Joanne Froggatt has revealed she was shocked to discover the reality of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as she researched it for her new film In Our Name.
The Downton Abbey star plays Suzy, a soldier coping with post-traumatic stress and readjusting to being a mother after serving in Iraq, and visited Combat Stress, a charity for victims of PTSD to research the role.
Joanne revealed: "Little bits kept coming up that really stuck with me and you just realise the enormity of it.
"One of the symptoms is you feel quite closed off from your emotions and you can't really connect with your feelings. And one of the sufferers that I spoke to said you're always acting, and you're always acting who you are. Because you remember the way you used to behave and you know the way you're supposed to behave with your loved ones and everything else, so hopefully they don't notice the difference. But you don't actually feel it, so you just go through the motions of all those things you used to do.
"And he said he'd never truly laughed with his wife for 15 years, not truly and I thought 'God that is so sad'."
Joanne said she hoped the film would highlight the problem, and she said writer-director Brian Welsh's open ending to the film aimed to make audiences think.
She said: "In reality it's not something that just goes away overnight, it's something some people can learn to deal with.
"I think Brian wanted to leave that with the audience and say what does happen next for our soldiers and how have we got a responsibility in that?"
:: In Our Name is released in cinemas and on Curzon On Demand at www.curzoncinemas.com on Friday December 10.