Patricia Heaton knows a thing or two about playing a medical professional. Her first break in Los Angeles was playing a doctor on Thirtysomething, and now she’s taking on the role of a VA doctor in Mending the Line with Brian Cox and Sinqua Walls.
Walls plays a Marine traumatized by the loss of his unit, and after returning stateside has trouble transitioning back into society, thanks to post-traumatic stress disorder. Cue Brian Cox, who plays an equally damaged vet who shows Walls the healing power of nature through fly-fishing, a sport recognized as positive and impactful therapy for military veterans with PTSD.
“There’s something very meditative about it,” Heaton tells ABC Audio “The sound of the water … visually what it looks like. It being in the quiet of nature … it takes a lot of concentration to fly fish, and patience and humility.”
June is PTSD Awareness Month, and Heaton thinks it’s the perfect time for everyone to look at their own mental health and not let personal fears get in the way of healing. “I think that people are afraid that the trauma that they’re sitting on … if they expose it, will be bottomless,” she says. “That they won’t be able to ever come back from it.”
Heaton speaks from experience, having lost her mother at a young age. But she says there’s strength in numbers when it comes to living fully again. “Sometimes it’s messy and ugly-looking and you’re sticking your head in a towel and sobbing so nobody will hear you … but that’s OK,” she says. “And you will find other people who understand what you’re going through and be beside you as you go on that journey.”
Mending the Line is in theaters now.
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