Tag: Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings and Mental Health

Lord of the Rings and Mental Health

Image result for the lord of the rings trilogy
My favorite movie/trilogy of ALL time!

Just so you know I’m a HUGE Lord of the Rings movie fan! I say movie, ’cause I’ve read all three books and well…the trilogy series does a VERY good job at getting to the point of the plot of the series. So, yes I’ve read the books, including the Hobbit (never got to finish it, cuz my sister took from me right when the movie came out. Jerk. Never got that book back from her.) and the Silmarillion (which is amazeballs)!

Smeagol/ Gollum have always been made fun of as the creature who is coming off strong drugs or someone who is schizophrenic, but you know something? I think he represents people with any sort of mental illness, especially those battling with depression and/or anxiety when they perform tasks and/or relate with others. The scene with Smeagol/Gollum is a perfect example of this.

Gollum/ Smeagol: We wants it. We needs it. Must have the precioussss. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitsesss. Wicked, tricksssy, falssse! No! Not Master. Yes precious. False. They will cheat you, hut you, lie.

Smeagol: Master’s my friend.

Gollum (Taunting): You don’t have any friends. Nobody likes YOU..

Smeagol: Not listening. Not listening!

Gollum: You’re a liar and a thief.

Smeagol (Shaking his head): Nope.

Gollum (Whispers): Mur…derer…!

Smeagol (Starts to cry and whimper): Go way!

Gollum (Cackles): Go away??? Hahahahaha!

Smeagol (Cries, Whispering): I hate you…I hate you.

Gollum (Fiercely): Where would you be without me? Gollum, Gollum. I saved us. It was me. We survived because of me!

Smeagol (Resolute): Not anymore.

Gollum (Surprised): What did you say?

Smeagol: Master looks after us now. We don’t need you.

Gollum: What?

Smeagol: Leave now and never come back.

Gollum: No!!!

Smeagol (Louder) Leave now and never come back!

Gollum (Bares teeth, growling): Arghhhh!

Smeagol:  LEAVE NOW AND NEVER COME BACK.

Smeagol pants and looks around for Gollum

Smeagol: We…we told him to go away! And away he goes, preciousss. [Dances around, happily] Gone, gone, gone! Smeagol is free!

Lord of the Rings: Two Towers

Written by Frances Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair, and Peter Jackson, from the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien

Honestly, this scene reminds me of what goes on in my head when I encounter people, especially. I get this inner dialogue that goes on that doubts my ability to relate to others and/or for others to relate to me. Then there are days when I think I’ve pushed my anxiety aside and I’ve won…only to find out it’ll come back sometime later.

Anyways, enjoy this podcast. You will enjoy enjoy it!

Check out:

Superhero Therapy Podcast E17: Psychology of Lord of the Rings

A Precious Case from Middle Earth

Heroes of Middle Earth: J. Campbell’s Monomyth in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (1954-1955)

Man’s Search For Meaning

Othering and Diversity in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings

Iron Fist’s Danny Rand and Lei Kung: Masters of Pain

Introduction

Since, I have had this post on draft mode, I found out that the “Iron Fist” was canceled! Okay in my opinion…”Iron Fist”, isn’t THAT bad. I mean yeah, the story isn’t as strong as  “Daredevil”, “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” and now “The Punisher”, but it isn’t THAT bad. I’ve seen worse. The “Iron Fist” is about a guy named Danny Rand (played by Finn Jones) who inherits the powers of  the dragon, Shou-Lao, which helps him become the new “Iron Fist”,  from the legendary land of K’un-Lun. He comes to New York to reclaim Rand Enterprises after being assumed dead for 15 years after a plain crash that killed both of his parents.

Danny’s father, Wendell Rand
Danny’s mother, Heather Rand

When Danny returns, he tries to reconnect with his former life, mostly with his former relationships like his former friends,  Joy and Ward, the Meachum siblings (played by Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey) who also own part Rand Enterprises, who found it a little hard to believe that he returned from the dead. Speaking of returning from the dead, we find Harold Meachum, who was Danny’s father’s former partner, before he passed away from cancer and then being revived by the Hand. Now that Danny is trying to catch up with the times and his former life, he has been easily influenced by the Hand via Harold Meachum.

