oc:s3

anonymous asked:

do you think sherlock has ptsd in s3? I always thought that hearing john's voice in that 'how I did it by Jack the Ripper' part seemed like a ptsd response

I am unsure. Let me clarify.

Warning: this is long and might be considered triggering for some. 


First off: what is PTSD? 

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such as major stress, sexual assault, warfare, or other threats on a person’s life. The diagnostic criteria for PTSD are:

  • Exposure to a stressful event or situation (either short or long lasting) of exceptionally threatening or catastrophic nature.
  • Persistent remembering or “reliving” the stressor by intrusive flash backs, vivid memories, recurring dreams, or by experiencing distress when exposed to circumstances resembling or associated with the stressor.
  • Actual or preferred avoidance of circumstances resembling or associated with the stressor.
  • Either (1) or (2):
  1. Inability to recall, either partially or completely, some important aspects of the period of exposure to the stressor
  2. Persistent symptoms of increased psychological sensitivity and arousal shown by any two of the following:
  • difficulty in falling or staying asleep
  • irritability or outbursts of anger
  • difficulty in concentrating
  • hyper-vigilance
  • exaggerated startle response.

When you look closely at this list, there are already several points which apply to Sherlock. 

  • Exposure to a stressful event or situation (either short or long lasting) of exceptionally threatening or catastrophic nature. 

This one is easy; Sherlock was tortured. He was beaten, deprived of his sleep, held by chains and verbally tormented. So that is a check in the box. 

  • Persistent remembering or “reliving” the stressor by intrusive flash backs, vivid memories, recurring dreams, or by experiencing distress when exposed to circumstances resembling or associated with the stressor.

We don’t know the answer to this one. We have no idea if Sherlock has flashbacks or nightmares or if he is triggered by certain sounds, smells or any other kind of sensory sensation.Question mark for that one. 

EDIT: Just realised that there is more than one stressor for Sherlock. How about Mary shooting him? He sees her in his mind palace, shooting him again, in her freaking wedding dress, when he tries to get to John. Of course that memory is still fresh, so there is no telling if that event will play a part in S4. 

  • Actual or preferred avoidance of circumstances resembling or associated with the stressor.

Now here it gets tricky. Personally, I agree with the statement that Sherlock is detached regarding what happened on the roof of St. Bart’s. We saw that he was visibly shaken from seeing Moriarty shooting himself in the head. We saw him cry. We saw him struggling with the fact that he had to say goodbye to John. When he relays these events to Anderson, that is gone. He is detached from it all. Flippant. ‘Look at me; wasn’t I clever?’. Of course, that can be contributed to the fact that it is Anderson he is talking to; he and Sherlock were never the best of pals and therefore they were not in the position to discuss the emotional stuff. 

But John… John doesn’t know. Yes, John knows Sherlock jumped for him, Greg and Mrs Hudson because there were snipers, but John doesn’t know what Sherlock went through those two years; John, no matter how difficult he might find it, will not keep quiet about it and try and talk to Sherlock about it, I believe. So I think it is safe to assume that John doesn’t know Sherlock was tortured at all. Sherlock hasn’t brought it up either. John tackled him to the ground and headbutted him and Sherlock did not give a peep, while earlier, in Mycroft’s office, he was visibly in pain. 

Ah, Mycroft. He tried to talk about it. ‘You got yourself in deep there with Baron Maupertius…’. Sherlock merely hummed in response. And that was it. Mycroft lets it go with an eye roll and a request for a sign of appreciation. Genuine, or a way to provide Sherlock which a change of subject? Knowing the Holmes brothers, we might never know. Let’s keep that as a question mark for now.

  • Inability to recall, either partially or completely, some important aspects of the period of exposure to the stressor.

Sherlock and not remembering anything. We know he has his system of deleting stuff from his ‘hard drive’ but somehow I don’t think he quite managed to delete that. So that is a no.

  • Persistent symptoms of increased psychological sensitivity and arousal shown by any two of the following:

Now here is where it gets really interesting. Take a look with me. 

  • difficulty in falling or staying asleep

‘You’re not usually awake.’ - Mrs Hudson, The Sign of Three. Nerves for the wedding? Or something else?

Sherlock also spent the night in a crack den - Janine’s comments in His Last Vow suggest that - either shooting up or already high. Not much rest there either I imagine. 

Other than that I don’t believe there is another hint at Sherlock’s sleeping patterns in S3.

  • irritability or outbursts of anger

Aha! There we are. Yes, Sherlock smiled more and seemed a bit softer around the edges, but by God, he was by no means a happy man in S3. He snarls at Mycroft in The Empty Hearse (’You sat there and watched me being beaten to a pulp!’) and he snaps at John in the train (’And a soldier, as you keep reminding us all’… ‘Why do think I know what to do?’… ‘I CAN’T!’). 

Not even to mention how he treats Mrs Hudson in The Sign of Three (’BISCUITS!’) and His Last Vow (’Then what exactly is the point of you?’). And what do you think about Mycroft’s and Sherlock’s psychical confrontation at Baker Street while Sherlock was high? True, that might be contributed to Sherlock’s substance abuse, but I’m putting it on there anyway. And have you seen Sherlock’s face in His Last Vow at Appledore?

That is a face of murder right there. So that is a definite yes right there. 

  • difficulty in concentrating

Everyone remember the speech in The Sign of Three? Yes? Good. No need to clarify then. A yes for that box.

  • hyper-vigilance

Haven’t seen that one explicitly come by. Feel free to point it out to me if you do. A no for now. 

  • exaggerated startle response.

I’m just gonna leave this here:

So, why then, I hear you ask, are you not sure? 

Because in the definition of PTSD, there is this little line: 

‘’… not present before exposure to the stressor…’’

And there is the clincher. Because Sherlock didn’t sleep well before The Reichenbach Fall. He was irritable and occasionally angry (The Hound of the Baskerville and A Study in Pink are shining examples of that). He was talking to John all the time when John wasn’t there with him so one can assume he heard John as well. Even saw him? 

Sherlock didn’t do sentiment and he didn’t care for feelings and emotions. He described himself as a sociopath, with the undertone that he was ‘above’ such things. 

We know the truth now. Sherlock did and does care. Deeply. 

Sherlock is S3 is softer, more emotional and sentimental and more vicious at the same time. But whether that is because he realises he is not alone in the world anymore (John, Mrs Hudson, Greg Lestrade, Molly, Mycroft) and allows himself to drop his sociopathic mask a bit, or is it PTSD? Are we starting to see the Sherlock that has been hiding in S1 and S2 or are we seeing a traumatised Sherlock? 

Maybe both?

Looking back on what I’ve just written, I think it is both.