I have blogged before how a technologically advanced human society in Star Trek gives me hope of a more socialist future. I looked up to Picard as a voice of reason and diplomacy but there are many other characters beyond Star Trek that have been hugely influential on me.
Superman from Man of Steel (2013) was my recovery film of choice and inspiration for processing trauma after staying in a psychiatric hospital. After I had ECT in 2015 my Mother suggested I lose weight. I briefly stopped almost all my medications for a period and lost 35KG.
I lost the weight by running increasingly longer distances. Initially I used to listen to the Man of Steel Soundtrack. Though I diversified by playing motivational speakers from YouTube. What I didn’t realise at the time was some of them were Christians who had overcome adversity.
It didn’t matter to me at the time. It wasn’t overt and the message seemed to get me to complete my runs. Les Brown was someone I listened to and he would say things like “you know the human spirit is powerful? There is nothing as powerful – it’s hard to kill the human spirit.”
My Mum died in 2017 and my Stepdad in 2019. I wanted to be “normal” with a full-time job and no stigma.I used to return to watching that Superman movie. Superman was my #ActuallyAutistic Rocky Balboa. He kept getting up no matter what the world threw at him and overcame adversity.
In the movie as a boy, Clark Kent has a meltdown at school. The classroom becomes too noisy and he ends up locking himself in a cupboard. He said “The world is too big mum” and his Mum answered “Then make it smaller”. I identified with him before I was even diagnosed with #autism.
The thought of Superman used to really pump me up and inspire me. He asks his father “Why am I so different from them?” He answered that Earth’s sun is “younger/brighter. You have grown so stronger than you can imagine. Keep testing your limits”. The “S” on his costume means hope.
Running races with the Rethink Mental illness vest was a symbol to me and a way to find myself. When it came to running Marathons I also saw it as a way of weaponising my mind in defence from Neoliberalism and Neorecovery. I thought I might be able to work full-time again.
During my training for long distance runs I started to research more about Superman. I then came to the realisation that he was a metaphor for Christ. He was created by Jewish writers. His birth name from Krypton was Kal-El which means “Voice of God” in Hebrew.
Once I became aware I could be Christian I allowed myself to be more influenced by the Bible. It was a tough read for me at first because my mind is more geared for literal interpretation. I began with a Children’s graphic novel of the Bible and selective verses that inspired me.
Superman goes through pain in the movie but there are moments of calm and clarity. Running marathons alone is no easy feat. There was genuine physical, emotional and spiritual pain I endured in training. I went beyond what was required for training.
I had moments of tranquillity of feeling the Sun rising and the feeling of quenching thirst in a dehydrating body. I had a few Transcendent experiences from running.
I was very determined to run a Marathon. In hindsight it felt like a personal crusade to get it done. I thought it would make me stronger to take up the mantle of a full-time job. It did make me stronger but not in that sense. It was my journey to humble myself before Christ.
I don’t think I was ever able to properly explain these experiences to Mental Health Services. I wasn’t even given much time either. Looking back it feels to me like I got drunk on the “Word of God”. I was perhaps guilty of trying to emulate Superman to recover.
As an Autistic person using mental health services with no wealth and family I don’t think Neorecovery is an unreasonable description. I will probably always be tragically ill or lazy to the system and many that serve it until I become a full-time economic utility.
As I have mentioned in a previous blog The Social Contract isn’t fair. I keep my expectations low. I try to keep the Bible as my ‘Shield of Faith’ and my ‘DIM US‘ framework close to mind to minimise further gaslighting and deprivation from painful ideology.