The X-Men and Mental Health

I have a bit of a disclaimer before I start this editorial: I am going to get real personal.

I kind of consider myself somewhat of an outcast. I don’t think I am particularly a popular person and sometimes I feel like the only one who understands me. I may not show it sometimes but the truth is that I am somewhat insecure in myself. I have felt this way ever since I was a kid. You see, when I was 6 years old I was diagnosed with ADD, OCD, Asperger Syndrome, and a mental disorder called Pica. All of which formed a mental health nightmare for me that I struggle with to this day. At the time the worst of which was the Asperger and Pica. For those of you who are unaware: Pica is disorder that cause you to uncontrollably chew on things. I chewed on pencils, paper, paper clips, cardboard, and a whole lot of other things. For a good 6 years of my life I was basically Matter-Eater Lad. On top of that, I am on the autism spectrum. This did not make me very popular at school. The other kids thought I was weird or that there was something wrong with me. I felt alone and unwanted for a good chunk of my life.

This all changed when the X-Men entered my life in 7th grade. At the time, my weight was flucuating due to the anti-depressants I was on, My homelife was turmulous and I was struggling with my social life. In laymans terms: I was depressed. In order to combat that depression I wanted to get more into comics. I was entry level into comics but loved learning everything I could about them. So I frequently combed my schools library for things I could use.  One thing you have to understand is that my middle school’s library had very little comic stuff. All they had were these huge books published by DK called “The Ultimate Guides”. They had: Spider-Man, Batman, The Justice League, and (at the time) something I didn’t know too much about: The X-Men. I had read the Spider-Man one so many times I had basically memorized it. I saw that Marvel logo and thought to myself “Its gotta be like Spider-Man so it must be good”. I checked this book out with the Justice League Ultimate Guide and while I love the league a whole lot, I did not find myself reading that book all that often.

The X Men had very quickly captured my attention. Here were a bunch of fellow outcasts out there kicking ass and saving the world! Sure, everyone hated their guts and thought they were a bunch of freaks and weirdos but for me, the fact that they were so open with their “quirks” was so cool. They weren’t like Batman or Superman. Underneath the Yellow and black, They were just weirdos who weren’t accepted by society. They were for all intents and purposes the black sheep of the Marvel universe and they could save the world just like all the other “normal” super heroes could. I immediately asked for X-Men comics whenever I could. I couldn’t get full story arcs at the time but I had access to enough single issues to understand and relate to the X-Men and their plight.

As I grew older I began to realize that I shouldn’t let my diagnoses define me and with some missteps I began the long journey into trying to actually live a normal life. It wasn’t an easy thing for me to just try to change my mindset and for the most part I have been successful. I credit almost half of this change to The X-men in a way. They inspired me in my worst years of my life to stop thinking like there is something wrong with me. They helped me embrace who I was and brought me back from a really bad state of mind. I always maintained that I haven’t kept up with the X-Men that they are MY super team. They helped me when I was low and I won’t ever forget the service those comics did for me. I hope that some day the X-men will help another kid like me.

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One thought on “The X-Men and Mental Health

  1. This is awesome, my blog is exactly what you wrote about superheroes and mental health. I have a bachelors degree in psychology and I combine that with comic book characters and also my faith so this really spoke to me.

    Like

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