How Fantasy Can Assist Us Perceive Trauma


By William Schroeder, LPC

Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive collection options quite a lot of characters who battle with psychological well being situations, similar to melancholy, anxiousness, trauma, and habit. Regardless of their struggles, many of those characters handle to beat their challenges, demonstrating resilience and private development all through the collection. As a psychological well being therapist, I used to be actually struck by Sanderson’s analysis and dedication to constructing a real understanding of the challenges that trauma can create for folks.

Listed below are a number of examples of characters who exhibit indicators of trauma and different linked psychological well being situations and the way they overcome them:

  1. Kaladin: Kaladin, a former soldier turned slave, suffers from melancholy and PTSD. He experiences recurring nightmares and struggles with emotions of guilt and worthlessness. Via his journey, he learns to confront his trauma and settle for assist from others, finally discovering a way of function and hope. Having labored with quite a lot of first responders through the years, the story arc of Kaladin may be very plausible and relatable to their expertise. He presents as a personality that feels cursed by his expertise and thus a necessity to avoid wasting everybody it doesn’t matter what it prices him personally. This drives his character into some darkish locations, together with being suicidal and a number of junctures. Fortunately in as we speak’s world we’ve issues like EMDR to assist folks extra rapidly deal with signs like this.
  2. Shallan: Shallan, a younger scholar and artist, experiences dissociative identification dysfunction because of traumatic experiences in her childhood. She develops alternate personalities as a coping mechanism, however finally learns to combine them and confront her previous, permitting her to maneuver ahead and develop. Dissociation, or extra merely put, disconnecting from traumatic experiences, is extremely widespread in our society and it’s a approach that our mind and physique helps us to work by way of PTSD. Sanderson masterfully illustrates that problem of getting all of these “elements” to return to the “dissociative desk” and start working collectively in direction of wanted change.
  3. Dalinar: Dalinar, a high-ranking army chief, struggles with alcohol habit and experiences flashbacks of traumatic occasions from his previous. Via remedy and the help of others, he confronts his previous and works in direction of therapeutic and sobriety. The journey of Dalinar is just like Kaladin by way of PTSD however his coping mechanism was substance use for a few years and it nearly destroys him.
  4. Szeth: Szeth, an murderer, suffers from obsessive-compulsive dysfunction (OCD) and experiences intrusive ideas that drive him to obey his grasp’s orders. Via self-reflection and the assistance of others, he begins to query his beliefs and actions, finally breaking free from his harmful cycle. In remedy, we’d make the most of ERP, or publicity response prevention, which is actually a little bit of what Szeth is thrown into as his world is made to show the other way up.

These characters’ struggles and triumphs are woven all through the collection, displaying that psychological well being situations are complicated and deeply private experiences that may be overcome with the precise help and sources. The Stormlight Archive serves as a strong instance of how fiction can be utilized to discover and destigmatize psychological well being, whereas additionally offering hope and inspiration to readers who could also be fighting related challenges.

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