He looks very familiar…
If you said “Boromir”, then you would be correct! He played Boromir in LOTR: The Two Towers and Return of the King, played by David Wenham who played Harold Mechum as shown in the picture above
No…he’s not Denis Leary, though he kinda DOES look like him.

Since the loss of his parents and the acquirement of his new found powers…and the inheritance of his parents’ company, it seems that everyone has been trying to take the place of his “mentor”: The Hand (e.g. Madame Gao, Bakuto), Harold Meachum, and  Lei Kung…trying to mold him into their own making to fit their own intentions. Yes, I said Lei Kung. Sure he’s not the bad guy, but I have to say even he was trying hard to win him over.

Lei Kung, The Thunderer Champion of K’un-Lun

Many times in the show Danny, including during his flashbacks, especially after he was rescued by the devastating plane crash, he hasn’t been able to deal with his grief and has periodically what appears to be panic attacks especially whenever an airplane flies overhead.

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Danny when his mother told him she loved him, before the fatal crash

When he lived in K’un-lun, while Danny Rand was able to acquire the role of the “Iron Fist”, he never got a chance to grieve the loss of his parents, nor be able to process the trauma where he nearly lost his own life. His teacher, Lei Kung, put him under tremendous and intense training. This is not including dealing with harsh conditions of K’un-Lun like sleeping on a dirty mat and traveling a mile uphill to get daily rations of water each morning (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki, n.d.). However, I feel despite all the training Lei Kung put him under, the one thing that he didn’t teach Danny is how to overcome his pain.

Mental Health Support

In season 1 of “The Iron Fist” (including “The Defenders” and “Luke Cage”), Lei-Kung is often mentioned and been seen in a few scenes. He is the elder monk of the Order of the Crane Mother and the father of Danny’s best friend, Davos. It was believed that Danny was part of a prophecy, because of how his parent’s plane was on fire while it crashed in the sky. And I believe because of that, he has seen him a prize and as the potential protector of Kun-Lun, “The Iron Fist”. So him seeing still grieving over his parents seemed to be trivial:

I hear you crying at night in your room. Weeping over your parents and their loss. That grief is a weakness. Banish it. Reject or accept the darkness. It is your choice. Both are acceptable. But your choice reveal who we are.

Lei-Kung

Okay…this isn’t fair that Lei Kung is calling him “weak” just because he lost his parents. Well, yeah…it was a period of darkness for him. And this darkness wasn’t particularity a bad one. Why does remind me a movie….

Source: Sf-worlds.com

Ah, yes! Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Remember the part when the Jedi Counsel (mostly Mace Windu, Ki-Adi-Mundi, and Yoda talking to him) told a young Anakin Skywalker (who presence was also prophesied) to be mindful of his feelings of missing his mother will get the best of of him because well…as Yoda put it:

Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate.

But I feel that ironically… it was their “detached mentality” that kinda set Anakin to the Dark Side. Go figure.

Not all darkness is bad. There’s the darkness that is for evil and there’s the darkness that describes a person’s period of loss and grief, whatever they may be, whether it includes loss of health, the loss of a loved one, lost of a job, breakup…But in no way does having such feelings mean a person is “weak”.

Mental Health Affects ANYBODY

We find that even when Danny gains the power of “The Iron Fist”, the emptiness and grief still remains. Even with all the power and money in the world (the inheritance of Rand Enterprises) he is still sad. This goes to show that money and power is not everything if there is no love or even a time to grieve. I mean, a lot of people in the show (especially since they thought that Danny was dead) thought he looked like anyone else. This is why looking after our mental well-being. Mental health affects us no matter who you are.

Warts And All: Accepting Ourselves

At the entry to every door is the opportunity to choose a different path. If you wish to continue as you are, do not enter. But if you choose to face the dragon inside, know that you risk everything. Should you live…your former self will be destroyed. If you choose to take this up you will be forever marked as one of us. Are you willing to kills Danny Rand so that Iron Fist might live?

