by Marie Brenner, Vanity Fair, August 2012
Two close friends encouraged her to get counseling, and she sought treatment at a military hospital by someone who understood PTSD. “When I look at you,” one doctor told her, “no soldier has seen as much combat as you have.” Sean Ryan recalled a lunch with her at about that time: “Marie gripped the table and said, ‘Sean, I have PTSD. I am going to hospital to be treated.’ ” She seemed relieved by the specific diagnosis. According to Rosie Boycott, “While the PTSD was absolutely true, it was as well for Marie a way she did not have to confront her drinking.” Bishop begged Colvin to stop; she refused.
For years in England, with its high tolerance of alcoholism and its reluctance to force confrontation, Colvin’s friends and editors often resorted to evasion—Marie is feeling fragile. Marie does not sound like herself. When they tried to intervene, she would tell them, “I have no intention of not drinking. I never drink when I am covering a war.” Her attempts to find help were always short-lived.
She would wake up drenched in sweat. The desperate reel of horrors that played over and over in her mind kept returning to the refugee camp in Beirut, where she saw the 22-year-old Palestinian woman lying in a heap with half her head blown off. As recently as last year, Colvin was staying with her nieces and nephews in East Norwich when the doorbell suddenly awakened her. The next morning Rosemarie discovered that Marie had gotten up and put a knife in her sleeping bag. When Rosemarie mentioned it, Marie said, “Oh, that,” and changed the subject.