Military & Mental Health: One Veteran’s Battle with Schizophrenia

baf3c5_66c024ec522f4443ab7db2d809b518eb.gif_srz_882_346_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_gif_srzWith Veterans Day upon us, I’ve decided to interview my friend, Jonathan Looper.  Jonathan wrote and is co-starring in the movie Light Wounds.  Coming soon, the feature film tells the story of Jonathan’s childhood friend, Dustin, a veteran with schizophrenia, who wanted to share his story with the world.  The film, directed by Max Leonida, is co-produced by Vadim Dardagani, Jonathan Looper and Executive Producer Franco Sama.  According to NAMI, 100,000 veterans have sought help for mental illness since the start of the war in Afghanistan in 2001.  Some 8,000 VA veterans are thought to die by suicide each year.  In a world where it’s hard to talk about mental illnesses afflicting veterans (ranging from depression to PTSI, post-traumatic stress injury), Light Wounds is helping change the narrative.

 My Interview With Jonathan Looper

Jessica:  Where did you go to school?

Jonathan:  I graduated with my Bachelors from Georgetown University and received my MFA from the New York Film Academy (Universal Studios campus).

Jessica:  What motivated you to make this movie?

Jonathan:   In March of 2012, a childhood friend from my home state of Oklahoma reached out to me on Facebook.  We met up to talk when I visited Oklahoma that spring.  During our first meeting, he opened about a part of his life that I didn’t know about since I had moved away after high school – he entered the Air Force and left the military to take care of his mom who was undergoing cancer treatment – and eventually he asked me, “Did you hear that I’m schizophrenic?”  Near the end of our conversation, he told me that he wished he was a writer so that he could share his
experience to help others who might be going through similar
circumstances and I asked him if he would be interested in sharing his story through a film.

My friend has since shared how this film has helped him feel that
something good had come out of this battle he had.  But this film also
made me realize my passion in film, especially in its capacity to
change hearts, minds and lives.  I hope the story of this film can
reach and inspire people in the way it has inspired me.

Jessica:  What is the basic plot of the movie (no spoilers)?

Jonathan:  It is a young veteran’s struggle for understanding and to readjust into society when it seems he is losing everything in his life – his family, friends, mentors, even himself.

Jessica:  What symptoms of schizophrenia are shown in your movie?

Jonathan:  There are certainly the elements of hallucinations, delusions and paranoia, but these are mixed with a deeper search for meaning in it all and how those symptoms will trick you into looking for meaning in the wrong places, eventually resulting in a fast, downward spiral.  For my friend and in the film, that downward spiral is fast and sudden, the worst of it taking place in a matter of a few weeks.

Jessica:  How can I be a good friend to someone who has schizophrenia?

Jonathan:  Listen with an open mind and understand that they want to understand themselves as much as you want to understand them.  If something they say throws you or seems “out there,” think of anytime you’ve gone through something in your life that didn’t make sense and, I bet, you tried to make sense of or justify it even if there was no apparent reason for it.

 Jessica:  What is the message you want viewers to take away from the feature film, Light Wounds?

Jonathan:  The main message is that things aren’t
always what they seem. What we see on the outside is often a
distortion and sometimes a disguise of something deeper. This doesn’t just apply to the main character while he battles schizophrenia; his family and friends willingly put on a disguise to avoid addressing what is deeper, until a crisis brings out their true natures.

 How To Support Light Wounds

Jonathan said “the best way to support right now is to share with family and friends on Facebook, Twitter and social media and to join the mailing list at www.lightwoundsmovie.com for production updates and exclusive announcements and releases.”  (Anyone who is interested in a corporate sponsorship, opportunities can email
info@lightwoundsmovie.com.)

Follow Light Wounds 

www.lightwoundsmovie.com
https://www.facebook.com/lightwoundsmovie;
https://twitter.com/LightWounds

 Trailer

http://youtu.be/9EmujtCl9_4

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno

imagesUntil my next post, I’ll see you on Facebook where you can connect with other Fashionably ill readers.  Like us at: https://www.facebook.com/fashionablyill

JessicaGimeno

Hi, I have five illnesses--bipolar disorder, myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular autoimmune disease), polycystic ovarian syndrome, asthma, and psoriasis. Most of the organs in my body are affected. I'm dedicated to being a stylist for sick women. As someone who has experienced changes in my appearance due to my 12 meds (including Prednisone), I know how hard it can be when your face and body change overnight. (In fact, because of treatment, between 2008 to 2010, I went from a size 0 to a size 10. While I lost the weight, there are permanent changes in my face and body, which I've grown to appreciate.) My blog will also help women deal with other issues like surviving chronic pain and fatigue. Healthy people can also use this blog as a window into what life with illness is like. Let this website be a place where we can draw strength from each other despite our illnesses and find solutions to our everyday challenges!

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