Lei Kung

Can’t Danny accept himself and his role as “The Iron Fist”?  If Danny wasn’t who he was, Kung would have chose his own son Davos wouldn’t he? (Then again in the second season we find out why, but that’s a post for another day) It’s just like in the real world when people want others to forsake themselves for their own purposes, forgetting that it was that person’s individuality that made them sought after in the first place.

I’m glad that Danny chose to accept himself and being the Iron Fist instead choosing between the two of them. Sometimes, people makes us feel we have give up a part of who we are if we are to succeed or acquire anything in life.  Or that you can’t get anything, because of who you are. This could include core values or like in  Danny’s case, an emotion that we are currently going through. Regardless which it is, we must face our “inner dragons” if we are are to manifest our own “hidden power”. If we don’t face whatever is causing anxiety within us, it can destroy us or our relationships, jobs, or our livelyhood.

Taking Precaution of Our Words: The Sensitive Thing About Insensitivity

Cast away your childish needs. Bury your mother. Bury your father. You belong to me and to me alone. You must submit, can you do it? Then tell me who you are! A child…touched by fire…delivered from heaven to become the greatest warrior, destined for victory. Guardian of the Gate…Destroyer of the Hand. Your purpose. Destroy the Hand. No room for doubt. Finish it. Finish it now. You belong to me… and I command you.

Lei Kung

It sucks to have high expectations put on you doesn’t it? The high expectation and the grand titles given by Lei Kung blinded him from the sorrow Danny was facing. Bury his parents? The show never mentioned if he was able to do that, but I’m sure it was even challenging to “bury” his parents mentally in his mind. “Tell me who you are?” He’s a child who lost his parents in a fiery plane crash. An orphan!  If this is Kung’s way of “looking on the bright side” that is very horrible. Danny will move on in his life, but by making him deny his pains, it would only make them multiply. This is no way to help someone’s overcome heartache, grief, or troubles. Denying someone else’s pain, just because it is inconvenient for you or because you don’t understand it, isn’t how to help someone. You’re better off saying, “I’m sorry”, “I don’t know”, or “I don’t know, I’m sorry” or say nothing. So let’s try our best not to talk for the sake of talking.

The ability to speak does not make you intelligent

Qui-Gon Jinn

Turning Lemons Into Lemonade: Using Your Struggles To Help Others

I’m still trying to figure out who I’m gonna be as the Iron Fist. Lei Kung taught me that I was a powerful weapon, a flame meant to destroy our enemies. But I keep thinking that maybe I can be something else. A light for those trapped in the darkness.

Danny Rand

In the end, I like how he uses his newfound powers to enlighten the lives of others. Much like those of us who live with mental illness, whatever our “newfound powers” maybe—whether it maybe your resilience, resourcefulness, compassion, patience, wisdom, courage, self-love or self-compassion—you are also lighting a way for those in the darkness of heir mental health journey too.

Conclusion

As you become the hero you choose to be during your own mental health journey, there will be people in yourself, even those you love (and love you) with good intentions who may want to have a say in it. Including those who also live with mental illness. I myself, have been guilty at doing this.  They will tell you how should heal, how long it’ll last, but in reality healing isn’t a one size fits all and it most definitely won’t happen even a few months, but you will improve. I think at the end, Lei Kung had good intentions, for choosing Danny as the new “Iron Fist”. However, I think it was a mistake for Lei Kung to think, he would have been like every “Iron Fist” before him. Maybe what motivated the last “Iron Fist”, may not have benefited this “Iron Fist”. Like Danny,  don’t be mad at those you love who couldn’t help you through your pain, because they may not know how to help you overcome it. People can only know so much. At the end of day in the heart of your heart, you know what’s best for you, because at the end of it all you will be the one benefiting from your healing.

