Posted in Comics n Stuff, Mental Health Struggles

5 Comic characters I identify with

All of my heroes have been fictional. Religion has no value for me, institutions are often more corrupt and people in the real world will always let you down. For me the ideals and insights in fiction have offered me ideas, rather than things to believe in. Knowing that they are fiction was in reality comforting, you take your meaning as you want to. A book can’t let you down, a comic or a tv program can’t cause you to be disillusioned. I believe in the people around me and on the good days, myself, haven’t really needed anything more than that. Being able to be moved by music and identify with characters on the screen and page has been enough, beyond my loved ones that is.

As I have spent the last four or so years trying to understand the bats**t crazy elements of my personality, I have been looking at why I identify with certain characters, what that means about me and well hence this article. Now by this I mean specific characters, relating to specific personality traits/issues, so I don’t need to mention always identifying with the outsider/inhuman character. My status as a bit of a misfit is not really much of a mystery, nor in geekdom that unique a thing. But I found this thought interesting, so wanted to explore it.

Vance Astro: Finding purpose

Appearing in Marvel comics, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Vance Astro was an astronaut who sacrificed his entire life to visit another star system and further the human adventure by travelling to Alpha Centauri in a thousand year one way trip. Only to find out that 800 years before he arrived, Harkovian physics rendered his entire trip obsolete and humanity was already waiting for him. The image he had of himself and the purpose that he lived for were pointless. His entire life seemingly a waste. So he did, what any person would need to do, he started again. He found a purpose in freeing the worlds of the Sol system from the Badoon. It wasn’t quick, easy or all at once, but he began to live again. I find that aspirational, the idea of starting again and changing who you are to yourself and becoming something greater than who you were before. If it can be imagined, then it can be done, if it can be done, maybe I can do it?

Henry ‘Beast’ McCoy : Bad judgement and deflection.

Here one character meets two different thoughts. Dr Henry McCoy first appeared in X-Men 1 and was one of the original class of students of Charles Xavier. He is also the person who has made some fantastic blunders over the years. He quit the X-Men to become a professional wrestler, we were all young once, has been the victim of femme fatales so many times and in order to deal with some corporate espionage, actually mutated himself into some kind of were ape creature. Yeah, that wasn’t do to him, he did that to himself. When anti-mutant bigotry cost him a job opportunity, did he sue? No he stripped down to his undies and jumped out of the window like an azure gorilla. He then tried to be somewhat smarter for a long time and then because of an off-hand comment by his friend, decided to steal a time machine and bring his younger self and his classmates into their future/his present to PREVENT disaster. Yup that’s right, for what seemed to be laudable reasons, he tore open time and stole 5 people from the past, including himself to prove a point to one of his oldest friends. Now, who here can’t relate to making a few stupid decisions? He’s also good at deflecting, the affected intellectualism, where he’d use many long words, play up how smart he is, to keep people at arms length, or his constant light-hearted jokey replies to everyone, to make sure they don’t keep things too real. Even during his time on the Avengers and his ladies man antics are just more deflection from his problems. I also do that, preventing people from seeing who I really am.

Hank Pym: Self Esteem

I have, for as long as I can remember, suffered from low self esteem. I don’t think I would as far as calling it an inferiority complex, but I know full well that feeling of being less than. I did a long piece called In Defense of Hank Pym, here so will be brief about the specifics, but no matter how smart he was, or how hard he worked, in the original team of Avengers, he was the little guy. Think about it, the god of thunder, the human tank, the flying woman and a guy who’s power is to be small. Who’d want to be that one? There’s a reason that he was left out of the Avengers movie.

Cyclops: Repression

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Probably the first comic character I identified with, Cyclops was introverted, quiet and kept his feelings very much to himself. He was in love with a girl, but could never tell her how he felt. He was also skinny (as was I when younger) and wore glasses. As I got older and new writers took over, Cyclops was seen as more of a repressed character, who not only kept his feelings from other people, but also from himself. He closed himself off from the world and whenever he didn’t, it didn’t go well for him. A man who never really learned how to ‘people’, this is a feeling that I can understand completely and I was never brainwashed into a cult. Fortunately his being at times a shockingly bad human being and making at best questionable life choices keeps me from identifying too much.

