Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Raven

It's no secret that T and I are complete nerds. We're proud of it. Currently, we're rewatching Star Trek: Voyager. There is a lot I can say about the show, from the sassiness of Captain Janeway to the complexities of being lost in a quadrant of space humans have never seen to the process of helping a former Borg 'assimilate' to her human body.

We're currently watching season four, the season where Seven of Nine appears and we learn more about her backstory.

H/T Memory Alpha
As we started watching the episode, Seven begins to have these visions where she sees other Borg coming towards her. Instead of embracing or simply being indifferent, she feels intense fear. Right then, I had my suspicions on what this episode would entail.

Upon heading to sickbay, The Doctor examines her and finds elevated levels of various chemicals in the brain. My suspicions are confirmed and The Doctor informs Captain Janeway and Seven that this is reminiscent of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Side note: flashbacks suck, but I'm glad mine don't include creepy animals like ravens.

H/T Memory Alpha
As these flashbacks continue, Seven begins to act out. Eventually, her Borg hardware starts trying to take over again upon hearing a homing beacon. That homing beacon eventually takes her to the planet that her family's ship crashed on - The Raven.

During this time period, she has gone through the main stages of PTSD very quickly - flashbacks, hypervigilance/hyperarousal, and being numb like threatening to assimilate others.

H/T Memory Alpha
Quite honestly, this is how it really happens.

Sometimes we get to that realization that we are safe but can't shut down the memories. Other times, it takes something big to knock us out of the cycle. For Seven, being on the ship did that:
It happened here. This is where it began. This is where I was assimilated. This was our ship. We lived here. We lived here for a long time. My father did experiments. They were very important and we had to travel a long way. I had my birthday here. My cake had six candles on it and... and one more to grow on. And then the men came. Papa tried to fight them, but they were too strong. I tried to hide. Maybe they wouldn't find me because I was little. But they did. And then Papa said we were going to crash and the big man picked me up and then suddenly, we weren't on this ship anymore. We were somewhere else. And then I became Borg. 
Seven talks often about how difficult it is to interact with other humans. She feels isolated, alone. She doesn't know how to behave or how to do simple things like eat.

H/T Memory Alpha
It's not unlike how I've felt - having to have my husband show me how to brush my teeth or carry out other simple tasks. There is a shame in that which can keep people from pursuing that learning.

At the end of the episode, Seven escapes. She starts learning more about her humanity, trying to learn about creativity - something Janeway was discussing with her at the beginning of the episode. She says that she will eventually learn more about her parents from the ship's computer, but isn't ready yet.

In her own way, Seven's immediate battle mirrors what many of us living with PTSD go through. At the beginning, we don't often fully comprehend our flashbacks. They are incomplete or, like Seven's, not entirely accurate. We don't understand what is going on with our body and mind.

We don't get what we're feeling.

Like Seven, it takes someone telling us that we're okay. In the immediate situation, Tuvok was able to help bring her out of the attack and work on getting to physical - and emotional - safety. Once back on the ship, The Doctor, Janeway, and others work with Seven to help her grow, to feel safe.

H/T Giphy
I never thought that I could identify with one of the Borg, but damn. There is some irony in the fact that I've said T is similar to Tuvok in the past as well.

I'm not sure there's a point to this post, except to point out how expertly PTSD has been shown in Star Trek: Voyager.

Other pieces on the subject or this episode:
Seven Of Nine: Posterchild For Childhood Abuse & Recovery?
The Raven (Memory Alpha)




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