Batman has always been my favorite comic book character and superhero. Yes, I am well aware calling Batman a superhero is always up for debate, but I consider him a superhero just as much as everyone considers Iron Man a superhero, so that should put that conversation to rest 😀
I can’t even say it’s something specific that has always drawn me to Batman. I remember as a little kid watching the Adam West series in the morning before going to school. I think that may be my first glimpse of Batman. Of course, what really got me into Batman was the Batman: The Animated series. I still consider that to be my favorite iteration of the the characters. For a kids series, it was dark, the way Batman should be. The voice acting Mark Hamill provided for the Joker is still the absolute best, and Kevin Conroy has yet to be topped by any other Batman voice actors, in my opinion.
I was obsessed with that show, and I would watch it every single day after school. I also remember around that time my dad let me watch the Batman 1989 movie when it aired on tv. That movie blew my mind, and I still love it to this day. Between that and the tv series, my love for TMNT and Ghostbusters had been overshadowed by Batman. I remember getting my hands on some Batman comics as a kid, and just being glued.
Yeah, I used to also watch other superhero shows and read comics back in the day, but it was Batman that pulled me in the most. I remember it being his lack of powers being a big selling point for me. Also, as a kid, there was some emotional depth for me to see someone who lost his family and had to learn how to deal with that his entire life and how it affected him.
As an adult, Batman is still my #1 favorite superhero and comic book character. I am obsessed and I always will be. Not just because he is a badass and has the best villains, but because of the depth in the character. I have nothing in common with Batman or Bruce Wayne, and yet I feel myself drawn to the duel life he leads. Especially when it comes to my secret battles with depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, etc.
I kept my issues a secret my entire life, for the most part anyway. I used to stay up in the middle of the night and just cry, and I never understood why. I was letting the misery out. I had a different personality during the day, and I let my emotions out in the middle of the night in the only way I knew how.
As I got older, I turned to drinking in the evenings, and if I wasn’t doing that, I would just dwell in my dark thoughts and hope that someday id have the courage just give in and kill myself in the simplest way possible. What I was doing was far from healthy, but it was the only way I knew how to cope.
I finally opened up about my struggles to my wife in the summer of 2015, and I even ended up having myself checked into a hospital after my suicidal thoughts were about to send me to my grave. Since that time, my life has been a weird roller coaster. Lots of high points, and lots of low points, but it has been a different experience now that I don’t feel like I have to keep it a secret anymore. It is still not easy at times, but I would say it is easier than before.
I’ve gone to counseling to face my demons, and I am still facing them daily. My struggle now is just figuring out my identity as a man and human being in general. Being an adult isn’t easy, especially when you have no sense of direction for so long, and feeling lost just adds to the depression, anxiety, and other dark parts of my mind that love to feed off of bullshit.
It was not even until the start of this year that I had a sense of direction for my life. Mental Geek was an idea in my mind that I knew I should act on, and I have. I am also teaching myself web development, and getting some small client work now. I am also now working as a Barista at my favorite coffee shop and making a decent living from that. I am also putting in hard work to get into shape, so I can feel better physically and it also has helped me with my self esteem.
The problem now is finding balance, and I feel confused as to which part of my life the real me, and what part is me putting on the mask at night. Like Bruce Wayne, I still sometimes feel like I am living a duel identity, but unlike Bruce Wayne, my habits are becoming healthier. Maybe none of the ventures I have taken in my life require a mask. The only villains I face are the obstacles life can and will throw my way, and I don’t have to let those defeat me, no matter how tough they may be.
I know I am a flawed person, and I know I have to overcome the darkness in my mind from time to time, but I can turn that around for something positive. I believe I have. This is why I still love Batman. Bruce tries to take the darkness to do the right thing. Those stories often show his battle with sorting through the right and wrong, and trying to truly do the right thing.
Bruce/Batman both often feel alone, and that was me for so long. I felt like I was alone, but Bruce always had people by his side that care, Alfred being the most important. I have people by my side that care, and I always have. I was never alone, and I am not alone now. We don’t have to fight alone. Find your Alfred. Find your Robin. Find your Batgirl. They can be friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Reach out to someone if you feel alone. You will be surprised to find that there will be someone who cares, and it may be someone you least expect.
And maybe it was a stretch trying to tie Batman into my own depression recovery, but like I said, I love Batman, so I’m not even sorry about this 😀