Supporting A Loved One With Mental Health

If you know someone living with mental health, you don’t have to feel your obliged to say something to help them feel better right away (recovery, like most achievements and goals, don’t happen over night). And it’s okay if you don’t know anything on mental illness and how to help them deal with it. Just you coming as you are (because they too are coming as they are especially as they are revealing their mental illness to you), showing up and comforting them is all they need right now.

Superheroes and Mental Health

I Love Superheros

Yes… I made a big ol’ picture depicting how much I love superheroes. They are so cool! I mean they have their own individual superpowers and they fight to save those they love

I love watching superhero movies and tv shows! I mean like, I currently I am watching “Gotham”, “The Flash”, “Supergirl”, “Arrow,” and “Legends of Tomorrow”. My favorite superhero is Batman. I own a bunch of comic books (as well as manga). I am definitely looking to watch “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2”, “Wonder Woman”, “Justice League”, “Thor Ragnarok”, “Spiderman: Homecoming” and of course… “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”.

As a child growing up in a domestic violent household, seeing violence day by day made me  feel small , hopeless and hopeless. No matter how many times I mediated my parent fights, no matter how many times I closed the door to my room to block out the arguing, the screaming and fighting, I still felt insignificant and that my life was meaningless. But…whenever I watched superheroes on tv, there were big and powerful. They used their powers to defeat evil and deflect harm away their neighboring communities and the people they loved. But you know what what really amazed me? They didn’t allow their weakness to hold them back.

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I mean, for example, Superman despite knowing Lex Luthor would wear Kyrptonite to defeat him, he would still go toe to toe against Lex. Or another example, Batman despite have no superpowers, utilizes his personal resources to protect Gothamites from the villains that hope to overpower them.

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Superheroes, whether the grew up in humble beginnings or affluent backgrounds, showed that grief, tragedy can happen to anyone. But do you know what people can also choose can let to happen to them? The choices they make. Do they choose to rise above the pain? Or do they allow it to pummel them? If you have read and/or watched any sort of superhero and even supervillain, you’ve seen it happen. Again using Batman as an example, although he is still tormented by the loss of his parents from a young age, he still continues to protect the city and people he loves. Yes, from time to time that pain haunts him, but he recovers from that pain everytime. Sometimes I feel that the loss of his parents takes a harder it on him than all the bad guys he’s ever faced! It kinda reminds me of this old African proverb:

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”

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“I am vengeance. I am the night. I…Am..Batman!”

Recovery from his past hurts prevents him from taking harder hits—especially emotionally and psychology—physically from his enemies.  I mean, we’ve all been in a place where past hurts + current circumstances = major damage to our overall well-being. However, the real challenge beings when we ask ourselves will we allow that pain to continue to make us victims? Or…will we become victors?

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If the pain should knock you—as so to speak—does that mean there is no point from rising again? Or do we get up anyway and continue to fight?

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Yes, the world of superheros and villains only exist in our comic books, movies, video games and cartoon shows, but the human struggle of overcoming loss, heartache, disappointment and shame is very much real in this world. I have been made up fun of growing up, because of this statement, but where else have authors and comic writers got the ideas for most famous heroes and most infamous villains? Their butts? No.  Simply these fictional characters embody human strength and struggle. That’s why in addition  to readers and viewers admiring superheros and their powers, they can also identify with, for example, being different or being from a foreign land (*coughs Trump Administration*).

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Senator Kelly in X-Men #58

I think such human experiences caught on comic books are reason why they still exist and why they continue to thrive. Heck…that’s why I read comic books.

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Below are websites that use comic book heroes to help better explain mental illness and bring about mental health awareness. Click on the sites below for more information:

Resources

Pop Culture Hero Coalition

Superhero Therapy: Psychologist, Scientist, Writer, and Geek

The Arkham Sessions

Under the Mask: A Deeper Look At Heroes and Villains

For More Information:

Comicspedia: The Intersection of Comic Books and Clinical Psych

Geek Therapy: Episode 40: Stories Can Be Healing

What Is Superhero Therapy?