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Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

PTSD and the Hollywood Divide

This is a guest post from Michael Day, a combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

War is unforgiving and unforgettable. To those that carry the weight of traumatic memories of it, life is often unmanageable. PTSD is a mental health condition that causes the brain to take a traumatic memory of war and ask the recipient to endure a perpetually endless cycle of horror. With the re-experiencing of traumatic memories comes a host of symptoms such as hyper vigilance, insomnia, isolation, and numbness that are both debilitating and traumatic themselves. A veteran with PTSD, without proper treatment, will be forever stuck in a traumatic memory, a cycle that may very well end his or her life prematurely.

Film Director Minos Papas and myself have taken to the task of creating a short film that will deliver the experience of PTSD symptoms directly to a viewer, while introducing a brilliant narrative that we hope will help fill a void in the film world. For far too long we, as a society, have been exposed to the water downed Hollywood attempts at the portrayal of PTSD. We owe our veterans and our civilian population an honest look. Minos and I are making our mark on the world by providing a tool that can be used by civilians, veterans, and organizations alike. It will serve two vital purposes.


First, the film will introduce civilians to the symptoms of PTSD and help them to understand the challenges facing the post 9/11 generation of veterans. It is important that civilians not connected to war veterans understand their experience. For those who are directly related to a veteran, it may serve as a tool to begin the conversation they never knew how to have.

Second, veterans are often unaware of how their traumatic memories affect them and how the world sees the manifestation of the memories in their actions. Our intention is that veterans and their families may recognize the symptoms of PTSD in the film, and possibly seek help or advice. We want to help veterans and their families recognize PTSD and find a therapeutic way to identify with the main character in the film. Storytelling through film can be therapeutic, and we hope to introduce the real challenges of PTSD into our cultural vocabulary.

PTSD is a stigma. It’s very mention results in immediate pre-conceived notions. We can only reduce the effects of the stigma that bares witness to the veteran population in the form of substance abuse, homelessness, domestic violence, and suicide when we truly understand the symptoms of the illness, portray what it looks like from the eyes of a veteran, and change the dialog that takes place between a civilian and a veteran. Tango seeks to accomplish this.

About Michael Day:

Michael Day is a combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps and now works as a writer, producer, shooter, and consultant for Cyprian Films NY. @WarriorWriterNY

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