jake

Here at ComicsVerse, we believe that comics can save lives. Take it from our CEO, Justin Alba, who said, “At a time when I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere when I didn’t feel like I had a family or community, I had X-Men, and they were my family.” Comics have been a safe space for so many of us. Because of this, we want to highlight just how much comics have truly saved our lives. This episode focuses on Jake. His love of comics taught him a new way of looking at his and others’ mental health.

How Comics Saved My Life, Episode 1: Anika

Jake: Growing up, I dealt a lot with depression and anxiety. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t depressed. It’s not always easy to deal with it because for me, my depression is just like a cloud looming over me that I can’t really shake. So even in moments where I know that I’m happy, and I know that I’m doing something that brings me joy, there’s just this lingering sadness for not necessarily any reason. Growing up, I never realized that I was depressed because it was just the way that I always felt. I’ve felt that way my entire life. I was harming myself pretty consistently and I wasn’t telling anybody about it. I still felt like I was wrong for feeling the way that I was feeling.

Jake: My brother who’s nine years older than me, he was the one who showed me all of the classic films, like THE GODFATHER and ALIENS. And eventually, that transitioned into him giving me comic books. So one of the first that I ever read was THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN. And then THE KILLING JOKE and A DEATH IN THE FAMILY.

Jake: Growing up, Superman was actually one of my least favorite superheroes. It always felt like he had a superpower that could get him through whatever obstacle was in his way. So even for someone like Batman, I felt like his victories were earned and I respected that a little bit more than what I viewed as just a godly alien who could do whatever he wanted to do. And then I read SUPERMAN “Grounded.”

Jake: And in SUPERMAN “Grounded” there’s a scene in which Superman attempts to save the life of a woman attempting to commit suicide, and the way he does that is just by talking with her. And the woman makes him promise that if, by the end of the conversation, she decides to still jump, that Superman will let her. And Superman stays with her all day. They don’t even talk for most of it. He just sits there with her. She ultimately decides that she wants to live. And if she has even one more happy day to look forward to, that it’s worth living.

Jake: That sort of changed the way I wanted to approach my friends or even strangers who I knew were going through what I was going through. Because no one ever sat me down and talked to me about what I was going through. And at times when I was sitting awake at 4:00 AM because I couldn’t sleep because of what was going on in my head, and all I wanted to do was harm myself, having someone just sit there with me and tell me that I was safe, or that I was going to be okay, would’ve meant the world to me.

Jake: When you’re going through depression or anything with your mental health, you tend to close yourself off because that’s ultimately easier than talking about it. But if you open up the door for someone else and say, “I’m here for you,” that can mean the world to somebody.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-74. You can also go online here.

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