The Thing: Depression 

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Ben Grimm is my spirit animal. In fact recently I considered him as part of my left arm cover tattoo. Like Vance Astro, my identification with him is aspirational. In mind’s eye, he is the battle with depression. Happy for a lot of his life, despite a harsh upbringing, Ben became the Thing, not through fault of his own, but as part of an accident partially caused by his best friend. None of this is his fault, but he bears the burden for it nonetheless. He still has his own voice, his own wants and needs, but is almost perpetually cut off from the world. He can’t feel things like he used to, feels at times like a monster and there is always this tinge of bitterness and melancholy. And yet, he battles for others, has the biggest of hearts and a stubborn refusal to surrender to either his own problems, or any opposing force.

5 ways to explain some of the s**t in my head, there you go, till next time internet people.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday 13:Winning? In general yes, today, no.

I am as of this writing, off my meds. I have been on some form of anti-depressant medication for 4 years, 7 months and 21 days.

For the first 3 years, I was on the wrong medication it turns out, I switched about 18 months ago, but by and large haven been taking pills for over 4 and a half years. Back in the summer, I came to the decision to come off them, feeling that they were no longer part of my recovery, but perhaps they had become an impediment to it. I decided to fix that by slowly weaning myself off them. For a period of 4 weeks, I went down to one every two days, for 4 weeks after that, it was one every three days, then twice and week and then for the last 4 weeks, one per week. Wednesday, was my last one. It’s been a long road internet people, but I am as of this writing no longer being treated medically. It’s a big step to take and I have taken it.

That’s my win for today (well Wednesday) and am glad of it.

The main problem now is that hard won victory hasn’t really changed anything.

I still battle depression and I don’t win every single day, a few days in a row where I haven’t won was noticed, sadly not by me. Kinda been letting the side down recently, not looking after myself as well as I should do, missing things and being less than present. Nothing earth shattering is it? Work stress and other shit getting to you to the extent that you’re not your best self for a bit? Thing is, I don’t have the luxury of doing that do I? I don’t have the freedom to let things go a little, but it’s only a hop skip and a jump to falling back into the places I’ve spent the last four years trying to escape. My health can suffer as can my relationship with the MIGHTY Rosie as well as other important stuff. Once again, how off my game was pointed out to me gently on Monday evening and significantly less gently Tuesday morning. (Totally justified both times, I’m not crying foul here, this was more of the MIGHTY Rosie having my back as she always has.) I’ve been as a result left reeling this last couple of days. In the past,  I would spend quite a while feeling shitty about myself. Oh don’t worry, I still fully intend to do that, but will also try to do better, to be more engaged, more focused and more even tempered. My son deserves better, the MIGHTY Rosie deserves better and am slowly coming to the conclusion that I deserve better too.

This is a blip, not a backslide, proof of this will be what I do next. I am off my meds, that was part of it, but I do have such a long way to go.

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Winston Churchill

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday 12: Short sharp kick to the head

Hello there internet people, been a while since I’ve written anything personal.

I felt bad about this for a brief time, because whenever I have written more personal stuff, the response has been universally positive and supportive. It took me a while to real

ise that the reason I hadn’t written for a while was simply things were going better.

Work isn’t as bad as it has been.

The house is better, started decorating in fact.

Gym stuff is going better.

Weightloss is up and down, but will get back to doing Slimming World Saturday eventually.

The big thing though, is that I have taken it upon myself to wean off my anti-depressants. After speaking to my doctor, I went to one every other day, months have passed and I am now on two per week, for another two weeks, when I go to one per week, then maybe none per week. It’s all been going really positively, have dealt with my son a little better, feel closer to him and have been more open when talking with the MIGHTY Rosie and we’re communicating better than we ever have before. It’s all been really positive.

You can see where this is going can’t you?

I was due for a blip. Yesterday, it all got on top of me, the stress of work, the negative feelings, the low moods and anxiety and it all sort of fell on top of me all at once. Spent most of the afternoon experiencing a stretched out 4 hours anxiety attack. I’ll be honest, not fun. When I got home, I wasn’t in the mood for doing pretty much anything, but had to make a couple of calls, one of them to the MIGHTY Rosie, so that was a positive. I needed a win. So I decided to move the bed around and sort out the headboard. On my own, a large bed and a less than stellar frame of mind.

If you guessed it went badly, well done. I ended up putting my foot through part of the bed. This didn’t help my mood as you can imagine. So the true depth and extent of my stupidity was point out by the MIGHTY Rosie and after getting help with the bedroom furniture, we got stuff done. Two pictures hung up, two shelves and finally got my bedside shelves back up and was able to put my collectables and knick-knacks up.

Even got the DC Hardbacks lined up again, which was nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall I left for therapy in a far more positive mindspace than I could have, enabling me to sift through the feelings of the day and start today more positively.

