Episode 508, My Thoughts

If I’m being honest, I didn’t like Episode 508, Famous Last Words.

Not because it isn’t good. It is good. Maybe too good. 

The first time I watched, my discomfort grew, as each flashback happened.

I buried it in the twin responses of surely that was the last flashback, and I don’t want this to be happening. Watching Roger suffer through PTSD, and relive his hanging over and over again, as the people outside him had no idea of his particular torment, its frequency, or its impact, hit home just a little too much for me. As did the theme of grief, loss, trauma. Ugh.

After watching it once, I felt stunned.

I knew I’d need to watch it again, to prep for our Episode 508 discussion,
and I dreaded it.

I finally watched on Monday afternoon, but I held it at arms’ length – pausing, rewinding, fast forwarding, skipping parts, I analyzed, and avoided feeling it, again. 

On Tuesday, I found I wasn’t looking forward to discussing this episode, as I usually do. If there’d been an excuse outside myself to not do it, I would’ve leapt at it. To say I didn’t want to do it would mean letting the “why” surface. I was compartmentalizing, avoiding, denying. Maybe I could just go through the motions and get through it?

Oh Outlander, you do have a way about you, of working your way into the dark crevices that need healing; the ones we keep well hidden, like Young Ian. 

We discussed. I felt vulnerable. I took things personally. I didn’t want to hear the detailed recounting of Roger’s hanging(s). Joking helped. Being with my friends helped. But there it was: the writing was great, the directing was excellent, the acting was superb, but I didn’t like it, no, I dislike it. It’s not you, Episode 508, it’s me. (Let’s do break up though). 

I woke up and processed in the night, as I do.

I have experienced PTSD for the last two years, as part of my very delayed recovery from a terrifying childhood horseback riding accident. I buried that trauma, which has profoundly affected my body, mind and spirit for my whole life, thus far. Horses were my love, my dream, my passion, like Roger’s singing, and I was almost killed by one. The implications abound.

I didn’t even remember this incident until about 9 years ago, when I had a brain scan and the markers for severe head trauma were present. I began working through this trauma a little over two years ago, physically, emotionally, energetically. It’s been a road, including BPPV (vertigo), cervicogenic dizziness, fatigue, tinnitus, neck and back pain, MTBI symptoms, lots of physical therapy, doctors, and PTSD. Not 11 flashbacks in the span of an hour, like poor Roger, but weekly, and sometimes daily. 

I am doing much better now, thank God. It’s been a very difficult time for me, and my family, to be honest.

I was just sailing though, putting that all behind me, until good old Episode 508 checked in to see just where things stand. It’s made me feel and look at the grief, mostly, that goes with having a lifelong, buried trauma, that you’ve carried alone, since childhood. And, it recalled the not so distant PTSD: unexpected, terrifying flashes.

As Sher of AB-Ootlanders wrote in her poignant piece about this episode:

“We also must be honest, as shown in this episode. Grief is not reserved for the dead. We grieve people we lose that have not died but are no longer in our life, whether that is by our choice or theirs. We grieve parts of ourselves that we have lost, due to trauma or illness. Grief changes who we are and that is o.k.

Even though grief is something nearly everyone in this world has in common, it is as unique as each person and the relationship they have with the person/piece of them who/that has died. There may be ‘stages’ of grief but none of us walk them the same or follow the path the way it may be expected.  We may think we know how someone feels but we can’t, not genuinely. We can empathize with their pain but knowing it would mean we know every corner of their heart/mind and that is impossible. Allowing someone their personal grief journey is a gift. Grief heals.”

An individual’s journey through trauma, is just as unique, and it is a solitary path. 

I appreciate this work, Outlander, She who writes it, and leads this community, the show, and all those whose work goes into creating it. I appreciate the community of people who share a love of Outlander and show up to write about it, discuss it, share, and grow from it. 

Everyone who is alive experiences trauma, loss, and grief, as part of life, (especially right now). My heart goes out to you – without knowing every corner of your heart and mind – may we find our healing, and peace, and as Diana says, may we each bloom again. Claire says time heals all wounds, and it’s probably true, but love helps, that much I know. Self love, and the love of others – giving, and receiving. A connection with the Divine. A community of caring souls. 

I will get our 508 Episode Discussion out as soon as I can. I thank you for your patience, while I work with myself, as I work with it. xo

 

 

Go here, to see my recent interview with Graham McTavish.

For our Season 5 Episode discussion, catch up here: Episode Discussions

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16 comments on “Episode 508, My Thoughts

  1. Much love to you, Courtney, and hugs if I could! It’s been a treat to have the discussions come out so quickly (and enjoyably) this season, but no rush! You are incredibly generous with your time and spirit, which is greatly appreciated. I wish you balm for your pain and the least rocky path possible to peace. 💌 🧡 Diane

  2. I too had a visceral reaction to 508…and hated it upon first viewing. I made myself watch again and again and I have come to appreciate the structure of the episode… I was incredibly grateful we didn’t see Roger’s hanging in 507 and then…over and over again…just so difficult. I am one that believes in past lives and I am certain I hung at some point (perhaps as a witch)…as well as had bound feet…thus the visceral reaction (I think). Bless you, dear Court for your grace and clarity of your process…you are a gift to us…I certainly know you are to me. Much love, my friend.

