Lessons learned from Thor.
A great way to start May is to talk about mental health. An even better way is to talk about depression & mental health through the lens of MCU heartthrob, Thor.
First of all, I saw long haired Thor was back and I was all like “yaas” but then quickly had to take in that this was a fallen off version of zaddy Thor. I knew it was really going to be something once I realized midway through that there was to be no corny sequence of him getting back into shape to be the Thor we knew in previous movies. But that the lesson. He was never meant to go back to who he was again.
The Thor we saw before us was depressed, inappropriate, and needed all the support he could allow himself to absorb.
Check on your strong friends.
Depression is running amuck in many a strong person’s life, because, strong. People continue to remain conveniently surface level with the strong people in their life. Asking me how I’m doing isn’t doing the job. Let’s be real, “blessed and highly favored” indoctrination has many of us in bondage right now. Ask me about something that you know has been stressing me out. See if there’s been any progress on things. Instead ask, “have you been taking your meds” or “how have you been emotionally since (insert depressing thing here). Let’s abandon the head nod type question that can answered with a brush off, “I’m good.”
High-Performers need love, too.
The humanity of Thor, as depicted, was for us to digest how people are people, regardless of wielding intense, elite, abilities. And what does that mean? Sometimes you’re going to have to pinch hit like Cap and swing that hammer on your friend’s behalf.
In my fangirling, my hat is off to the genuinses at Marvel who wrote Thor into the movie this way. How we reacted to how he showed up says a lot more about us than we think.
- Do we allow people space to truly feel their perceived failures?
- Do we expect high performance from the high performing at all times simply because we can? Why do we assume they get results with ease?
- Do we have the knowledge to even notice the signs of a loved one in distress?
- Do you know what depression looks like for the high-functioning?
- Did you say “Thor needs to get it together” or did you empathize with his falling apart?
We can’t always be at peak performance. It’s a damaging expectation that becomes devastating when stuff just doesn’t go our way.
Marvel had a whole Altar Call in there.
The spiritual part of the movie for me was when Thor heeds the words of his mother’s words: “It’s time to be who I am instead of who I’m supposed to be”.
That word from the ancestors was for ME. This is my current journey. Thor’s scene with his mom, and at the end, was an affirmation for me because I’m coming out of my own “Dad Bod Thor” period. The sting of failure intensified depression that already hovered over my daily life. I was on a path to being “dawcta Bryan” to now feeling pretty regular as the Operations Manager of a small non-profit organization.
I’m shining here, don’t get me wrong. However, this ain’t what I had been told for so long I was to be. Abandoning my PhD pursuit was a necessary move in self-love. The process made me feel unworthy, daily. Where I am now, I know that I’m more than deserving. My mom (cuz the theme here is God Bless mommas, right?) continues to tell me I’m special and that I’m doing more than well. And that has been a saving grace for taking t his detour in my life. Where I’m still iffy is whether I just wasn’t Thanos type committed enough to my PhD “destiny”. But then… we see how that destiny turned ole boy into ashes. So, I guess I’m good on that.
Interestingly enough, being on a road that I was not set up to travel actually does make me feel in control of my life. I’m free. Wandering a bit, but free.
I want my eyes to twinkle like Thor’s when he cried out “I’m still worthy” after being able to summon his strength to continue to be the elite dude he was born to be. Because I am.