TW: Anxiety Attack
I almost threw up three times recording this episode. Hyperventilating is not a fucking joke, oh my god. I ended up just recording 30 seconds of it and then overlaying the tracks. The takes where I didn’t do this tended to sound better, so…there’s a mix, and just know that breathing at the still technically acceptable rate of 20 breaths a minute would kill me.
Some of you out there breathe that fast naturally. How are you alive?
Uh, I’ve had two anxiety attacks in my life, mostly due to my aversion to thinking about death, but the first one ended when my mother said “don’t do that” which sounds fake as hell, but that woman can be terrifying and even my brain knew to knock it off. The second one ended with her coaching me through some breathing exercises. None since then, but I’ve noticed a trend on television where people use anxiety attacks as a joke and , I don’t know…
I felt like the portrayal was vastly inaccurate. Anxiety attacks are fucking scary, doesn’t mean that people who use humor as a coping mechanism can’t make it funny, but I felt like the attack itself shouldn’t be the entirety of the joke.
This person has anxiety, haha, get it? That’s it. That’s the joke.
A few of my close friends have anxiety disorders. I actually asked one of them for feedback on the episode. I wanted to handle this…right, I guess. I mean at it’s heart InCo is a snarkfest, so it couldn’t be super duper serious, but I didn’t want to downplay the issue, and I also didn’t want to be insulting. Hopefully, I struck a balance here.
I don’t know.
These days, I’m anxious a lot of the time, and I wanted a character who was a bad ass who did have the occasional anxiety attack and managed to find a way to keep being bad ass about it. Also, I think it makes her feel more real. A lot of hard-boiled (is Nova hard-boiled?) characters drink away their problems and whatnot, then they find closure and all their issues disappear. See the MARVEL movies; Valkyrie in Thor, Tony Stark (he makes therapeutic programs, but I don’t think they ever show him going to therapy about it), hell, even Jessica Jones doesn’t go for it. THE poster child for traumatic backstory prefers to just drink away her issues and punch the shit out of things.
I’m not saying you can’t be badass, drink, and punch the shit out of things while going to therapy. I’m just saying that American popular media seems particularly adverse to having heroes even hint at going that way (Even in end-game, Cap runs the group therapy circle, he doesn’t attend). Like powering through trauma and symptoms only to have a cathartic release when you’re forced to confront the issue, is the only way to go about things.
The point is, having a character battle trauma and continue to lash out and go through the motions of therapy and try to resolve things in a continuing manner, can be just as violent, emotionally gut wrenching, and interesting as the super hero movies think it won’t be. I mean, I can watch Hawkeye go home and play with his children for 20 minutes, but can’t have a five minute scene in a therapist’s office?
SPOILERS for a lot of Marvel Movies
Imagine how interesting it would have been to have Peter Parker trying to deal with how Stark died in front of him, without admitting he was Spider-man and trying to crack jokes, all the while trying to insist that he’s perfectly fine, while his therapist is looking at him like “this child is full of bullshit”. It would make him feel heartbreakingly human, and I think it would have put so much more weight on the moment when Mysterio shows him Stark’s grave with Iron-Man saying, it’s your fault. Hell, we could even have Mysterio, look up Parker’s notes and craft a realistic scene of Stark tearing Parker down. Like, you want to talk about a moment of violation and pain? You want us to know that Mysterio is a monster? That would be it.
Or don’t weaponize it at all.
Instead have Hawkeye go to therapy after his family disappears, watch him wrestle with his emotions, get something out of it, and still go out hunting and killing baddies because going to therapy doesn’t magically make all his problems disappear. Have Natasha struggle to find space in her schedule to drive him there and back. Watch her drop him off at the therapist’s office, pick him up, ask him how it went and then boom, she finds him surrounded by bodies. We’d get a much better idea of who Hawkeye is, and how he’s feeling and we’d feel Natasha’s helplessness and disappointment. We’d understand their relationship better and that moment she sacrifices herself might have legit made people cry.
I mean, come on, there’s so much character development that you could have at a therapist’s office and you’d normalize going to therapy. Like, it’s a fucking win-win.
Also, just to clarify, SAWA is not a therapist. She is a robot with protocol programs, so Nova makes do with what she can. Anyway this one was long.
This one’s easy. I almost threw up three times.
Usamah: crouching and getting up dress
jskrundz: carpet footsteps
Humga: heavy fabric dancing
Danhelbling: stumble and fall
Peridactyloptrix: servo noises
Lipalearning: Soft Impact