigger in action, but in a different way.

In this case, the trigger isn’t about her arm or the Fall of Beacon, but the much more subtle abandonment issues Yang has. Blake leaving exacerbated the issues that had popped up long ago from learning about Raven. Here, seeing the book, a physical manifestation of Blake, causes those issues to surface.

I’m not sure if this ties in with the PTSD or not, but the little detail of Yang only seeing the part of the title where Blake’s hand was is a nice one. It might be a metaphor for how she can only see a small part of the situation rather than the whole thing.

I dunno.

It’s just a neat little detail regardless.

The glass incident “Of Runaways and Stowaways” can also count under both of these. It can count as another very good example of both B4 and B5.

[Image source]

[Image description: Yang in the kitchen, leaning up against the counter. She’s off-center to the left and in a small perspective. She has a panicked look and is gripping the counter. A shattered glass sits on the floor slightly off-center and more in the foreground.]

For these two, the sound triggers the sound of Adam drawing his sword as is seen in the momentary flash immediately following the scene. Fairly simple and straightforward, but still a very good example of these particular symptoms.

[Image descriptions:

Top image: The bottom part of Adam’s symbol from the back of his shirt glows red against a black background. A white slash is at the bottom.

Bottom image: Adam stands in the center of the frame in the ruined Beacon cafeteria. He has Wilt’s crimson blade drawn, ready to attack. Blake lays on the ground behind him, barely visible and looking toward the camera.]

Next time, we’ll head into Set C which covers the topic of avoidance and possibly Set D which deal with alterations in mood and perception of the world.

Sources:

Ciccarelli, S. K., & Noland, J. (2014). Psychology : DSM 5. Pearson.

Shadowed Flames: PTSD In RWBY Part 1

Disclaimer: These articles contain in-depth discussion on the topics of mental health/illness and topics such as abuse. 

The writer is also not a trained nor certified therapist. However, they have been writing for twenty years with a heavy focus on correct, realistic portrayals of mental health. They have studied PTSD and C-PTSD in-depth and speak from personal experience. Of course, they only speak from one point of view as PTSD symptoms and experiences are unique to each and every person. This is done from a clinical viewpoint, using sourced academic literature.

— 

[Image source]

RWBY V5 C4 “Lighting the Fire”: Yang’s fighting the Branwen bandits when her hands shake, reminding her of the night that Adam took her arm.

RWBY, as a series, is one that has been met with much criticism when it comes to its writing. As a long-time writer myself, I can definitely see where the criticisms come from. However, as a writer focused in and around mental illness, one thing I do find to be surprisingly well written is the portrayal of mental illness, namely Blake’s C-PTSD and Yang’s PTSD in primarily Volumes 4-6. 

So what are these terms I keep throwing around?

Most people are fairly familiar with the concept of normal PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In popular culture, it’s portrayed as a veteran hearing something loud similar to gunshots then being sent into flashbacks of whatever combat zone they experienced. It’s also commonly known as shellshock from way back in World War I when it was first noticed among those who fought in the trenches. C-PTSD is short for Complex-PTSD but that’s explained more below.

However, PTSD is more than just loud noises and flashbacks. It’s a series of complex, subtle behaviors that affect daily living. Like many mental illnesses, it’s the brain’s reaction to trauma. Many of the behaviors are a way of creating avoidance at winding up in situations that resemble the event(s) that caused the trauma. It occurs on a large spectrum with patterning being unique to each individual. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or DSM), psychology’s standardized guidelines for diagnosing mental illnesses, list 24 criteria for PTSD which allows for a lot of different patterns. 

Some of these can include recurring nightmares of the events— 

[Image source]

V4 C4 “Family”: Yang has a nightmare about the events of the Fall, centering around Adam. It’s implied these are recurrent from her reaction.

—persistent, distorted thoughts about the cause and/or consequences of the traumatic events that lead one to blame themselves or others— 

RWBY DC Comics #4 “Intoxication”: Blake reflecting on her past while going to Menagerie. She feels that she’ll only ever bring harm to those around her because of her past. 

—persistent negative mood— 

[Image source]

RWBY V4 C3 “Of Runaways and Stowaways”: Yang watching TV. This is the first time we see her after the 6-8 month time skip in V4. Her mood is very flat, implied to be like this much of the time since losing her arm.

—and feelings of estrangement from others.

RWBY DC Comics #4 “Intoxication”: Blake continuing to reflect on her past, feeling she can’t get close to anybody because of it. She feared people would get hurt because of it. It manifested when Yang lost her arm. 

These aren’t all of the symptoms of PTSD, but it shows you how PTSD can impact daily functioning in life and why it can be such a struggle for those trying to help.

So what the heck is C-PTSD then?

C-PTSD is short for Complex PTSD. There are two main manuals used to diagnose mental illness. PTSD is listed in the main one and has been for years. C-PTSD is not recognized by the main manual but it was under consideration for the last two editions that came out in 1994 and 2013. It was, however, put into a secondary manual in May 2019 organized by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Basically, C-PTSD is a subtype of PTSD for individuals that suffered prolonged periods of ongoing trauma. As it stands at the moment, C-PTSD is a more vaguely defined cluster of ongoing behaviors.

