Previously on another topic I mentioned how it was a MIRACLE the CREWS didn't have PTSD due to all of the crap that they go through. So a search was done to see if one could find anything regarding this ISSUE, and this is what one found about MILES O'BRIEN or the CHIEF being the one who has the WORSE case of it:
If there was any Character on Star Trek that suffered from PTSD or at least hinted at having Psychological difficulties it is Chief O’Brien.
The writers intentionally wrote episodes where “O’Brien Must Suffer” its kind of a meme now .
In the episode The Wounded, from Star Trek The Next Generation, Chief Miles O'Brien talks to a Cardassian about why he seems to hate them. What he describes is a classic, tragic root of PTSD becoming a killer
The Chief was a veteran of the Federation Cardassian War . He served on Setlik III and killed for the fist time when a refugee threw him a phaser as Cardassian soldiers were breaking down the door. Turns out it was set to full and the guy just disintegrated. It's obviously something that bothered the hell out of him for a while.
Star Trek TNG - O'Brien's PTSD
"It's not you I hate, Cardassian; I hate what I became because of you"
Those are some of the most powerful words ever spoken on Star Trek .
Even among the huge range of experiences of Starfleet characters, O’Brien’s resume is unique – as evidenced by the “O’Brien Must Suffer” trope of Star Trek. He has experienced a significant amount of combat (we are told he has 200-ish combat incidents and has written, I believe, 11 farewell letters to his family on the eve of dangerous missions). It’s worth noting here that, compared to O’Brien, Worf is a green recruit, a holodeck warrior and a somewhat of a wannabe. I always thought it was unfortunate that O’Brien was not better recognised as the real fighter on DS9.
To expand on the “O’Brien Must Suffer” theme: Just in DS9: He’s been kidnapped and put on trial by Cardassians, served a complete 20 year prison term in near-solitary confinement, came close to attempting suicide, has a lot of stress in his marriage, 2 children to worry about, had his in-utero fetus transferred from his wife to another woman in an accident, has had his wife taken over by evil aliens, has been in several battles… and the list goes on.
Star Trek : O'Brien wants to commit suicide
It’s implausible that O’Brien could not have some sort of mental health challenges after all of that. I find it very plausible that his dedication to engineering, and especially his almost loving dedication to the station and the even the station’s computer, are probably important coping mechanisms which provide him value, self-worth, routine, intellectual challenge and meaning. That he is one of the few characters in all of Star Trek to sustain a marriage and raise his children suggests that he is successful at managing his history, stress and the demands of a Starfleet career.
When he suffered from PTSD after his prison term, work was all he wanted to focus on, to the extent that he avoided therapy and become suicidal. He’s given medication by Bashir to help treat him, and commits to regular therapy – I suspect therapy and medication remain a part of his life, although they are never mentioned.
I’d also point out that O’Brien is the only character I can think of who is regularly shown drinking alcohol (or synth, whatever) both at home, in Ten Forward and at Quark’s. A lot of the “O’Brien at home” scenes show him with a beer, which always caught my eye because it’s so rare to see** a Starfleet person explicitly drinking alone or drinking in their quarters. There’s also an episode where Bashir and O’Brien get drunk off of O’Brien’s personal stock of real alcohol. I can’t immediately think of another scene where Starfleet officers get drunk, but they must be rare. My point is that O’Brien also uses alcohol or synthehol to cope/destress, probably as part of his routine, as part of socialisation and (if real alcohol) to calm himself, and that he consumes alcohol/synth more often than normal in Starfleet.
I think showing O’Brien off duty with a beer in his hand is also part of the “Irish Working Man” trope that O’Brien is built around: he’s a good natured blue collar guy, does good honest work with his hands, has a wife and multiple kids he adores, works hard for them and he likes a beer at the end of the day, preferably at the local pub. He’d fit right in at that Irish holodeck village on Voyager.
Sigmund Freud is claimed to have said that the Irish were the only race impervious to psychoanalysis.
The Chief is Irish, misery suits us. Just kidding, but he seems to have a fairly grounded pathology, only once, in hard time, did he actually crack, and seemingly he recovered quickly. The Chief is thoughtful, decent, and accepting of the horrors he's lived through in life. The only things he can't deal well with are the times when his own ethical frame was compromised. Anything else he can shrug off, but that's his psychological red line, his breaking point. I think that says a lot about the man.
One of my favourite moments though is his rendition of "The Minstrel Boy" with Captain Maxwell when he goes rogue. It's kind of emotionally crushing when you take all of the back story in to account.
O'Brien was probably the most "hue mon" Character on the show the fact they made him suffer made him all the more relatable.
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