Updated: Jan 13, 2020
Joker by Josh Willis Batman by Umanoide Photo by Dan Myers
The Joker and Batman. Batman and the Joker. These two have been battling each other it seems like ever since comic books and movies have been made.
Recently (this week), I watched the new Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix. It was an interesting cinematic piece that humanized one of the most iconic Supervillains in history. Also, it highlighted the experience of living with a mental health condition.
Normally, I would have taken this movie and it's exploration into the world of mental health with a grain of salt. But 2 years ago, I personally dealt with mental health issues by way of depression and suicidal thoughts. It wasn't until I dealt with depression myself, that I became aware how big an issue depression is, in the lives of many.
Depression affects 20-25 percent of Americans 18 and over in a given year. Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. And each time an LGBTQ person is a victim of physical or verbal harassment or abuse, they become 25 times more likely to hurt themselves.
In contrast, Batman is my favorite super hero of all time. Normally, I am a Marvel Comics kind of guy, but The Dark Night is my dude.
What makes Batman so appealing to me, is that although he is a superhero, he actually doesn't have any super powers at all. No mutant super strength, no lazer beamed eyes or anything like that. He is ultra wealth and has unlimited access to the best gadgets and transportation one can lay eyes on, but no super powers.
I can relate to The Joker from my bouts with depression and am inspired by Batman that I too, can "conquer evil" without super powers.
After I watched The Joker, I was inspired to help people like myself and many others who may have in the past, or currently be dealing with depression.
If you have never dealt with depression or suicidal thoughts, that's good for you.
I would like to share as bluntly as I can what prevented me from committing suicide 2 years ago, and allowed me to manage and overcome depression. It is my intent that if you are currently dealing with these issues it will help you too.
Meditation- I started meditating about 9 years ago, and when I was going through my depression, I increased the frequency to every day and sometimes twice a day. Meditation is a stress reliever, decreases anxiety, and helps you stay aware of your connection with God.
Counseling- There is nothing wrong with seeing a counselor! When I first started to go to counseling, I thought, "wow, I must really be messed up". Counselors are skilled professionals, but for me, the biggest benefit was someone to share my thoughts with that I didn't have any effect on with my thoughts, actions, or my mental state. Talking to a counselor is like when you turn up on vacation because you know "those people don't know you" and will most likely never see you again. It was through getting counseling that inspired me to start coaching others in personal development. Now that by medical terms I am "stable", I still like to see my counselor sometimes just to get my thoughts out and for a "tune up".
No Isolation- Depression can be a lonely place and a lot of times, you feel like nobody understands how you feel. You either feel like you are in the dark and nobody can see your struggles or you feel like an outcast and you are different from everyone else. The worst thing you can do is isolate yourself from other people when you are dealing with depression. You may not be able to tell them exactly what you are feeling and going through, but find at least one person that you can tell that you are feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts. It wasn't until I dealt with depression myself, that I found out just how many other people have dealt with or are currently dealing with depression. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You are not an outcast or alien!
Purpose- Last but not least, what made me not commit suicide is that fact that I have a burning desire to fulfill my purpose for living and existing before I die. I thought about how I would be leaving my children to "figure life out" without a father. I thought about how my book would never see the light of day and all the people it could have helped improve their lives, but wouldn't. It's funny but the biggest reason that kept me from killing myself is now also the biggest reason why I want to live.
If you are reading this right now and you are struggling with depression, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are people like my who have gone what you are going through and can understand. If you would like to know in more detail how I dealt with my depression please contact me here: https://www.jameenwillis.com/
If you are having suicidal thoughts, I want you to call this number: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. They are available 24/7. Also, if you are hearing impaired or would like to chat instead, use this link: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
A quote by Myles Munroe says, don't make a permanent decision on a temporary situation. It may not seem like it right now, but how you feel is subject to change. You are important. You are not alone. You matter.