Writing a book was a dream of mine ever since I learned how to read. I was 3 when I was devouring children’s books. My health destroyed by the Chernobyl radiation, I was not allowed to watch television due to migraines and seizures. Often too sick to go to school, books were both my entertainment and my friends. And I swore that one day I would write one.
“What wouldn’t I give to be normal!”
(Mystique, ‘X-Men First Class’)
I grew up on fiction. It was brain food to me. I generally preferred to read books to just about any other activity. Over the past few years I’ve been incorporating fictional characters into Superhero Therapy. For me these characters hold a deep and personal meaning, after all, some of them actually helped me recover from my own traumatic history.
In the past mental illness was largely misrepresented in the media, especially in the movies and comic book industry, where the villains were usually ones with mental illness. We know that someone with a history of mental (or physical illness) can be a superhero too and I’m glad that more films, TV shows, and comic books are now starting to demonstrate this point. In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark appears to have symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and while he is struggling, he is able to do what’s necessary to protect others. Similarly, in Gail Simone’s version of Batgirl, Barbara Gordon struggles with PTSD and her paraplegia due to the fact that Joker brutally shot her in The Killing Joke. And now there is a new hero with mental illness, Aura.