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Supernatural and mental illness

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Ryan Klise

on 3 December 2015

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Transcript of Supernatural and mental illness

What is a Mental Illness
A mental illness is defined as a disease that causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines.

Until very recently, mental illnesses were not taken nearly serious enough. Mental illnesses are not just emotions, similar to how a disease is not "just an injury"
Media's Portrayal
Popular media often times displays mental illnesses as:
Unrepairable traits of a human being that will forever make them different, violent, killers or maniacs.

Nothing more than a "mood" a person is in that can be solved by a pat on the back and an "It's Okay"
Sam Winchester
Ever since he was a young boy, Sam's older brother Dean has always been there to do whatever Sam needed. Regardless of whether or not he asked for it. Dean did this out of love, but it allowed Sam to never have any real responsibility until he was practically an adult.

The reason for this is that Sam and Dean's mother died when they were both very young, and their father is to obsessed with finding his wife's killer to properly raise his two sons.

People are meant to have responsibilities, and eventually, the lack of them caused Sam to feel helpless. So he left his brother and father to go college by himself.
Sam Winchester Continued
Not long after he left for college, Sam finds himself in a serious relationship with a girl named Jessica.

What Sam feels is his first real responsibility ( his relationship) suddenly falls to pieces when Jess is killed by the same thing that killed Sam's mother.

Sam blames himself for her death, and gets angry. But not a fleeting anger, this is an anger that ends up staying
with Sam for years and years eventually
becoming an illness.

Contrary to what a lot of popular media would have
you think, even though Sam has fits of intense anger,
because he has his (usually) calmer brother to talk to,
Sam is one of the kindest and caring of all of the
characters in
Bobby Singer
When he is first introduced, Bobby seems to be the backbone of Sam and Dean Winchester. He is always there for them to calm them both down, and usually is the only reason they make it out of situations alive.

However, this becomes infinitely more impressive as we begin to learn more about Bobby's back story

Before he or anyone he knew had even the slightest notion that demons were real, his wife was possessed, and even though he tried everything he could, Bobby was forced to kill his own wife in order to save himself.

With an event like that constantly bearing on his conscience, Bobby will end up developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. So badly in fact that he freezes at the mere mention of his wife.

And if that was not enough to scar a person for life,
we later learn that Bobby has had to kill other family members...

Specifically his abusive father, whom Bobby relives killing in a flashback right before his own death.
Supernatural's Take on Mental Illness
The show, "Supernatural" decided to represent mental illnesses in a much more realistic light

Instead of crazy killers or unstable "useless" people, the people who suffer from mental illnesses in "Supernatural" are the "heroes".

The show sends the message that even when you're "broken"... with time, and support from the people you love, you can rise to the challenge and accomplish great things.
And that is, The Road so Far
Nobody Cares
That You're Broken
By Ryan Klise
Supernatural and Mental Illness
What exactly is a mental illness?
Sam Winchester - chronic anger
Bobby Singer - PTSD
Dean Winchester - ACA
Castiel - Abandonment anxiety

Also, potential spoilers to anyone who has yet
to watch the TV show "Supernatural"
Bobby Singer Continued
After everything Bobby has had to do in order to live, most of us would expect nothing less
than for him to be completely out of his mind, and yet, with the passage of time and the help
of those close to him, Bobby is usually calmer and slower to anger than anyone else.

PTSD is not something that Bobby will ever just "get over", however, he has learned to cope
and finds joy in helping others so they can avoid the horrors he had to live through.
Dean Winchester
At around 4 years old, Dean Winchesters life changed forever when his mother was killed by a demon (yes a demon).

Dean's father soon became obsessed with finding his wife's killer, and on top of this obsession, he also became addicted to alcohol.

At this point, Dean was about 6 or 7 years in age, but was forced to be an adult (to the best of his abilities) in order to raise and provide for his little brother Sam, as well as himself.

Throughout the years, Deans father's alcoholism and obsession made him less and less of a father. Sam was to young to know any better, but Dean still remembered what it was like before, what it was like to have parental figures.

This lack of a parent leads Dean to develop a plethora of mental illnesses often associated with Adult Children of Alcoholics.
Dean Winchester Continued
After growing up with no parents, Dean becomes obsessed with the thought of family.

Many times throughout the series, Dean talks about how he will do absolutely anything for Sam, regardless of the consequences.

Dean treats everyone he's close to with the same loyalty. Because family is all Dean believes he has.

However, as one may expect, since
his father was absent and an
alcoholic, Dean took after his
father and drinks to numb his pain.
Castiel, is by far, the most interesting of all of Supernatural's characters in terms of mental illness, and is the best example of how the show tries to send the message that having a mental illness does not make you less than anyone else.

Castiel, is an angel. Yes, an angel similar to those of which that are described in the christian religion.

The only difference is that, in the world of "Supernatural", god is absent, and has been for a long time.

Similarly to Dean, Castiel feels as though his father has abandoned him, but Castiel, instead of having a small close knit family, feels that the safest way to live is by himself. And that is what he does for hundreds of years.

It eventually get's to the point where Castiel refuses to remember/except that he even has emotions. He functions purely off of his twisted logic. He does not help people, he does not harm them, he just does as the higher up angels tell him.

He is basically the perfect soldier, but it is damaging to his sense of self, and the more he pretends that he is not hurt, the worse and worse it gets.
Castiel Continued
All of these things changed for Castiel when he meets Sam and Dean.

The love and loyalty between the two brothers allows him to break down his walls and feel again, because he actually has a huge heart, but was to afraid to open back up before.

Castiel is a great metaphor to show that, even the people that we put up on pedestals can suffer from mental illnesses (even an angel) and if it does not make them any less of a person, why should it for you?
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