So many people often look at Depression as a disability, as if those who suffer aren’t normal people and deserve to be looked at as the outcasts of society. Often we look down on people who have low energy or appear to be in a bad mood. What’s wrong with them? “I hate people who act like this way, they are not all there ‘upstairs'”, some may think.
It’s so hard for many to see any positive benefit at all in living with any mood disorder, depression or anxiety. I have found out that there are “gifts” in many so called disabilities and strengths in weakness.
The stigma of depression and mood disorder is one that stops people from getting help, it needs to stop! Most people are uneducated or misinformed and what follows is a misplaced label that society will place upon us for years to come. For years I imagine many in the gay community felt the same way, perhaps it even lead to more depression and discomfort. Fear to come out and be honest about who we are and the challenges we face will not empower us.
I want to start explaining why depression does not deserve the labels it gets and how for some its actually an amazing gift, but first I should give a few disclosures…
- I’ve been a superhero fan since I was very little, not comic book nerd, but someone who loved the characters and really got involved with the story behind the Superhero and their powers. (Rip Stan Lee)
- I’m not attempting to paint any mental illness as an easy road or something that I would wish on anyone. I simply want to give the world another way to look at things and hope that those struggling will relate in a positive way and seek the help that they really need to not feel ashamed.
- Im a poet! I write in creative ways and use allegory and hyperbole to impress and exaggerate important ideas. So don’t take it as gospel but just be encouraged and enjoy the ride, because depression can certainly be a superpower…
OK with that out of the way, let’s get started!
I’ve recently been watching the DareDevil series on Netflix. For those not familiar with the character, I’ll give you a brief character summary as to how it relates to our discussion. DareDevil went blind at the age of 6 due to an accident. His father was a legendary boxer, and his mother, well, watch the series to learn more. Needless to say he turned his love of fighting and his passion for justice into a successful law firm to help the poor that were being taken advantage of by the system.
He realizes very early on that he cannot solve all the problems thru the justice system and slowly but surely turns into a vigilante. Now the coolest thing about DareDevil, is although he is blind he has developed his other senses to other-worldly perceptions. He can hear blocks away, smell what someone had for lunch at dinner time, and tell if someone is lying by the rhythm of their heartbeat. Now throughout the years I’ve been able to accomplish some pretty amazing things, none of them include the list I just mention, but still quite amazing indeed.
Just like Daredevil when we look at our limitations as potential ability and work to develop and discover our new power and potential, truly amazing things can happen! Daredevil never wishes he can see again, he embraces his disability and it makes him stronger.
Oftentimes, when our bodies lose one sense the body seeks equilibrium by chemically enhancing another one. The tricky thing about depression is it has ups and downs and can be hard to know when one ability kicks in and another weakens. Paying close attention to our inner self and not being impatient is the key to discovering our superpower.
When I allow my energy to flow and pay close attention to where my focus and attention are I become more in tune with different aspects of my abilities. Some of these abilities are more powerful and prevalent at certain times. As a matter of fact when I come out of a depression I find myself being extremely caring and gentle and ultra intuitive, it’s almost like I hear people’s thoughts. I’m only joking… or am I?
At other times before a depression sets in I have an other-worldly sense of creativity and spontaneity, I can do almost anything I can dream of. I’ve learned to taper this feeling and ability, because if used too much or pushed to far, it will cause me to be extremely tired and lethargic for weeks after. Sometimes I use it to its capacity, my wife has dubbed it “Lion Mode”, because I’m literally unstoppable. (For all the Kobe fans I’d prefer to call it “Black Mamba mode”.Go Lakers! ) Anyhow, Finding your superhuman powers within your depression and learning how to work with them and not against them is key.
Another one of my favorite superhero shows over the years has been the X-men. The mutants are looked down upon by society and only a select few have been strong enough mentally and emotionally to think of the mutation as a gift. Many mutants struggle with the fact that they are different from others, some have even gone to great lengths to try to get rid of their powers. Some of their powers are more noticeable than others and make it very hard for them to fit in.
I’ve always identified with this on a deeply personal level. It can be hard for many with very severe depression and anxiety to fit in to society, they are noticeably different from others. The pressure to experiment with medications or drugs and alcohol to escape can be quite tempting! Trust me I’ve been there, but it only made coping unbearable and clouded my ability to really perceive whats important. I needed to just meditate and concentrate on what was really going on with me. I discovered some amazing things about how I got here and what was really happening to me. All of which I plan to discuss right here on this blog.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the most recent and very relatable series on the CW, Black Lightning. While so much could be said about the show in regards to social, economic, racial and relationship issues I’ll stay on topic. I really love, amongst other things, how the show can give us so much insight as to the support role played by family members who help our Mental Health SuperHeros. The mother, Lynn, in the show, played by Christine Adams, although not a superhero plays a huge role in the support and guidance of the main characters. There are times when her lack of support is clear evidence of the reason why the superheros become unbalanced and make poor decisions. It’s almost equally as tough on her to try and maintain a relationship, career, and get what she needs in life to support her emotionally. She struggles with internal battle of wanting to live her own life separate of the superhero drama, but also remain loyal to a cause and commitment she knows can make change for the better.
I can hear supporters of those afflicted by mental health and depression saying, Amen! It can be so hard to live your life in the shadows of someone else’s curse and gift. Especially when the family and you feel obligated, but all the while helpless. In the Black Lighting series Lynn’s daughter ends up getting super powers. In the 1st episode of season 2 we see Lynn wanting to get counseling for her daughter as she is in desperation for normalcy. This is also very relatable for supporters. I will be very soon writing an article on how supporters can remain healthy while supporting the ebbs and flows of a loved one with Depression.
Just think, Isaac Newton, Bruce Lee, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Vincent Van Gogh, and even modern examples such as Heath Ledger, Dwayne Johnson, Jim Carey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Michael Phelps all suffered from Bipolar Disorder or Depression. Definitely a list of super-humans who although struggled though their journey at times learned the power it gave them and how to harness it for good.
“I’m constantly working on my abilities so I don’t harm myself or others. Looking at it like a gift instead of a curse can help a lot in recovery and acceptance of yourself.”
So enroll in the ‘school for mutants’, support a fellow superhero and help us to give others the help and support they need. Go to our Join CB🔆 community link and drop us a line to help encourage someone or simply provide us feedback so that we can better help our supporters and readers.
While you’re there, let us know what superhero you are….
R.I.P Legendary Stan Lee, you’ve inspired me and helped me grow…..
Your friendly neighborhood Awareness Guru