Resources:

Iron Fist (TV Series). Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki. Retrieved from http://marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/Iron_Fist_(TV_series)

Movie Quote DB. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menance quotes. Retrieved from http://www.moviequotedb.com/movies/star-wars-episode-i-the-phantom-menace.html

Gaming Disorder??? That’s Laughable

fea-video-gam-controller

As a 90s child, I was able to take part in the metamorphosis of the gaming world: from arcade games to Nintendo NES to Game Boy Black and White to PC Games to Sega Genesis to Playstation to Microsoft’s first game console, the X Box to Nintendo Switch…games on phones… However, I feel as the world of video games (in my opinion) have been taken way too seriously! They’re not as fun anymore…there’s not as much as variety of game play and game genres any more. In terms of game play they’re either too “light” or too “dark”. If you haven’t guessed already, I fit more in the middle when playing games.

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Haha…You could probably tell how old I am if I’m able to mention these games. But what I liked about the 90s and even the early 2000s was that there were all sorts of video game genres and game play for all sorts of people. And most importantly, they weren’t as stressful. I mean yeah, you wanted to find your way out of the cavern or defeat the last boss, but it wasn’t stressful

I remember when I was in high school (that was like a decade ago),  anyone who mentioned they were playing games that were in the “middle” of the video game spectrum were not considered “real” games. Games like, for example, “Dragonball Z Budakai 2”, “Kingdom Hearts” or “Dead or Alive 2” weren’t “real” games. Whatever…

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These are some of the games I grew up on: Star Wars Episode I: Podracers, Tarzan and, Spiderman (2002;Tobey Maguire) Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Yeah, I know they are mostly, games based on movies,  and the game artwork is crude compared to nowdays, but they were fun! Sigh…I miss those days…I’d play them over and over again

Games these days are a lot more…what’s the better word  for it…intense these  days. I remember playing “Modern Welfare 2” and holy crap it’s crazy! I can’t keep up! I’ve always liked video games, because they were just fun, but man, video game now are trying to attempt a whole new level of reality game playing! But game shouldn’t be emulating stress,  but the eurphoria of playing a game…to be simply put fun!

Nowdays I feel gaming is so much more focused on “winning”, whether it by hacking or camping….whatever happened to cheats??? You know like the one’s you’d get on the guides based your respective game? Or by buying fake money with real money to by fake items and skills. I feel like now, everyone just has to prove how great of gamer you are and/or if you are playing “real” video games. Who cares??? If you truly love playing video games, you wouldn’t need to have to prove yourself to other gamers, you just did it. You accepted you were either just a good game player or you weren’t and either you liked  a video game that everyone else happened to like or you played your own games..regardless, you liked video games.

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Games of today look more sharper and sleeker…more real… Some of games are based on classic games, while some are new, and some with a more physical active approach of game play.  Though I think most game are much more aggressive and/or violent than ever. That’s why I avoid some games of today. Although they are as cool as they look, some of them aggravate my anxiety…

I’m sure you’re wondering what has this got to do with mental health/mental illness. Well, it’s because the World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to make “Gaming Disorder” an official mental health diagnosis by next year. Un.believe.able. For real???? It’s an insult to those of us who actually live with mental health disorders either due genetics and/or the environment we were raised in or lived in. So how the hell did it come to this???

In general WHO defines a disorder as:

“Persistent or recurrent behavior  pattern of  “sufficient severity to result  in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”

WHO’s saying that “video game playing, either online or offline, must be “normally evident over a period of at least 12 month” for this diagnosis to be made, according to the beta draft guidance. However, if symptoms are severe and all requirements are met, health care professionals may include people who have been playing for shorter periods of time.”

That doesn’t make sense…if a person decides they’re going to play video games for 12 hours a day that’s their decision (or the decision of the parents not putting a time limit on playing video games. My mom did), people like you or I who live mental illness, never put it upon ourselves to live, for example, with “generalized anxiety disorder” or “bipolar disorder”. For WHO to even consider  “gaming disorder” a mental health disorder is a laughing joke as if mental health disorders in general hasn’t been made a laughing joke already.

