Inspired by a moving collection of pieces on how Star Trek has saved lives and salved mental wounds and trauma, I wanted to share my own story of how the franchise offered a light in during my darkest time.
Sparing some of the details, and for ease of editorial, suffice it to say that I went through something of a breakdown almost a decade ago. I was a mess, racked with depression and anxiety, feeling myself swirling with psychosis and panic attacks, hearing things that weren’t there, and scared to death that I was permanently broken. Through all this I managed to keep up a façade of normality, but I desperately needed something to tether myself to reality, to focus on because, at the darkest moments, I thought that ending it all was my only way out.
Star Trek was one of many antidotes I turned to, taking something I’d liked as a child and evolving it into a full-blown obsession. I bought boxsets and just immersed myself in those stories. By watching the crew of the Enterprise adventure further out into the stars, I felt more grounded here on Earth. By giving my mind a franchise so vast to focus on, there was less room for all the bad stuff going on in the background of my brain. Then there were those stories and arcs that mirrored what I had been through or alluded to struggles with mental health. Those were a comfort. I wasn’t alone and, the following year, I was sharing Star Trek with my now wife.
No, Star Trek didn’t fix me, but it offered a crucial lifeline to help me get over a hurdle so that I was better equipped to face the rest of the road myself. That was almost a decade ago and the franchise is still such a source of comfort and respite for me now. Whenever I’m feeling unwell, it’s to Trek I turn. The same goes for when I’m feeling anxious, or if I can feel depression creeping in around my periphery. This story is hardly unique which goes to show the critical function this franchise performs for so many fans. To all those – and to myself – I say, live long and prosper.