Have you ever had anyone say to you “*blank* tv show/film saved my life”? I’ve heard it a couple of times and never quite understood it, until now.
I strongly believe we all need to be more open about mental health. It is the only sure fire way to end the stigma of it.
I’ve suffered with Depression and Anxiety of various levels of severity for most of my life. Like most people who battle it I’ve learned to mask it very well. I’m going through a particularly severe patch at the moment and I’ve also been diagnosed with C-PTSD. I’ve also been told that I am an empath but that I don’t just feel other people’s emotions, I actually take them on board as if they were my own. It is very exhausting. I’m currently seeing a Psychotherapist weekly but it’s a long hard road.
I’ve always been an emotional person but at the moment I am hyper-emotional. One thing about Depression is that you no longer find joy in the things you like. In my case it’s not because I no longer like them, but I have such an emotional attachment to these things that I find them hard to watch at the moment. I’ve not been able to listen to the Les Mis soundtrack without completely breaking down and its the same with Star Trek, Star Wars etc. I just about managed to watch Season 2 of Discovery and the final season of Game of Thrones, but by now I would have re-watched them at least twice over but I’ve found it impossible.
When my current bad period began I was extremely bad. I was unable to take my mind off things in the usual way by watching something or listening to Les Mis. This made me frustrated and in turn made the Depression even worse. I had a couple of moments when I was at my wits end and tried something stupid. Luckily my Dad was a big help.
I struggled to find something to help me out. I tried reading as I have hundreds of novels- didn’t work. At the time Mindfulness and Meditation were not helping either and everything seemed pointless. No matter what I tried, jigsaws, puzzles, crosswords, none of it helped.
Growing up in the 70s I used to read comics like any other kid. My preference was Marvel, though I read the odd Batman or Superman comic. Marvel-wise it was normally Iron Man, Captains America and Marvel, Hulk and Spider-Man. As I got older it was something that drifted away from me. That is until now.
I’ve always been a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I never really got into the Netflix shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones or Runaways. My main ones were the movies and the two TV shows Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD.
One day I was flicking through the TV channels and Avengers: Infinity War came on Now I had already seen it numerous times in the cinema but I left it on in the background anyway. The next thing I know the film is over and its just over two hours later. My anxiety level had dropped and the depression had lifted slightly. The problem is that mental health issues are not really curable, you just learn how to manage them better- this is something I am working on but back them it was impossible. Of course, once the film had ended everything slowly rose again.
I decided to try something out. My dad and I began a complete re-watch beginning with Iron Man and ending with Infinity War. I thought I would struggle but found myself surprised. We also did the same with Agents of SHIELD and I’m leaving Agent Carter as a backup as that is my favourite. Once we had finished the re-watch I left it for a while, tried some other films but nothing worked quite the same way.
Over the past couple of years I had dialed back my collecting, however with Captain Marvel, Avengers:Endgame and SpiderMan Far From Home due out I began collecting again. Comics, funko pops, lego mini figs, press collectables and more. The number of Marvel shirts shot up, replacing some that I got rid of. This really helped to take my mind off of things. I also began using my 3D printer to print Marvel related models which I would then paint. I found this VERY therapeutic.
Since December last year I have only left my flat about 6 times, not counting my visits to my therapist. Two of those times were to see Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame. I went late at night so it was very quiet, and once very early for the same reason. I haven’t really been out since except for a couple of hours at LFCC which was a huge mistake as I didn’t handle it well.
So I went back to the one thing I knew worked. It is what is now known as ‘The Infinity Saga’. I’ve re-watched the whole lot multiple times over the past few months. It may seem obsessive but it has helped. After my incident in February I am quite convinced that if I did not have the MCU to help me keep calm, I would not be here now. I would have ended it all. Many people believe that that is the cowards way out- this could not be any further from the truth. Its a sign of struggling for so long, not being able to deal with it any more, not wanting to be a burden on other and most importantly wanting it all, the mental and physical pain to end. I never realised the physical pain that goes with severe Depression until now.
In short (coz everthing above is soooo short) I love the intricate story that has been woven. Lots of individual narratives but all connected- some very subtle, others not so.It is a real feat of cinematic engineering, to have 20 movies all culminate in two awesome movies. The cast choices are second to none and I hope to meet many of them some day to say thank you. I find everything pleasing, from the CGI to the soundtracks. I know the internet is full of people picking flaws in the films, but lets face it, every film has flaws. I would challenge anyone to create 22 movies and have them all link up in the way The Infinity Saga does and be absolutely flawless.
Talking of flawless, my passion for Captain Marvel has been reignited- I have lost count how many times I have seen the film now especially since the blu ray was released. This currently takes up the bulk of my collection. Brie Larson’s performance is nothing short of spectacular and I adore her and her sense of humour, her drive and her performance of Carol and seeing the character develop. She is truly awesome and a great role model to all the young girls out there- Its something I really wish for for my niece and my nephews too but obviously there are already tons of male role models out there!
Yes, I know Brie isn’t the first, but she is the first (to my knowledge) to really be outspoken about such matters and that is the important thing. She is pushing the boundaries and putting women/girls where they belong….on an equal footing with men. I know this fact scares some people. Get over it! People are constantly attacking her on Twitter and although she does not need it as she is very capable herself, I will back her all the way even though she has nothing to prove to me…..or anyone!
Thank you Brie! Higher, further, faster baby!
Also, a big shout out to Lashana Lynch. Your performance in Captain Marvel was awesome and it’s great to see a West 12 girl do good.
Mr Mark Ruffalo and his constant work on raising awareness on a number of issues especially climate change and the environment is also another true hero. Mr RDJ and his work with sick children (along with Messrs Hemsworth and Evans) is another shining example. He really is the epitome of Tony Stark. I believe he has also set up a foundation to help solve the worlds problems using technology. Awesome!
In fact, in their own way all of the MCU actors stand for something good and they are all heroes in my eyes. Nothing that can be said or done will change that…ever.
This has been one of the most emotional posts I have ever written.
THANK YOU to the cast of all the Infinity Saga films. THANK YOU to the crew that made them, especially Kevin Feige and the Russo Brothers.
I honestly believe that without these films I would either not be alive any more or I would be deathly ill in hospital. I really hope to get the chance to tell you this in person someday, somehow, somewhere (sorry for the West Side Story interlude). You are all an inspiration and a calm port in the storm of my mind.
I am hoping that this blog post somehow finds its way to the cast. Brie, Mark, RDJ, Chris x3, ScarJo, Mr Feige and the Russo Bros just so they know the impact their work has on people.
Seriously, from my heart, THANK YOU!
(Here are a few photos of some of the MCU actors I have already met)