Spider-Man Goes Crazy

I’ve been working on the new Marvel edition of Heroes, Villains, and Healing and thought I would share one of the new writing exercises I came with. Feel free to comment with whether or not it is effective.

WRITING EXERCISE #1: ANALYZING A MOMENT OF ANXIETY

It is not a matter of if you will have an anxiety or panic attack during the Emergency Stage, but a matter of when. This means being prepared when an attack occurs, how to interpret the attack after it has occurred, and how to prevent the possibility of future attacks. To help you along the healing process and moments of high stress during the Emergency Stage, I have added a graphic organizer that can help you before, during, and after a panic attack. (A larger version is available in the Writing Exercises chapter if copies would like to be made.)

 

Understanding Your Panic Attack Graphic Organizers

Understanding Your Panic Attack (Before / During)
Trigger(s): Hero of Villain Emotions
Identify the trigger which led to the panic attack, the location where it occurred, and what occurred during the attack. Does this attack identify more with a hero or villain? If you can, identify a comic or scene in comic or movie which seems to relate. Which emotions seem to be the strongest during the attack? This may require using the attached emotion chart.
     

 

 

Understanding Your Panic Attack (After)
Becoming Safe Beliefs About Self and Sexual Abuse Strategy for Future
What did you do to relieve the anxiety and become safe? Was it effective? What could you have done differently? What new memories or beliefs about yourself and your abuse do you now have after the panic attack? What can you do in the future to help prevent this attack from occurring, or lessen its affects.
     

 

To assist you in understanding how to use these graphic organizers properly, I will use them to analyze Peter Parker’s moments of high anxiety and stress in Spider-Man #24 (1963) “Spider-Man Goes Mad”.

 

Spider-Man Goes Mad

In this issue of Spider-Man, Peter believes that his superpowers have driven him crazy. The comic begins with Dr. Ludwig Rinehart visiting J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle. He tells J.J.J.:

“I am here on vacation from Europe! As a psychiatrist I am very interested in reading about this Spider-Man of yours! I have handled cases similar to his! From my experience, I can say he is a very sick man! You see, he is in a fantasy world now! He wants to be a spider…but, of course, he is a human being! It is only a matter of time before his Id and his Ego get so confused the he forgets who he really is…and then he will suffer a severe breakdown.”

Hearing this, Jameson becomes ecstatic and calls for an immediate extra edition of the Daily Bugle to be printed. The next day, Peter reads the article and becomes concerned about his mental health. After calling the Daily Bugle to verify the article is true (because Jameson prints whatever he wants as long as it has the possibility of bringing down Spider-Man) Peter races to go find Dr. Rinehart afraid that he may go crazy at any moment. He changes into Spider-Man and quickly swings to the Daily Bugle to find out where he can find the doctor. However, on the way, Spider-Man begins to hallucinate. He sees Doctor Octopus appear and disappear from a solid brick wall, Sandman attack and dissolve beneath his feet, and Vulture attack from the air only to vanish like the other two villains.img_1810.png

Spider-Man lands on a nearby rooftop and begins to panic uncontrollably. The superhero holds his head, cowers in a corner, and thinks to himself:

img_18121.png“I can’t go to Jameson now…can’t afford to be near anyone! Can’t let others see what’s happening to me! And what if it gets worse? What if I lose control completely? What is I can’t tell what’s real from what’s imaginary? What if I should start attacking innocent people thinking they’re dangerous criminal? I’d have to be locked up. Put away!”

Peter races home, hoping all he needs is a good nights sleep, but freaks out when he sees how white his is in the mirror. Fearing the worse, he grabs a copy of the newspaper and races out the door to find Dr. Rinehart.

As Spider-Man, Peter arrives at the doctor’s house. He rings the bell and enters only to see the room upside down. Dr. Rinehart is sitting at his desk on the ceiling, welcoming Spider-Man, and says he will help the hero deal with his hallucinations as best he can. Afraid of hurting the doctor, Spider-Man runs away, believing he is beyond help. However, seeing the other rooms in the house upside down as well, Spider-Man decides to stay out of fear of hurting innocent people on the street.

img_1813.png Dr. Rinehart convinces Spider-Man to stay and be analyzed. He holds the superhero as he covers his face and tells him everything will be fine, and when he uncovers his face everything is right-side up. While sitting on the couch, Spider-Man believes he sees Doctor Octopus, Sandman, and Vulture before vanishing with Dr. Rinehart’s assurance that he is in need of psychotherapy. Spider-Man agrees and lies back on the couch.

Dr. Rinehart tells Spider-Man the root of his problem is his dual identity. He tells the superhero he has to stop being Spider-Man in order to be cured. The superhero believes him, and moments before revealing his secret identity, J. Jonah Jameson bursts through the door and reveals Dr. Rinehart to be a fraud. The entire plan had been schemed by the villain, Mysterio, using projections and mechanized rooms and the comic ends with Peter walking off into the sunset with a pretty blond (it was the 60s, what do you expect?)

To help you understand the graphic organizer, I will complete the graphic organizer as if it had been written by Peter during his moments of anxiety and panic.

Understanding Your Panic Attack (Before / During)
Trigger(s): Hero of Villain Emotions
Identify the trigger which led to the panic attack, the location where it occurred, and what occurred during the attack. Does this attack identify more with a hero or villain? If you can, identify a comic or scene in comic or movie which seems to relate. Which emotions seem to be the strongest during the attack? This may require using an emotion chart.
– Reading an issue of the Daily Bugle in which Dr. Rinehart stated that Spider-Man would eventually go crazy.

 

– I was at Aunt May’s house when I first read the article. Next, I called the Daily Bugle to make sure it was true. Afterward, I changed into Spider-Man and went to find Dr. Rinehart. On the way I imagined seeing Doctor Octopus, Sandman, and Vulture, but they vanished in thin air.

 

– This caused me to really panic. On top of a roof I cowered in a corner and questioned whether or not I was going crazy.

– Well, obviously I’m a hero, but the fact that I was willing to give up being Spider-Man to ensure no one got hurt shows my willingness to do what needs to be done for the greater good. – Anxiety

– Fear

– Loneliness

– Confusion

 

Understanding Your Panic Attack (After)
Becoming Safe Beliefs About Self and Sexual Abuse Strategy for Future
What did you do to relieve the anxiety and become safe? Was it effective? What could you have done differently? What new memories or beliefs about yourself and your abuse do you now have after the panic attack? What can you do in the future to help prevent this attack from occurring, or lessen its affects.
– To relive the anxiety I caught the bad guy with the help of Flash Thompson and J. Jonah (I never thought I would say that).

 

– I did not have to jump to such quick decisions. I’m a scientist. I need to develop a hypothesis and explore all the correct answers before jumping to conclusions.

– I feel more assured now that I was meant to be Spider-Man and that I have to do everything I can to make Uncle Ben proud. – In the future I need to keep an eye out for signs that Mysterio is messing with my mind.

These organizers will help you understand the triggers which lead to attacks, and items to review with your trained counselor or therapist while in session. The only difference between your writing and that of Peter’s (other than the fact that he has superpowers) is that you should develop a safe place where you can manage your moments of anxiety while feeling the most comfortable. Read the section below to understand how to create your own safe place.

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