When it comes to mental health, comics are valuable tools for shedding light on topics such as depression and bipolar disorder. Superheroes are just as vulnerable as anyone else and their mental health struggles have been captured in vivid detail. Superhero Mentality reveals the positive mental health routines of characters who battle with their inner demons on a regular basis.
Daredevil is a prime example of a superhero who struggles to cope with depression. A long term sufferer of depression, Matt Murdock has found purpose by fighting crime. As a blind superhero, Daredevil has the potential to be a role model for people with visual impairments. It’s why I’ve put together a routine of how I think Daredevil would manage his condition and explain how it can be positive for people who suffer from similar disorders.
Going to the gym
In my opinion, a real life version of Daredevil is Manchester poet Dave Steele. Dave has Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that caused him to lose his job when he was first diagnosed. Dave’s depression was extremely severe, but he managed to overcome it through writing poetry such as his Stand By Me RP collection.
Dave is a regular gym goer and has found a regime that is suited for his condition. For example, he makes use of a smith machine bench press.
To start his day off, I think Daredevil would go to the gym to lower the risk of becoming stuck inside of his head. Physical exercise has been linked to mood improvement through the release of endorphins. I’d see Daredevil’s workout routine being a mixture of cardio, aerobics and weight training to match his acrobatic fighting style.
In memory of his father, Matt would incorporate boxing into his routine. It’s thought that boxing has positive mental health benefits such as reduced stress and constructive emotion channelling. By focusing his attention on a boxing bag, Daredevil could stop his mind from overthinking and keep depression at bay. Superhero Jacked have come up with a brilliant Daredevil workout routine for anyone who’s interested in training like The Man Without Fear.
The fact that Daredevil goes to the gym is a great reminder that people with visual impairments can find workout routines that work for them. There are a range of physical exercises that a blind person could potentially engage in. This might involve doing a power walk with a guide dog or carrying out stretching routines in a yoga class.
After going through lawyer cases, I’d see Matt winding down with a book. Reading is considered to be an effective stress reliever and can help to stave off thoughts of depression. By reading about characters who are going through similar issues you may discover ways that are useful for managing your condition.
There’s a huge range of braille novels for people who suffer with eye problems. Braille Bookstore is a dedicated source for braille literature and I can imagine Matt ordering from the website.
Assistive reading technology is also available for the visually impaired. This includes electronic magnifiers, optical character recognition and HD smartphone lenses.
Visiting blind charities and giving advice
Daredevil is an empathetic person who cares about giving back to his community of Hell’s Kitchen. It’s why he’d take the time to visit charities such as Henshaws who are dedicated to supporting people with sight loss. Henshaws is a Manchester based charity that helps to make a difference in the lives of the visually impaired. They offer training courses, mental health support and family services. They also have a huge online resource centre called the Knowledge Village.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Matt visited the Henshaws College, which offers education for students aged 16-25 who have sight and learning difficulties. He might give a presentation to the children about how the blind can lead successful lives or speak to them individually and create a feeling of hope.
Daredevil’s words could impact Henshaws alumni like Susan, who suffered with cataracts and dry eye syndrome. She managed to find solace in Tai chi classes and other courses. According to her “there were times when I felt quite depressed; not being able to do the things I wanted to do on a daily basis would get on top of me. Coming to the groups at Henshaws has changed all of that.”
Hanging out with friends
It’s easy for depression sufferers to feel isolated, even when surrounded by other people. Spending time with the ones who understand the condition is a helpful coping strategy. Matt has that in his best friend Foggy Nelson. Matt and Foggy’s friendship is built on years of trust, dating back to their early years in law school.
During times of extreme depression, Foggy has been able to remind Matt of the positive things in life. If you have a friend like that, never be afraid to talk to them about your problems. It’s not a burden to share your worries or your thoughts with someone who genuinely cares. Alternatively, you can also seek support from mental health groups like the Samaritans.
Spending time in church
Given his Catholic background, Daredevil would likely find the time to go to church. Matt’s view of his depression is linked to his religious beliefs. He has referred to it as a demon that consumes everything it touches.
“Depression is a living thing. It exists by feeding on your darkest moods. And it is always hungry. Anything that challenges it – anything – it wants that thing to stop. Anything that makes you feel good, anyone who brings you joy, it will drive away so it can grow without interference.”
By going to church, Daredevil is able to take comfort in the ritual of prayer. It keeps his mind focused on something he believes to be greater than himself. A church has the capability of being a happy place. It’s filled with colour, music, hope and light. Through acting in the service of God, Daredevil brings meaning to his life. A feeling of purpose is one of the most powerful methods of combating depression.
(Please note that Superhero Mentality isn’t meant to be taken as lifestyle advice. Everyone is different. What works for one person might not work for someone else. This segment is designed to encourage mental health discussion and spread positivity. This edition was written in collaboration with Henshaws.)