March 1st, 2012

Two Questions: PTSD to an observer and "kind" ways to kill someone

Setting: Present day USA (for both scenarios)

QUESTION #1
What does PTSD look like to an observer?

My MC is triggered and has a massive flashback (a year earlier she was held captive, tortured and nearly died.) Her friend is with her and what I'd like to know is what would he see? He has never been with her when she had a flashback, beforehand. He does, however, suspect that she still struggles a lot with her trauma.

They are is a work situation, so would she just shut down? Would she answer his questions when he gets concerned? Would there be visible physical symptoms? I'd appreciate a personal perpective, too, if any of you have supported friends or family with PTSD.

Already looked at: community tags for PTSD, googled PTSD symptoms, googled family ptsd

QUESTION #2

Most merciful way to kill someone with only their hands and/or a knife?

My MC is going to kill another character but she definitely isn't motivated by causing him pain. She's no psychopath and this a very difficult for her. Her initial opportunity to kill him is with a knife in the abdomen, but he doesn't die immediately. How can she end his suffering quickly?

SHe has law enforcement training, possibly some military training, and she is also in good physical condition. I considered her cutting the carotid artery, but that's pretty messy and seeing as this is already difficult for her I don't know if she'd be able to do it.

I figure smothering is pretty awful (learned all about air hunger) for the victim, even if it would hasten death. In researching hunting, I know people will snap a rabbits neck but I also found out that a severed human spinal chord still doesn't cause immediate death. Drugs and guns are out because they are not available to her in this situation. Any other ideas?

Googled things that will likely get me someone's suspect list: severed spinal cord, animal euthanization, hunting methods, suffocation, choking, quick deaths, methods of capital punishment

[MOD POST] Tags!

I've been working on the tags. They are now mostly organized, except for things labeled as needing to be (that's what all those "retaggedFOO" are).

The three tags that I want to point out are:

#nocategory - for questions that don't fit in any of the current tags
#mistagged - for questions you think are mistagged
#unanswered - for questions that fail to get an answer

I have to make a post with these before anyone can use them. So here you go.

As always, tagging your own posts is helpful but not required.