I am many things, some moreso than others. But two things you can undeniably categorise me as are:

1. A movie nut.

2. A man with a lot of mental health issues.

To give you some idea as to my mental health track record, here is a list of all the things I have been diagnosed with: Obssessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression, Tourette's Syndrome, Dyspraxia and Bipolar Disorder.

In addition, I have spent a fair bit of time in anger management. I was on prozac for four years from 17 until 21 for both OCD and depression; a drug I was left addictd to, thanks to the poor help I received.

I spend most social situations worried that I am saying something inappropriate or offensive to others, because my dyspraxia has left me with a lack of ability to understand some social situations. Whilst dyspraxia is most commonly associated with coordination problems, it can also affect you socially in a similar way to autism does.

I have constant tics, mostly with my neck and face, which my students (I am a teacher) ask me about and comment on to death. The only solution I have been given for this is going on resperidome, which is a drug that not only kills me, but also messes with my bipolar medication.

I am, however, far happier now as a 28 year old man than I have ever been; having been put on the right medication for my bipolar disorder at 25. This medication has helped me think in a way I have never been able to before. In the morning I take sertraline and at night I take quatiepene.

So, to the point of the article.

I am a movie nut. As a teenager, my friends would go out on a Saturday night - not me! I would split my time between writing scripts and stories, and watching movies until the early hours of the morning. Forget underage drinking at seventeen, I would likely be having a Star Wars marathon.

I find my escape in movies and, more recently, books too. And there are some movies that have been influential in helping me cope with all these issues.

Here they are...

Outlaw

When I was fifteen, I was a bit of a punk - or "greebo" as they were called when I was a kid. (Have you heard this word? Yeah, most people haven't...) I had spiky hair, baggy jeans, a denim jacket with pactches on - you get the drift. This was how I wanted to dress, but it inevitably drew the wrong attention and, at fifteen years old, I was attacked in the middle of a busy town centre on a Saturday afternoon.

Everyone walked past and did nothing to help me.

This left me terrified to go out. Any time I saw someone that made me feel even the littlest bit nervous, even just a bunch of rowdy lads having a good time, I would make whoever was with me hold back, finding my hands shaking and my heart racing.

I couldn't even walk down to the post box on my own. This went on for three years, until I was eighteen. My OCD would tell me what would happen if I set out through the door, with graphic images imprinted onto the forefront of my mind, and I would completely believe it. It spread to other parts of my OCD as well - if I didn't touch something an even number of times, it would tell me someone would punch me in the face as soon as I left the front door.

This film is about a group of people made to be scared by the yob culture of the UK. It shows them standing up to it. It taught me that if you get punched in the face, you aren't going to break like glass.

This led to my anger turning very hostile, and I ended up getting into fight after fight at school, rarely ever getting caught for them. Someone would say something I didn't like and I would start on them. It took me a while to learn to manage that anger, but it still gave me the confidence to leave the house, knowing I was not going to get hurt if anyone did start something.

As it is, no one has.

Donnie Darko

It's hard to explain how this film helped me. It showed troubled teenager, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who had many mental health issues.

Perhaps it was seeing someone deal with the stigma mental health had attached to it. It's minutely better today, but ten years ago, mental health automatically meant you were 'crazy.' This showed a character I could relate to and identify with - and you can never underestimate how much a relatable, troubled character can help a young person with issues.

Prozac Nation

A not very well known film featuring Christina Ricci as a young person who goes off the rails. It showed that the stereotype of depression isn't always the reality. Yes, depression can leave you sat still, refusing to move, refusing to get out of bed, extremely lathargic - but it can also lead to you acting out, being stupid, and being promiscuous in order to get the self-confidence you desire so, so much.

This is what that character did, and I am greatful that I could watch what happened to me happen to someone else.

Good Will Hunting

Well, if you haven't seen this film - what the hell is wrong with you? Robin Williams in one of his classic serious roles (you can tell it's a serious role because he has a beard), written by and starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

Matt Damon plays a troubled young man with huge intelligence and no ambition. I felt that was me... It was expected I would go to University, it was expected I would work hard in school, but it just wasn't for me. I did it go to Uni, yes, and I'm a teacher now so it's obviously worked out well. But I hated school, I dreaded getting out of bed in the morning and being dragged to a place that felt like a prison.

School isn't for everyone, and our society doesn't realise that.

The most intense scene in this film is the "it's not your fault scene." I wish someone would have told me it wasn't my fault.

Superman

Sometimes people with religious tattoos mock the fact I have the Superman symbol tattooed to me numerous times.

But I don't like religion. If anything, my atheism helped me battle my OCD way more than anything else did. (If you'd like to found out my about how atheism helped me battle my OCD - have a look at my blog on it here.)

Superman comics and movies taught me the difference between right and wrong way more than any bible could. As a child, my primary school refused to look into my issues I so obviously had (I wasn't diagnosed with OCD until 17, having had it my whole life.) Yet then were happy to give me detentions for refusing to pray in assembly.

So forget the bible. Superman has more ethics than that ridiculous book ever has.

Harry Potter

There's no particular mental health issues present in this film, it simply provided me with an escape. Both the books and movies have been addictive escapism for me ever since I can remember.

Sometimes, pretending in your mind as you drift of to sleep that you are a wizard and can escape the issues you have, can be all the help you need.

 

Have you got any movies that helped your mental health issues? Comment below...

Published by Rick Wood