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So We Weren't Going to Talk About Season 2 of 'Bridgerton's' Beautifully Realistic Portrayal of PTSD?

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Editor's Note

This is a recap for “Bridgerton,” Season 2 Episode 3. There will be spoilers beyond this point. Please proceed with caution (because we don’t want to be the ones who spoil you!)

With news of the third season of the hit Netflix series “Bridgerton,” based off the books by Julia Quinn focusing on Colin Bridgerton and Penelope’s story, I have to ask — why haven’t we spoken about that brilliantly painful and realistic portrayal of what it’s like to live with anxiety after a traumatic event from season two?

• What is PTSD?

If you don’t want spoilers for season two of “Bridgerton,” you may not want to read beyond this point. You’ve been warned.

Season two focused on Anthony Bridgerton’s enemies to lovers story with Kate Sharma. Around the middle of the season, we learn how Anthony’s father died. When Anthony was on a hunting expedition as a young boy, his dad got stung by a bee in the neck. Unknowingly allergic to bee venom, his throat closed and he died almost immediately, leaving Anthony, only a teenager, as the new Viscount of the family. He watched his father die, and that event changed his life forever.

Fast-forward to the present, Kate is out in the gardens with Anthony, as he explains why he didn’t propose to her younger sister the night before. The two get into an argument over Edwina, the younger sister, when a bee lands on her collar. Immediately, he starts panicking. Not knowing the reason for his reaction, she swats at the bee causing it to land on her skin and sting her. 

Eyes wide, he questions her rapidly. “Are you hurt?” In a panic attack, he starts hyperventilating, afraid that she’s going to lose her life.  She sees the terror in his eyes, and immediately does a co-regulation grounding technique where she (the regulated individual) puts a hand over his chest after placing his on her own. She helps ground him out, before they basically almost kiss because it is still a period romance drama with the lovely “will they won’t they,” back and forth dynamic.

See for yourself:

As someone who lives with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) due to death, I understood every emotion and perceived thought that he showed. I’ve seen different portrayals of PTSD in the media, but never one as poignant as this. I know what it’s like to feel like the world is simultaneously stopping and speeding up, while it appears that the same thing that destroyed you is about to happen again. How your heartbeat quickens and your throat feels like it’s closing. Your fingertips go numb and sometimes you can barely even find words. That’s what I saw in this scene. I saw me in Anthony Bridgerton. 

What blows me away about this scene is how Kate supported him through it. She had no idea why he was acting like that, but she stood by the whole time. She helped him breathe. She reaffirmed him that she was OK. She didn’t press, guilt, or gaslight him. She didn’t need to know what was wrong to know that he needed her, and it’s a lesson for anyone helping someone through a panic attack due to C-PTSD.

“Bridgerton” in season one covered the impacts of child abuse and how that can lead to an adult’s decisions on whether they want a family or not. In season two, they showed a different realm of mental health and how devastating grief and loss can be, and how it can impact so many variables from that. They didn’t have to show this panic attack moment, but they did and oh what a moment it was.

Thank you “Bridgerton,” for this scene, and I really hope we get more emotionally and mentally healthy scenes like this moving forward into next season.

Lead image from Still Watching Netflix’s YouTube channel

Originally published: May 19, 2022
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