Individuals suffering from C-PTSD can include difficulty regulating emotions such as persistent fear and sadness— 

RWBY V2 C10 “Mountain Glenn”: The team talking about the reasons they want to be Huntresses. Yang initially brought up that Blake’s not one to back down from a challenge. Her response was, “But I am! I do it all the time… When you learned I was a Faunus, I didn’t now what to do so I ran… When I learned my oldest partner had become a monster, I ran…”

—feelings of helplessness, stigma, and being different from others— 

[Image source]

RWBY V1 C15 “The Stray”: Blake taking her bow off after she accidentally outs herself as former White Fang. She hides a major part of herself to avoid being stigmatized and discriminated against. 

—and distorted perceptions of the perpetrator including (but not limited to) becoming hyper-focused on the relationship.

[Image source]

RWBY V2 C6 “Burning the Candle”: Blake is hellbent on tracking down the White Fang, running herself ragged in the process. 

There are more for this as well, but this article is really just a primer. 

So what is the difference?

I think this visual works to show the difference rather well on a basic level.

Put into words, at its most basic form, PTSD is about somebody constantly re-experiencing trauma which makes the person feel threatened and, thus, they go to avoid it.

C-PTSD is that as well as a complete warping of self and reality (not to say normal PTSD isn’t but…). People may end up feeling as if they’ve lost their personality, can’t regulate their emotions, and often tend to shut out interpersonal relationships due to the nature of the abuse they sustained. 

PTSD seems to also have many of C-PTSD symptoms which makes it…difficult to try to show how they contrast in a primer article like this. The following articles will go more in-depth to explain through examples. 

Sources:

Ciccarelli, S. K., & Noland, J. (2014). Psychology : DSM 5. Pearson.

Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. (2013). Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms and Diagnostic Criteria. Trauma Dissociation. http://traumadissociation.com/complexptsd

Complex PTSD – PTSD: National Center for PTSD. (2014). Va.Gov. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/complex_ptsd.asp

ICD-11 – Mortality and Morbidity Statistics. (2019). Who.Int. https://icd.who.int/browse11/l-m/en#/http://id.who.int/icd/entity/2070699808

RWBY Volume 6 Chapter 9 Analysis

RWBY Volume 6 Chapter 9 was a real tear-jerker. The thing that stuck out most to me was Juane coping with Pyrrha’s death. I think it was pretty clear throughout the first 3 volumes that they loved each other and if it wasn’t clear then, it was certainly made clear that Juane loved her in this episode.

He spends most of the episode deeply saddened and thinking about her and even visits a statue of her made in memory of her, placed where she trained before coming to Beacon no less and he’s seemingly inconsolable for the time being. How many of us can relate to Juane’s struggle with coping with the loss of someone he loved? Most if not all of us have suffered a loss of love at one point or another and no matter how many we lose it never gets easy. Things like:

“She should be standing here!”

“Why was it her that had to die?”

I’m sure many more questions cross his mind. Just as we all do, he goes through the all too human process of doubting, questioning why, feeling despaired and all that loss entails. But when we lose those we love it doesn’t truly have to be the end of them. Sure, they aren’t physically with us anymore but their memory, what they stood for, what they believed in and the impact that had on all they met stay with us.

On top of all these things, since they’re gone any memory of their legacy and the changes they tried to make must come from those they knew, it must come from us. Physical loss doesn’t have to be the end of a bond, all the things mentioned above are what make a bond live on beyond death but we have to choose to face the pain and continue clinging to those memories. And who knows, perhaps there’s a life beyond this one we will meet them in again one day. Will you allow their legacy to be forgotten in time or cling to their memories and build onto that legacy?

RWBY Volume 6 Chapter 8 Analysis

RWBY Volume 6 Chapter 8 is a great mix of comedy and drama despite the fact that it starts off with Team RWBY and crew in prison. Qrow keeps his sarcastic and joking demeanor despite being locked up, the Grimm Reaper comically and casually says these people are her enemies despite the fact that she clearly cares at least somewhat for them. The guards are comically aloof. I felt this was nice change of pace from the constant tension of the last few episodes.

We also get a great bonding moment between Reaper and Ruby as Reaper teaches her how to increase her power and tells her the importance of her eyes. Finding good in bad situations was a major theme in this episode I felt. Despite the revelation of Ozpin and Salem being lovers, Salem possibly being justified in her want to bring destruction and being imprisoned they still find the time to learn, joke around and strengthen their bond.

This episode really reiterated that there’s almost always a silver lining, another joke to be made, another important lesson to be learned, another to teach and much more. If there isn’t a clear silver lining to be seen then we can draw one ourselves and if there isn’t any relief to be found, we can rely on the strength of our bonds to be our relief even if the person isn’t physically there.

The bad and stressful situations in our lives can make this silver lining all the more clear and give us perspective. Whether it be that things might not be as bad as we think, or that they are but we can overcome them, the bad parts of our lives shouldn’t be dismissed or hidden but instead learned from. Like how Reaper learned to thrive despite the loss of her eyes, like how Yang learned to live again despite her PTSD and Qrow learned how to be a better leader despite his struggles. You can grow but the question, will you let the pain help you grow?