Sometimes it's easy to forget the stars of reality television are normal people thrust into unfamiliar settings, not professional actors who know what they're in for. They're normal people thrust into new settings, who are essentially playing a game. For Big Brother contestant Megan Lowder, the game became all too real. As reported by US Weekly and The Desert Sun, Lowder left Big Brother 19 due to her PTSD, which she has suffered from since her time in the Navy. CBS released the following statement to Bustle: “Due to a personal matter, Big Brother houseguest Megan Lowder had to leave the house unexpectedly on Tuesday. Her departure from the show will be addressed on the episode to be broadcast on Sunday, July 2.”
While it can't be easy to discuss such private details, the 28-year-old's candidness is commendable, and could even help others who cope with post traumatic stress disorder symptoms by starting a conversation about the condition.
Lowder explained to The Desert Sun how her PTSD affected her house stay.
"When I was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, I was sexually assaulted and I got really bad PTSD from it. So in the house... I had a lot of guys yelling at me and attacking me and it started really affecting me and making my anxiety severe and I was starting to get physically ill."
According to The Desert Sun, Lowder reportedly experienced a panic attack after being verbally attacked on the show by another contestant. She told the newspaper that she experienced other symptoms associated with PTSD as well, including nausea. According to Nebraska Department of Veterans' Affairs, 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD in their lifetime, and women are nearly twice as likely to experience the condition to men.
It's clear from Lowder's bio that she was excited to be a part of the show. However, there's no way she could have known she would encounter triggers she couldn't handle during her time in the house. What's important is that she put herself first when her PTSD began to affect her. The sad truth is, far too many people are afraid to seek help for mental health issues due to the stigmas associated with them.
In her Desert Sun interview, she explained:
"It was my own issues that lead to everything, it wasn’t anyone else's fault. Without my stuff going on I probably could have handled things very, very differently and been fine but I just couldn't."
Big Brother, like many other reality shows, is all about removing people from their comfort zones. While this can be immensely entertaining for viewers, and a fun experience for many of the contestants, it's not an environment everyone is going to be comfortable in. Lowder removed herself from the situation because she believes it's what's best for her health, and that's something we can all get behind.