As an individual walks through the winding path of life, he will encounter many bridges that must be crossed; it is these experiences that forever shape his existence. What waits for him on the other side of these bridges he does not know. What waits on the other is unpredictable, depending on how he has crossed other bridges in the past. Some experiences can be good and some horrible. The reactions to these experiences can be extremely demanding for some. "Good" experiences usually result in a pleasant effect, but bad or horrible experience has more erratic effects that are potentially devastating. Some situations like rape, murder, death of loved ones are difficult bridges to cross; if a person crosses such a bridge their life can been changed forever, if they actually do cross it. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder caused directly by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, like rape and death.
It is a severe anxiety reaction to a traumatic event that occurs outside the range of usual human experiences. In the books Prince of Tides and The Sweet Hereafter, a traumatic event occurs and results in the contracting of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the main characters. The three typical responses that the characters exhibit of PTSD are repression, depression and isolation. Repression is a symptom of PTSD psychology, which one will exclude (painful memories, for example) from the conscious mind.
Dolores Driscoll was the bus driver for 34 children in her town of Sam Dent, New York until she lost control of her bus, which rolled down the hill onto a partially frozen lake, drowning all but 5 children on the bus, along with herself. We as readers know and understand that Dolores is suffering from PTSD because she exhibits many common symptoms.