Last year for Mental Illness Awareness Month I mentioned how I was a sufferer of PTSD. This year, I’m going to cover the new Netflix series “Anne with an E” and how Anne suffers from PTSD and the parallels that connect to me.
I was around four or five when I first watched Anne of Green Gables (the 1985 Miniseries) and six when I first visited Prince Edward Island. I grew up loving Anne because of her imagination so much like mine, her huge vocabulary that she used at every opportunity—that I understood only because I was an avid reader and had studied the dictionary when I was very little, and her ability to overcome anything that came her way.
However…when I started reading the books when I was fourteen—as part of my curriculum as a homeschooled child—I grew more attached to her. The things that were left unsaid in her stories, how she would end up staring when things upset her, her temper that made her fly off the handle, and her fear of loving. I realized even at fourteen that Anne was more like me than I could ever imagine.
Whereas Anne was an orphan with no family to love her and being told that she was unwanted until the Cuthberts took her in. I grew up with what appeared to be a normal Christian family. Mother, father, brother, and me, the youngest of two siblings. No one knew. Everyone just thought that I was the odd one out of the family. No one believed that I had been abused—by the maternal parent—to the point of using my imagination like Anne.
After reading the books, the Miniseries had no appeal to me anymore. They pretty much skimmed over everything that had been unsaid in the books. Saying that Anne was the way she was because she’s Anne. It didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy Anne of Green Gables, it’s just that Book Anne was far more relatable to me as opposed to 1985 Anne.
Anne would always complain about how she was plain and ugly and homely. I felt like I was all of those things. Because I had been told those things. Which means that Anne was most likely told all of those things as well.
Another thing about the books is that Mental Illnesses weren’t really diagnosed in 1908. And if you had really bad ones you were sent to an asylum. Anne was suffering and healing her PTSD by herself! That’s not to mention that Matthew Cuthbert seemed to have some severe Social Anxiety. Anne said that he was extremely shy.
What I noticed is that Matthew rarely talked to even his sister. And didn’t really start opening up until he met Anne. Marilla, because of her loss of family and Matthew barely talking to her, started growing colder. Until Anne. While Matthew said that maybe they could help Anne, Anne was helping them too. In ways that the siblings never expected.
I never expected to fall in love with a movie or show Anne ever again. Meghan Follows did an amazing job as Anne in the miniseries. And the other Anne of Green Gables movies were…eh at best. I wasn’t expecting Amybeth McNulty in Anne with an E (or just Anne in other parts of the world) to become an amazing Anne. I wasn’t expecting the Netflix series to cover the things that I caught in the books. And I certainly wasn’t expecting a really excellent portrayal of PTSD and Social Anxiety. Complete with flashbacks—that comes hand in hand with PTSD—the inability to hear when you’re having an attack, and the hopelessness you feel when you feel unwanted.
All in all I give Anne with an E five stars. The characters feel more real than they did in the miniseries. They kept rather close to the books. And they gave Anne a little bit more depth of character.
Keep on writing dudes! And don’t forget to be awesome.