What 'Logan' Taught Me About My Mental Illness


I saw “Logan” this afternoon, and it surprised me how much it showed me about my own mental illness. I’m not a mutant superhero, but I get to have a few things in common with Wolverine and Professor X.

First, Wolverine and I both have frequent nightmares — violent ones that leave us exhausted mentally and physically. I often wake up flat on my back with no feeling in my arms, so tense I can’t comprehend how I got there. And like Logan, I want to talk about them but I don’t, telling everyone instead that I’m fine. And like in “Logan,” they don’t believe me.

Second, we fight for those we love much harder than we fight for ourselves. In one scene, Wolverine fights against the effects of Professor X’s “seizure” to save his friend’s life. Each step takes extraordinary effort, like it does for me when I’m dissociating. But I fight it to pick up my kids from school or get dinner on the table.

Third, the fighting is exhausting. Whether I’m fighting to stay upright or to not cry in public or to protect my kids from how I feel, I end up dizzy, nauseated, and exhausted mentally and physically.

Fourth, we need companionship, not pity, even though we push people away. Wolverine pushes people away mostly to protect them but also to protect himself from being hurt more. But like me, he’s lucky to have a few people around like Charles who love him anyway.

Fifth, we think about suicide, but we don’t do it. It’s in the back of our minds all the time, but we press on, knowing there is more to be done. And maybe believing when we die isn’t up to us.

Sixth, Professor X describes what it’s like to be on psych meds. We both need enough to reduce the negative symptoms like hallucinations and nightmares but not so much that we lose our emotions.

Finally, like Logan, sometimes all I really need is for someone who loves me to take the wheel and tell me to rest. It is in those moments where I feel safe in knowing someone else is in control and I can truly have peaceful rest.

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Photo via Facebook – Logan


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