I can’t thank my wife enough, sometimes I need a kind word, a hug, some positivity, but sometimes I need a kick up the arse. She can do all these things, I call her the MIGHTY Rosie, I do this for a reason.

We are more than our battles, every bad day is just that A bad day. Her helping me realise that, got me through last night and that has got me through today so far.

Thanks for listening,

TTFN

 

 

 

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday 11: Raw

Hello internet people.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks and I have in no uncertain terms been struggling. Work was an unmitigated nightmare and I found it all very stressful. It has all felt so very overwhelming. I wasn’t coping and it was getting in the way of everything. I was feeling the weight of everything and wondering what had changed.

Worked it out, I was feeling the weight of it. About 6 weeks ago, I went to my doctor’s and informed him that I wanted to reduce my anti-depressants, with the overall goal of not actually taking them anymore. Since my breakdown I have been taking them daily and am getting the idea that they are no longer doing me any good and for me it’s a concrete sign that I am getting better. I hemmed and hawed about it. worrying that my negative and obsessive thoughts would make a fast return and I’d go back to the terrifying earliest days of my recovery. I’d wish that on no-one, not even me. So anyway, went back to the doctors and we agreed between us that I should go onto one every two days, rather than one a day. And apart from missing the odd one at the weekend, have been doing the one every other day since. So, when do I notice the difference I wonder?

Now, now is when I notice the difference. Anti-depressants, don’t as a rule fix depression, no single thing can do that. They don’t make you happy, nor stop you feeling sad, the idea is that they give you the head-space to deal with shit. But one of the ways they do that is by blunting the effects of the feelings. So they stop you feeling so sad, but essentially stopping you feeling that much of anything. So I went from repressing my feelings, to battling my feelings through to suppressing my feelings to finally now experiencing them. For the first time in a few years, I am feeling everything  that I am feeling. Or at least I am beginning to. I didn’t notice it at first because, it’s takes about 4 weeks for changes in medication to have any real effect. For the first time in a long time, am feeling what I am feeling more. This has been an uncomfortable fortnight as a result and am sure the road will get rockier, long before it will get smoother. But I feel, maybe that I am becoming more present. I miss my son (away for a couple of days with his grandparents) and I mean really missing him, but that’s a pain I am happy to feel, for it reminds me how much I love him. I love my wife the MIGHTY Rosie and being close to her is where I know what hope, love and home mean. I never really worked out how to do feelings, but I am right now in the best company to start learning.

I spent much of the last two weeks, thinking something was wrong, but really, my heart is beginning to wake up. I have a lot of learning to do still.

I am loved, it’s time to show that I love in return.

I fear, it’s time to face that fear.

I am not falling back, this is just a more difficult climb than I expected it to be. But I honestly think I am up to this challenge.

We are mightier than we believe, stronger than we know and more valued than we often feel.

Even me.

 

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Things on a Thursday 9: Gratitude

Hello there internet people.

It’s been a weird few weeks, some shit has happened, some of which isn’t my tale to tell, so will keep it to myself, work has been stressful and it’s been a week or two that I’ve been happy to get through. I am now 4 weeks into my half dosage of anti-depressants, hoping to go to the doctor’s next week and cut down even further. I feel better based on that fact alone. But after therapy yesterday and a bit of relaxation, I came to a strange conclusion.

I’m grateful for the shit I have been through.

Let that sink in there. Do I enjoy what the last few years have done to me? No. Do I like what this has done to my loved ones? Of course not. But there is another way of looking at this. After many years of repression, unhelpful thinking and a lack of interest in my own welfare, I was always going to suffer this. This wasn’t an if, it was a when. I wasn’t broken, but certainly how I thought of myself and how I did certain things, were clearly detrimental. But if I really think about it, I am grateful for what this has done, there are several positives about the last 4 years that came to mind.

1: The MIGHTY Rosie: Most married men can hold the assumption, that they have a partner in life, someone who has always got their back and will go to bat for them every single time. I don’t hold that assumption. I KNOW I DO. My wife has been my friend, my lover, my back up, my counsellor, but conscience and when needed the kicker of my arse. I don’t know what I did to deserve someone who loves me this well, but whatever I did, I’d do it again. I wouldn’t be here without her and even without all that, she will always have my heart.

2: You learn who really cares: I have a support system, that I never would have conceived of 4 years ago, certain family members, a couple of people at work who ask how I am, actually wanting to know and an understanding office manager, my trainer Ali, who has become one of the best friends I have ever had (Now don’t get cocky there Tea-Bag) my sister in law and others, it’s also shown me who I can and who I can’t rely on.

