Last week, dialogue was opened regarding PTSD (and in turn other mental illnesses), and how using the stories, such as Star Wars Rebels “The Last Battle’” can help us come to terms with these life threatening illnesses.
Facts alone are not enough to really dig in as deeply as we need to to gain a true understanding of how PTSD affects individuals. Ergo, as studies have shown that people connect more with stories than with data, I deem it is essential that we look into the characters of Star Wars that show clear signs of PTSD in order to discover how we may deal with our own issues.
That said, please note that I am not a doctor or professional of any sort. While I have done research on the topic, and had my own personal demons to overcome, nothing is the replacement for professional help. If you feel like these stories reflect what your going through, or if you connect with the struggles of these characters, please consider getting help. Much like Luke could not become a Jedi without his mentors, at times we as individuals need help. Do not, I repeat do not, use the internet as a supplement for medically professional help.
With that in mind, let’s dig in.
Captain Rex (and the clones)
Most recently, we saw Rex dealing with the aftermath of the Clone War in “The Last Battle.” When awakening from his unconscious state, he immediately fell back into the “programming” of a soldier, calling out for his brother Cody. This despite the fact that he had not seen Cody in presumably 17 plus years.
Rex is an eye into the form of PTSD we most often hear about: that of soldiers. In the 21st century, most of us have only known war, be it against drugs or terror. Violence, attacks, etc. are in our faces everyday, but never as much as it is those who are on the front lines.
Star Wars has always had an aspect of commentary on war and how it has impacted our world. Yet I don’t think enough attention has been brought to how war affects the fighters. Now we see that the lives of these people are never the same again.
In the beginning of season two of Rebels, we saw the surviving clones hiding out from the galaxy at large, feeling they no longer had a purpose, believing since they were not soldiers they were not worth any longer. Gregor had lost basic grips on reality; Wolffe had lost his moral compass, as he had known nothing but fighting.
And then there was Rex. Ever the leader, ever the brother, he was looking after Wolf and Gregor, therefore avoiding his own problems. This most recent episode brought them raging back, much like a Vietnam vet ducking from bombs that are not dropping. Rex’s issues may be minor and manageable, but it is terribly important story because it is one that happens all too often today. Soldiers who have been dealing with PTSD are sent back into the field because they hide it so well by taking care of others rather than themselves. Such is bound to have a ripple effect.
Rex,as we will see being a theme across these characters, finds his solace in the love of others. In the middle of the episode, Rex snaps at Ezra for not following orders. However, at the end of the episode he thanks Ezra for ending the Clone War, and metaphorically for helping him recover from his own trauma.
Come back on Friday as we dig into two dark side users who are dealing with PTSD, Asajj Ventress and Darth Vader.