  3. Dear Courtney,
    Fortunately I’ve never had great physical trauma. Unfortunately, emotionally I’ve been slapped upside of the head twice! In 1975 my mother died and my husband left me. I have never fully “recovered” from her death. Twenty-nine years later my father died and my second husband left!
    After both events, the stages of mourning never came in exact order. They still reoccur when I don’t expect them. It’s unnerving and frustrating because I hate when it happens. You’d think I’d get over it! Well I haven’t!!! It’s really a pain in the ass, sometimes!! However, the frequency has lessened and the pain is not as intense.
    Jamie’s whip lashes were bloody and to the bone in some places. Twenty years later some were silver strips across his back.
    We carry our scars with us and we form and heal around them, as a tree grows toward sunlight.
    Take as much time as you need to heal and follow the sun. Your family, friends and your Outlander crazies are here if you need us. 😘🌞🌻

  4. Oh my Courtney- I am right beside you. I also am working through PTSD. I was assaulted by a patient at work leaving me with a head injury about 10 years ago. So much life has left me due to the attack but I have also learned so much about myself during my healing process. BUT…….

    I was not prepared for 508. There was no disclaimer re: PTSD.
    I couldn’t handle it. The flash back sequences triggered my brain and I sat on my couch panicking, weeping, shaking. The trigger left me feeling numb and absent of emotion. Nausea and sleeplessness sat beside me as bedfellows for days.
    So, yes. It was a very, very well portrayed episode- everything was incredible (after watching it a second time and being able to skip through Roger’s flashbacks).
    And, no. I won’t be watching it again.
    ❤️My heart travels with you through your healing journey❤️

  5. Thank you for sharing this deeply moving response.
    How blessed we are to have your insights.
    Love ❤️❤️ And {{{HUGS}}}

  6. U poor thing. Takeur time take care of yourself. I just love u ladies and ur overview. Indepth and great comments.
    Whenever you can post the review I would love to see it.
    Thank u
    Alicia

  7. Courtney- thank you for your clear and present writing. You have a gift of exceptional expression. I find writing is truly healing and from it comes understanding, wisdom and compassion first for yourself and then for those you love. To think mere television can provoke such strong earthquakes in our lives- leaves me once more, in awe of this work of art we call Outlander. I too disliked this episode, have had a life of losses specialized into knowing grief personally, worked hard and can say in my sixties, have a life I am deeply satisfied with. This episode brings me back to my twenties, when it was all fresh. And not just Roger, but Jaime, and Ian…and Claire. It was a necessary sadness, paralysis that gave way to the good, lives renewed…rededicated to love. That’s what it’s ever about. Take your time. I love the rehash- but this community has taught me to look out for our own too. I hope I meet you someday. You are an incredible spirit. No Ned to post this. It’s just for you.

  8. Oh Wow. I went looking for your discussion of 508 and was hit in the face with your frank response to Roger’s trauma and flashbacks in the episode. I was uncomfortable with the episode but not traumatized. Glad you are taking care of yourself. Sending love.

  9. “Claire says time heals all wounds, and it’s probably true, but love helps, that much I know. Self love, and the love of others – giving, and receiving. A connection with the Divine. A community of caring souls. “ Beautiful words, Courtney. Time certainly helps the grieving process but to heal we need to step through every phase of grief to come out the other side. When memories stop me from sleeping at night I envision God’s hand outstretched and I crawl up into it, let go and finally sleep. Love overcomes the darkness. Thank you for sharing your gift of words with us. You are helping others. 💕🙏

  10. Dear Courtney. I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through. Please give yourself as much time as you need and feel the love we are all sending your way. Your generosity in sharing the Outlander experiences enhances our lives. Thank you for thinking highly enough of us to share your personal story. May God bless and comfort you as you heal. XOXO

  11. I think we all brought our own experience of suffering to the table after witnessing what Roger went through (and seeing the unexplained pain in young Ian’s depression) but I know you have articulated your own emotional and physical trauma so well here. I hope the discussion with our favorite ladies was therapeutic in some ways as they and you are the best. Blessings to you Courtney!

    Emily

  12. Dear Courtney, I got online looking for you as I realized I’d not seen a tweet from you during one of my brief twitter peeks. While reading, I was thinking that one would not know what you’re surviving and healing from, as you’re always so sweet and upbeat. ❤️ Ive been at the side of a friend here, in MN, who is recovering from a recent a TBI dx, stemming from an older injury. I’m glad you’ve got your friends, family, dogs, and sense of humor. 😊 And you have us, your Twitter friends and devotees. I look forward to the discussions, but those don’t have to be on a schedule. But it’s always time to take care of yourself, yes? Sending lots of love and light your way, Courtney. ❤️🤗🦋🙏🏼☮️🎶

  13. I came on here because I was looking for you, to see if you were alright, because I sensed something wrong. Call it intuition, but I needed to check up on you. This was beautifully written inasmuch as you needed to let us know what you have and are still going through. You so eloquently laid it out and explained how this episode traumatized you. It was a hard one for all of us to watch, but even more so for you. Thank you for your honesty and for deciding to share your innermost terrors amongst people who care for you. This horrible pandemic is a very frightening time for all of us, take care my Outlander friends 💗

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