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Why I Relate to 'Captain Marvel' as Someone With C-PTSD

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I was in the theater watching “Captain Marvel” on opening day with my family, as we usually are with superhero movies. While I usually see a movie once, and then only again when I need to catch up, I went back to see that movie three more times. And I’ll probably go again.

• What is PTSD?

I am an avid movie and TV watcher — always trying to figure out which character I am most like — and always trying to escape my life through entertainment.

This time, it was pretty easy to see character similarities. No, I’m not exactly like Carol Danvers. Trust me, that woman has more grit than I ever will, and I wasn’t kidnapped by terrorists who tried to erase my memory, but we have some things that do make us alike.

Carol Danvers has a lot of memory issues, and throughout the movie we see her having flashbacks with snippets of memories over and over. She has to deal with not knowing her past — and having it come back.

That has been my life recently. I’ve lived my whole life not knowing my entire past, but dealing with the symptoms of the trauma. I’ve lived with the nightmares, just like Carol. I’ve lived with the confusion, just like Carol. I’ve dealt with the identity crisis, just like Carol. I’ve lived with putting on a happy face and cracking a joke when I am scared, just like Carol.

I watched myself struggle on that movie screen. I watched Carol fight back, and it gave me more courage to do the same.

Lately I’ve been having a lot more flashbacks than usual, and I not only watched her feel the fear and pain I have been feeling, but I watched her overcome. I watched her get support from others. I watched her battle her enemies, both outside and inside. And I watched her win.

It gave me strength to keep fighting. It made me see that my pain could make me strong. It made me know there were people out there like me who were saving the world.

Maybe one day I’ll figure out all the junk in my past instead of just having therapists guess and feeling deep fear around familiar strangers, but for now, I’m going to go see “Captain Marvel” again and learn how to fight like a girl. Fight like Carol.

Higher, further, faster baby!

Image via Captain Marvel Facebook page

Originally published: April 30, 2019
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