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Superheroes Struggle With Mental Health Issues, Too


Has anyone ever made you feel weak because of your depression or mental illness? Has your depression ever made you second guess your own strength? Well, tell me this: Would you consider superheroes like Batman or Thor weak? No?

Well, get this. They have struggled with depression, too. At least according to comic books this year, they have.

Batman #12, which was released earlier this month, reveals that Bruce Wayne cut his wrists with his dad’s razor blade and attempted suicide at age 10.

Batman writer Tom King told Inverse, “When you’re in that kind of depression, the first thought is ‘I’m the only one who’s ever experienced this,’ and if that’s your last thought, you drown under it.”

Kotaku Australia writer James Whitbrook says, “The contrast between the machismo of the action and emotional vulnerability of someone who attempted suicide is palpable. It was the metaphorical death of Bruce Wayne which allowed him to be reborn as the person who would become the Dark Knight.”

This year, Thor lost his title and his ability to lift his hammer in the series “The Unworthy Thor.”

“Reading about the Unworthy Thor drinking and fighting his way through his self-loathing seems almost too relatable for many of us,” writes Matt Kim in Inverse.

These story lines humanize the characters. But they don’t make them “weak.”

After all, approximately one in five American adults experience mental illness in a given year. Moreover, depression has many different causes, including impaired mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events and chronic health problems, according to Harvard Health Publications. All of which are factors outside of a person’s control. It has nothing to do with being “strong” or “weak.”

While it may not seem like a heroic task, what makes a person strong is choosing to get out of bed in the morning when every fiber of your being is telling you to hide under the covers. It’s putting on pants when all you want is to stay in pajamas all day. Strength is going into work or taking that exam, when you’d rather stay home. It’s choosing to go to that AA meeting, to see a psychiatrist or ask a friend for help. Strength is finding the silver lining in your mental illness and using it to help others

Most importantly, strength is choosing, each day, to keep living.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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Image via Batman Official Facebook page.