3: I am the lightest I have been in 10 years: Needing to focus on my well-being has got me more into exercise and eating better. I have lost weight, gained strength and am better in that respect than I have been for many years. It’s a small thing, but has made a big difference. The number of people who comment on the weight I have lost is phenomenal.

4: My boy: Going through all this, had made me appreciate how much I have and one of the things I have is being a dad. There aren’t words for it. I will never be a good enough dad for him, so therefore I need to keep trying.

5: You: If you are reading this, it’s because I am writing, which I started as a way of getting thoughts out of my head, or just writing to distract me, but I have read so many things about people’s struggles, their stories, their fandoms, their relationships and it’s opened the world to me, in a way I never believed it could, all this from a woman from Talk Liverpool, who suggested writing as a therapeutic aid.

There are many other things I could list, but they are the ones I thought of today. I am not the person I once thought I was, but the person I am becoming, I think he’s alright. Maybe it’s going to be ok, or at least, brighter than the dark places my mind used to live.

I’ll be back internet people

Posted in Feelings on a Friday, Mental Health Struggles

Feelings on a Friday 36: Weary, but have the time for a quick post

It’s a long day.

How long a day? Well am struggling to maintain any kind of positivity. It’s the type of day that I consider getting to start my lunch before 1:45 a win.

Yup, that long a day. It’s the last day of the month, I can see the light at the end of it, but somehow the tunnel seems to be getting longer somehow. I feel weary. That’s the best way to describe it. Not depressed, but just bogged down a bit by it all.

So lets try to find my five positives, because it’s the sort of day that will make them a struggle to find, but when you need them the most.

1: It is Friday. The weekend is here, well almost. There’s relaxation coming.

2: My son is happy. He’s wearing his own clothes, since he donated a bottle of wine. (I know right? Piss up at the primary school tonight!)

3: The MIGHTY Rosie called me at lunch, ill timed perhaps, since I’ve been having a bad morning, but I know that someone whom I love, was thinking about me. That has a power to it.

4: Am halfway through the first month of reduced tablet use. No dramatic change to how I feel, meaning that I am on the right path. I feel positive about this decision.

5: Had two gym sessions this week. Feeling stronger for it and was able to walk from the gym to therapy, so that’s a good 40 mins more exercise than I was expecting to have on the same day.

It’s easier to list what’s going wrong, but it’s the stuff that’s going right that you can remember.

Focus on the positives and remember this, everything that has opposed you so far, has done so, but you are still here. Every single positive step forward is a victory, not against anything, but FOR YOU.

We are all stronger than we believe we are.

Posted in Feelings on a Friday, Mental Health Struggles

Feelings on a Friday 35: Positive Steps

Hello again internet people.

It’s been a while since I’ve written here. I’ve shared stuff, but not written anything from me for a while.

I’d be lying if I said things had gone great. There’s been tensions, work’s been a nightmare and it’s all felt like it’s getting too much. Have had issues with anxiety, been feeling very down and to be honest unmotivated to do a lot of different things and that’s caused other problems. But here’s the thing of it. When you feel down, it’s very easy to fall into old habits of thinking and go through an old ‘script’ in your mind. There’s a voice, it’s always been there, a voice that is quiet when things are good and clear as day when it’s not. The voice that says “You are not good enough and don’t deserve the good in your life and it will be taken away.” It was upsetting to realise that voice was still very much present, though I don’t have to listen to it now do I?

Things seem to be clearing now, my mind more my own and this week have made got some shit done.

1: Spoke to the doctors, asked for a referral over something and also informed him that of my intention to come off my meds.

2: Took the first step, am reducing them by half for one month.

3: Got a workout routine from my second gym, which while doable is punishing to say the least.

4: Shared that workout with my trainer, who like it and then made sure I suffered for having done it the day before with his own routine.

5: Am going back to slimming world, kinda fell off that recently and am noticing that I have noticed some old cravings returning.

6: Am going to go and clear the backyard out, have been talking about it for a while, but there’s always something else to do isn’t there?

7: Time to start learning to drive, it’s just time to do it, rather than talk about it.

Overall it’s been a rough few weeks for reasons and other reasons and to be honest, there’s that whole when things calm down/start looking better, make these changes. But here’s the thing, that time is never going to happen is it? It’s been hard just doing day to day stuff and I’ve been feeling the weight of it recently. But when that happens, you have to plant your feet and move that weight and get one with your day, I have come a long way, I have further to go, but I have already come so far.

I always tell my son, the only time you fail, is when you give up. Everything else is a set-back.

Be back later internet people.