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Don’t get me wrong though, I understand the concern about video gaming impairing the lives especially of young children and adolescents.  I remember when my little brother  was in high school, he would be so ridiculously be stressed out and angered by the aggressiveness of the game of “Modern Warfare”. I’d be in my room hearing him yelling or screaming at the TV in the living room. I would be thinking what on earth has him fume like that? I was thinking “Did a girl break his heart?”, “Did he fail in some or all his classes?” “Did he accidentally hurt himself?”…”Was he trying to fighting to keep somebody from breaking into our house?” Nope… he was angry because a “camper” shot him from nowhere and he didn’t have any of his teammates to back him up. Ugh.  While I do understand the frustration of  having campers in video games, it wasn’t worth the yelling.

mortal-kombat-heart-rip-o

Mortal Combat back in the day, was considered  well….very violent. There was a huge upstart, because of its detailed graphics.  It was assumed that it might have kids  to be more violent and more aggressive. Mortal Combat was one of the reason why we now have ratings for video games.

Unfortunately (but annoyingly so), my brother isn’t really good at expressing his feelings. It didn’t help also my parents were separated, my mom was either recovering from an injury or working all day, then my dad was either a poor influence on him or wasn’t in his life. He’s an only boy and I’m nearly a decade older than he is. I’ve tried putting curfews on his game play, but as I’ve been told, I’m “not his mom”. So, I understand his frustration and wanting to play video games all the time. But should it mean my brother should have been diagnosed for a “gaming disorder”??? Uh…no. What should have been done (and was done per my suggestion) was to have seen a therapist.

I can’t believe (well it shouldn’t be surprising especially here in the states) they want to have such a diagnosis as a “game disorder.” I fear the only ones who will really benefit from this “disorder” will be pharmaceutical companies and treatment centers. I mean…millions of people play video games…I included…are they really going to prescribe millions of people pills if “game disorder” because an official diagnosis by next year? Jeez…I thought drug dealers were bad….pharmaceuticals and other medical professions are just as bad.  I mean just take a look at all these drug epidemics such as the Opioid Epidemic… My mother after she had surgery on her knee,  her doctor gave her bags upon bags of pain prescriptions….she hadn’t even used up 1/4 of those bags. Luckily she was wise enough to know her limits and did not get addicted to her prescriptions. I’m sure her doctor makes a profit for each time he pushes prescriptions to patients. Why not there just be PSA commercials reminding people to take a break from video games and engage in the real world, like the way there are commercials  on reminding people to be physically active, eat healthy and to limit junk food?

The DSM 5 or Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders defines a mental disorder as:

  1. A behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an indvidual
  2.  That reflects an underlying psychobiological dysfunction
  3. The consequences of which are clinically significant distress (e.g. painful symptoms) or disability (i.e. impairment in one or more important areas of functioning)
  4.  Must not be merely an expectable response to common stressors and losses (for  example, the loss of a loved one) or a culturally sanctioned response to a particular event (for example, trance states in religious rituals)
  5. That is not primarily a result of social deviance or conflicts with society

Yeah…I don’t think “gaming disorder” fits this….Well maybe with aggression if gets to be too much, but shouldn’t that mean a person is relying on video games to escape reality? Escape from their pain??? Shouldn’t they be encouraged to seek a therapist??? But I guess seeing a therapist is more stigmatizing then asking for pills…

Sigh…well it’s not set in stone yet that “gaming disorder” will be an official diagnosis, but I’m just curious to what makes mental health professions to think that it should be. I think it’s a real insult to those like myself who actually live with a real mental illness and have all of our lives be halted or disrupted physically and emotionally by it. Not to mention those who are recovering drug and/or alcohol addicts. I mean,  I guess like those who are “addicted to playing video” games, those addicted to alcohol and/or drugs chose to do it…the thing is that the latter group undergoes a way more devastating effect.  At the end, we just need to encourage people especially our younger audiences to go out and play, set a curfew on playing video games, and/or to seek therapy if they have underlining issues that could be worked on with a therapist. But under no circumstances assign medication.