By Kelly Dickey | The Herald Bulletin | November 11th, 2015
ANDERSON — It was grueling for Andrea Carlile to go back to some of her family’s darkest days. They were days filled with physical and emotional pain that resulted from her husband’s own invisible wounds.
But it was important for Carlile and her husband, Wes, to educate a new audience about the cloud that hovers over families because of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
The Anderson couple is one of three families featured in “When War Comes Home,” a documentary film about the effects of PTSD on military members and their loved ones.
“I had to be more in touch emotionally with the story because you’re being filmed, so you can’t go back,” Carlile said. “You almost have to go back to that moment, and that’s a little scary – a little painful – but I think it was therapeutic in the end when we got through it all.”
She first shared their family’s story in 2012 with her book, “The War That Came Home,” to show how PTSD affects military members’ spouses and children. The Carliles’ story was a tumultuous one that involved depression and domestic violence.
It eventually caught the attention of Emmy-award winning filmmaker Michael King, who contacted the family in September 2014 about participating in his documentary about the disorder’s effects.
Two weeks later, the director and his crew were in Anderson filming the family 12 hours a day for a week.
The crew filmed the Carliles everywhere, and they recorded voice-overs and re-enactments.
“So we had to be emotionally present, reliving these events, so it was tough,” Andrea Carlile said. “But when it was all done and over with – looking back – I’m so honored and proud to be a part of it because it’s going to be fantastic.”
King said it’s challenging to go into someone’s home who is suffering and get them to be open and honest. He hopes all of the families’ trust will shine a light on what so many people who return from war – and their loved ones – are going through.
“It’s a ripple effect, isn’t it?” he said. “The soldier understands the risks about going to war. But the children, they don’t understand the ramifications of war. The wives – the men they marry come back changed.
“There’s a cost everybody has to pay.”
About 7 to 8 percent of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives, according to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
But the rate increases for military members. According to the VA, about 11 to 20 percent of people who served in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have PTSD in a given year.
King said it’s vital to educate the public and to find better research tools to diagnose PTSD.
“We’re in the 21st century and we know very little about the brain,” he said. “Hopefully a film like this will educate.”
“When War Comes Home” is near completion, but it still needs funds, especially for marketing and to enter into film festivals.
Donations to help can be made by searching for “When War Comes Home” at documentary.org or by sending a check notating it with the film’s title to the International Documentary Association, 3470 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 980, Los Angeles, CA 90010.
An updated version of Carlile’s book with six new chapters is also available. She’ll be signing books at the Madison County Chamber of Commerce Wake Up Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Nov. 19 at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital.
Carlile said even now her family has good days and bad days, but she knows they’re not alone and she wants others to know that, too.
“This is going to show people what it is like to live on a day-to-day basis and really the struggles our vets are facing,” she said. “And (the film) might help get that much more help for them.”
Like Kelly Dickey on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @KellyD_THB, or call 640-4805.