It's been reported that Zack Snyder has stepped down as director of the upcoming Justice League film following a family tragedy. His daughter, Autumn, committed suicide and Snyder is taking much needed time with his family away from work to heal. My heart goes out to Mr. Snyder. I'm lucky enough to admit that I've never lost a parent, sibling, or child in my lifetime. I can't imagine the pain that comes with that. It's tragic and heart breaking. My thoughts and prayers are with the Snyders at this difficult time. I'm not sure what happened to Autumn, and maybe I don't want to know, but I'd like to share something here that maybe could help someone in the future.
I'm someone that has suffered from Depression my whole life. Some days it's as mild as just being kind of bummed out for no reason. Other days, it's as severe as not wanting to get out of bed. I know lots of people that suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. Sometimes it's utterly terrifying. Truthfully, the best medicine is laughter. Learning to laugh and make yourself happy. It's exhausting but usually worth it to get through a tough day.
My depression was at it's worst several years ago when I first moved to North Carolina. I was in a brand new city, a brand new state, a job I had no previous experience with, and worst of all I lived all by myself. At first I was excited to start my new life. Little did I know that a new life is super challenging and more often than not I was completely alone. I had very little money despite working two jobs, all my friends lived 600 miles away, and I was single. My parents lived in the same town and my dad worked in the same office, but it wasn't the same as having peers my age to hang out with, drink with, laugh with, etc. It was a scary time for me.
Since I didn't have much money, I couldn't afford to get my comics every week. I was upset till I realized I could ask for subscriptions for Christmas! I didn't want to be greedy so I only asked for three (one from each family member) - Batman, Green Lantern, and Justice League. When I had more cash living at home I was getting 10-15 comics a month. I was bummed that I was missing out on other comics but I was happy to get these. Batman was just starting the R.I.P. storyline and Green Lantern was leading up to Blackest Night. I don't remember what happened in Justice League because the quality of that comic kind of went down with changing writers and artists and it wasn't as good. That was a bummer. Nevertheless, I was still happy.
After about a year, when I was finally making a little more money at my office job and paid off some of my debts, I decided to go back to buying comics on a weekly basis. I was able to get more than just the three in the mail. I was able to catch up on what the other DC heroes were doing as well as the Marvel ones. I was getting New Avengers, Dark Avengers (which I really miss by the way), Ultimate Spider-Man, Action Comics, The Flash, and a few others that I would pick up randomly. As much as I liked comics when I lived in Erie, I think I fell even more in love with them while I lived in North Carolina. The comics made me feel less lonely and gave me something to look forward to every week. Every Wednesday on my lunch break I would drive to my local store, get my books, and read as many as I could before I had to go back to work. It became a weekly ritual for me. Something to keep me happy and excited.
It was during this time I started to kind of get to know (so to speak) the different writers and artists on my favorite comics. It was how I figured out that Geoff Johns was my favorite DC writer and Brian Michael Bendis was my favorite Marvel writer. I grew to appreciate their different styles and the different artists that they worked with. I was able to attend Comic Cons in New York City as more than just a passing fan. I could bring books for them to sign, sit through their panels, and even talk to them and gush over their work. As I said, my oldest sister was able to join me at other Cons and we could enjoy the experience even though most of it is just standing in lines for like a year! But I digress . . .
So what am I trying to say here? What is this about? Well, at a time in my life when I was all alone, scared, depressed, and homesick while trying to make this new place my home, I found hope in comic books. Every week I could dive into new adventures of Batman, Superman, the Avengers, or whoever. Every week I had something to look forward to and be excited about. Every week seemed less sad and more optimistic. Over time, I was making more money at work, went on several dates, made lots of friends, and my outlook on life was better. What helped get me to that better place was my favorite superheroes. I can honestly tell you that those comic books saved my life. Granted, they may not be anything special but having something to look forward to every week was a big step in getting better.
Maybe I sound like a crazy person with all of that, but it's the truth. It's something I've never really shared with anyone before to be perfectly honest. I know what it's like to feel like there's no reason to live. I know what it's like to feel like no one cares for you and it would be easier just to fade away. It's an awful, all consuming feeling and sometimes it feels like it will never end. But you know what? It does end. It's never too late to make a change, find a new hobby, make new friends, find a new lover, find a new religion or whatever may help you. For me, comic books were companions I had every week to keep me happy when I was sad.
I hope this post finds someone that needs it. This was my story how I overcame a difficult time in my life with comic books and superheroes. I don't know what your story is but I hope you find it. Because when you look back, you'll be so grateful to whoever or whatever helped pull you out of that funk.
To anyone that may need it here are a couple of websites dedicated to helping people thinking about suicide and suffering from depression: afsp.org JEDfoundation.org
Please get help if you need it. Those comics not only helped save me but they inspired me to be a better person. To be a hero just like Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, etc.
Now you know a little bit more about me! It's hard to talk about this stuff sometimes but I like to share it here because this blog means a lot to me and I like putting my thoughts and feelings out there for the world to see! I hope this helps someone who may need it!
Till Next Time!
JJ - The Comic Junkie!