*includes spoilers from various Marvel movies, yes, even Endgame*
I remember when I first learnt what Marvel was.
I was 12 years old when my dad took me to the cinema to watch Elektra. After the movie, he went to the bathroom and I was waiting for him in front of this big poster with Elektra on it – it was a promo poster.
And at the bottom, I saw this one word that changed everything: MARVEL. The poster was so huge and I was so tiny but I remember it like yesterday; I felt like I entered a secret world where anything was possible.
It was then that I learnt what Marvel movies were and how me loving Spider-Man, Blade and now Elektra made sense – I didn’t choose Marvel, they chose me. I literally never liked Batman or Superman, but I fell in love with Peter Parker and Elektra the second I saw them on screen.
So today I want to focus on the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and their wonderful characters that I practically grew up with. I want to look at how our wonderful superheroes can inspire us, people who are suffering from mental illnesses and help us get on with life.
As we enter a new phase in the MCU and we say goodbye to our beloved characters that we loved and adored for a decade, I want us to remember what we can learn from them.
I will try to write this without any tears because Endgame already made me suffer way too much. I mean, it was the only Marvel movie to make me cry four and a half times – in a room full of people that were loud as fuck.
But as Ariana would sing: I have no tears left to cry.
Here are 6 things depressed people can learn from The Avengers:
- We can all start over. Our beloved Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, rest in peace, was a wonderful fighter who had a lot of blood on her hands but she started over. The Avengers were her family and they accepted her with all her flaws and red history. She didn’t die with blood on her hands; she died a hero, she died a warrior. You too can start over, no matter how awful your past is.
- Accept the dark side of you. Bruce wasn’t always proud of Hulk but eventually, he learnt how to accept him and later became one with him. That thing you have inside of you that scares you, how about you try to face it? Because usually, the dark side we have inside is not really that dark, it’s just unexplored. And if the darkness really is that dark, then accept that it exists while working with your doctor through it. Especially, if you have something that you cannot cure.
- Forgive yourself for the mistakes you were taught to make. Bucky was brainwashed to become one of the greatest assassins of all time but not because he wanted to, but because HYDRA had him under control. When people learnt about that, they forgave him and accepted him. And he accepted himself, too, because he is actually a good man who was practically programmed to kill against his will. Sometimes we are taught to be a certain way but it’s not who we really are, and sometimes being depressed makes us do things we don’t want to.
- It’s okay to mourn what could have been. When Thor didn’t go for the head and therefore lost a chance to kill Thanos in Infinity War, he became depressed. In Endgame we saw him fat and lost. It’s okay to mourn what could have been, but eventually, you will have to start walking upwards and try again. And with the help of friends and people who needed him, Thor became the mighty God of thunder we all knew and love… and eventually he did go for the head. There are so many things we could have become if we were luckier but the reality is now. Mourn for the person you wanted to be but know that he/she is gone and you can only grow from the person you are now.
- Find friends who support you. Natasha and Clint had a beautiful friendship because they accepted each other fully. How many of your friends will be there for you no matter what happens? When Hawkeye lost his family after the snap he went completely dark, but Natasha was his safe haven, with her he could go back and start over. So again I ask you, how many of your friends will be there for you no matter what?
- Find friends who understand you. Steve, our beloved Captain America, suffered from PTSD after being frozen in the ice and fighting in the war. He lost so much and missed the crucial points in history only to be awakened and brought to life to basically start fighting for his country again. He needed a friend and people who understood him and helped him, so he surrounded himself with people who were just like him. Sam Wilson and Natasha soon became his dear friends because they too went through trauma that they needed to heal from. And I believe that is the exact reason he gave the shield to Sam because Captain America is someone who stands up and fights and helps people even when he himself is still hurting.
We have watched these characters come to life, fall and thrive in the past decade. We have learnt to forgive them and learn from them. They became a part of our lives.
No matter who your favourite superhero is, whether that is Tony, Vision or Black Panther, we can all acknowledge how strong they are.
They fought evil and protected Earth. They gave their lives for their friends, families and billions of people on this planet. They may only exist in the MCU but that doesn’t mean we can’t look up in the sky and learn from Thor or Valkyrie.
My favourite superheroes are Spider-Man, Captain America, Black Widow and Black Panther. Every time I see them I feel a bit more hopeful. They may not exist in my reality but they sure exist in all of us if we allow them to.
- We don’t have to be superhumans to be superheroes.
- We don’t need a hammer or swords or arrows to fight the bad.
- We are already a somebody, we don’t need to become some else. Just better versions of ourselves.
- We are all capable of creating positive changes in the world.
- Not all heroes wear capes. Some work in schools, hospitals and police stations.
We are all powerful and capable of doing great work. Depression is hard and everything about it sucks, but ultimately it is on us to save ourselves.
If you like this post, you will probably like this one as well. In it, I write about what The Avengers can teach us about activism. As an animal rights activist, I am always trying to improve myself and my work so looking for helpful tips in my favourite movies sure taught me a lot about activism.
Let me know in the comments what have you learnt from our superheroes and how did you first learn about Marvel?
p.s. – Yes, I intentionally chose a photo with Nat and Tony because their death will never be taken for granted. They will forever be remembered as the first Avengers to have met and worked together. They will forever be remembered as two heroes who sacrificed their lives for others even though Nat was a cold-hearted spy and Tony was, well, a billionaire eccentric narcissistic playboy. Ironically, they were the ones to sacrifice themselves first.