Today, @femaleptsd reviews the VMG Mind Awards drama category for us. Read her thoughts and let us know which programme you hope to see win this year.
I was looking forward to watching the village as it was not a drama I saw when it was originally shown. Based around the first world war, one of the main characters, Joe Middleton, was due to go back to the front line after already spending some time there.
The episode started by showing Joe's character wince at every loud noise, him not sleeping and hiding under a table. I was particularly interested as someone with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) myself, I saw this was what was happening to Joe; the tremors, the look of emptiness behind his eyes.
He was diagnosed as having shell shock, being told it was a physical condition with physical symptoms (apparently they assumed something from a shell had entered his system and these were the effects). It was only once he said he was never near a shell that he was told he had a hereditary weakness and his father blamed himself.
I can speak from personal experience on this one and believe the writing and the acting was amazing and very true to life. The want to curl up, losing the ability to speak, being hounded by flashbacks and not being able to leave bed. This certainly is a realistic portrayal of what we now know as PTSD.
In The Flesh
Please read carefully as this review contains reference to a character taking his own life and you may find it difficult or triggering to read.
After Kieren took his own life 4 years ago, a zombie uprising and him being fully medicated meant he was able to be rehabilitated back in to society where he was originally from.
In the final episode, we saw him deal with the backlash of having Partially Dead Syndrome (PDS) and how the rest of his village dealt with the un-dead.
We also saw powerful scenes of the effect of suicide on those left behind. In a coffee morning, Kieren’s mum talked in a poignant moment of her anger towards him and in the final scenes we saw Kieren and his dad have a frank discussion, prompted and pushed by Kieren, about him getting his feelings out. He explained, in a very raw way, how finding his son had affected him.
Other issues were touched upon, the love between Kieren and Rick, his best friend and implied boyfriend. The stigma against the rehabilitated zombies and what they had to deal with; having their houses marked, being spat at for example. Although overall, the concepts were great, I felt nothing was really explored in detail, but I felt this could have been down to the series only being three episodes long.
Homeland was last year's winner in this category and for great reasons too. It showed the main female character, Carrie as having bipolar disorder and her journey through the ups and downs of this illness when working in a high powered job within the CIA.
We join Carrie at the beginning of this series after she has had Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) and she seemingly looks in remission (a state where her bipolar is under control via meds and other lifestyle choices). In series one, she was fired from the CIA and here we see her working as a teacher until she is needed back in the field and that's when her recovery is truly tested.
I personally watch this program and have had many conversations with people who have bipolar to find out if they identify with the portrayal of the illness and whether it seems accurate to them. Every person I have spoken to has said yes and I cannot give it higher praise than that.
My Mad Fat Diary
Set in the 90s, the main character Rae Earl keeps a diary about her teenage life. All is 'normal' except she has just spent the summer in a psychiatric ward but is keeping it a secret from her friends who think she has been on holiday.
We follow Rae through usual teenage life; boys, love, relationships (with both ward friends and those outside) as well as the struggles with her mother and also the extra dimension of seeing her psychiatrist appointments.
My Mad Fat Diary uses humour, music and experiences that many teenagers can relate to. The fact she also suffers from a mental health problem is intertwined so tightly in to her life, that you don't even see that on an individual basis. This was another program I watched at the time and found myself looking forward to.
I definitely have my favourite that I truly think deserves to win, but I don't envy the judges their role indeciding!
View the full shortlist and tell us who you'll be supporting on the night at the VMG Mind Awards 2013.