Capes on the Couch Transcripts Issue 188 – Robbie Baldwin Transcript

Issue 188 – Robbie Baldwin Transcript

Issue 188 – Robbie Baldwin

Anthony: Hello and welcome to Capes on the Couch, where comics get counseling. I’m Anthony Sytko.

Doc Issues: And I’m Dr. Issues.

Anthony: This is issue 188, and we are going to be getting a little Catholic here. We’re going to be talking penance, guilt, all of the things that Doc and I were taught many, many times in our four years together in, in a Catholic high school.

But specifically we’re going to be talking penance in the form of Robbie Baldwin, AKA Speedball, who he’s probably more. Popularly known as. But before we get into Robbie Baldwin and all of his myriad issues that he has to deal with, it’s a little late, but happy six year anniversary to us. It was early March of 2018 that we released our first episode on Eddie Brock. And it’s just really fun and, and fascinating to see the, how far we’ve come, how the show has evolved, how many guests and, and other shows that we promoted or other shows that we ourselves were guests on that are no longer around.

Doc Issues: Yeah, that really weighed on me. I was thinking about that.

Anthony: I mean, and great shows too, that just pod faded for one reason or another. And I, it’s funny, I actually reached out to a podcasting friend of mine. We’ve since become Instagram friends that we just send stupid memes back and forth. And I was like, Hey, by the way, I have a great idea for an episode of your show.

And I would love to come on and talk about it. And he was like, that’s fantastic. I’m not doing the show anymore. At least not full time. It has been several months. He said, I was thinking about making the height as permanent, but I think I’m going to do it, you know, a little differently on my terms because And stop me if you’ve heard this before, it got to be a little much of a grind having to constantly churn out episodes and then deal with the social media and the promotion and this, that, and the other, and it stopped being fun for him.

And it started to just kind of weigh on him. And he was like, I don’t want to do this anymore because it’s not fun. And I was like, Yeah. I don’t know what you’re talking about. And I say that half tongue in cheek, but as long time listeners know, we have taken hiatuses before specifically to give ourselves a break from that.

And I think that’s why, you know, it’s six years and yet we’ve only done roughly 200 episodes. If you factor in all of the other creators on the couch and all the other guests that we’ve had on, et cetera, et cetera. But we’re still here. By hook or by crook.

Doc Issues: Dude, honestly, think about that. Six years though, over 180, like just traditional.

And then, you know, all the other things you mentioned, I mean, you’re going at a 30 episode a year clip. If we’re talking TV production, man, that’s actually pretty darn good.

Anthony: This is true. Yep. Yep. Your average network series is what? 22 episodes. I mean, I know we’re in the era of streaming and everything now where it’s like, oh, we’re just going to give you a 10 episode season and then you have to wait three years for the next 10 episodes.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah kind of deal. But yeah, six years go us. And speaking of the guests in the sub series that we’ve had and some of the other bonus type content we are proud to announce a new sub series, a new pillar of content, if you will. We, we are, you know, main series is Capes on the couch.

Obviously we’ve got. Numerous creators on the couch where we talk to comic creators, typically writers about the books that they’re working on. Our new series is going to be called Colleagues on the Couch, and that is going to be where we interview mental health professionals about their work in the field.

We’ve got some fun superhero ish questions, but the focus is going to be a lot more keyed in on the mental health field and. Some of the things they like about it, some of the things they don’t like, what got them interested, what’s something they would change, et cetera, et cetera. And I think it’s going to be a fun way for us to kind of rekindle some of that spark and not just remind us why we do what we do, but also offer tips and resources for listeners out there to find other mental health professionals that are covering different aspects.

We did the mental health Avengers and that was, you know, all the podcasts that cover mental health on, on various aspects of pop culture, but people doing good, hard work that might not otherwise Get credited or might not get some of the exposure that they would otherwise get.

Not that we’re grand platform, but you know, just saying, Hey, let’s, let’s bring some of these other lesser known heroes to light and, and talk about some topics that maybe they wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to discuss. So that’s going to be coming later on this year. It’s going to start off, we’re, we’re going to kind of build up a bit of a log with the Episodes and the Patreon folks are going to get first access to everything.

And then over time, as we, we build up the backlog of stuff, we will we’ll be dishing those out on the main feed for all of you lucky folks. So stay tuned for that. Very excited. We’ve got one interview lined up already. We’re in the process of scheduling a second one. And I literally have like a list of about a dozen or so cool people that I want to reach out to. I know Doc certainly has several folks that he knows that would be interested in coming on the show. Talking about things. So we’re just, we’re really excited about it. And, you know, again, after six years, you gotta do something a little fresh, a little interesting just to keep things moving along.

Then with all that being said, let’s check out the background on Robbie Baldwin. Robbie Baldwin, aka Speedball, created by Steve Ditko and Tom DeFalco in The Amazing Spider Man Annual No.

22, January 1988. So Robbie Baldwin is a Connecticut high school student who’s bombarded with other dimensional energy during an accident at a lab he works at. The explosion gives him endless kinetic energy, which also creates a protective force field around him. He calls himself Speedball and begins working as a teenage superhero.

Which comes into conflict with his father, who’s a district attorney, who despises masked vigilantes. He later joins the New Warriors, but his frequent trips to New York to join the team create stress on his home life, and his parents divorce shortly after learning the truth about his abilities, because he’s been hiding it from them for an extended period of time, and the absences just really trigger a whole mess of problems and fighting.

At home, which then makes him want to go to New York more because he’s like, I want to get out of the house. I don’t want to get yelled at. It’s just really stressful. I’m going to go fight crime. I don’t need to deal with this. I’m going to go save people. He doesn’t say that to his parents, but they’re like, where are you going?

Why do you keep going to New York? It’s very dangerous there. But

Doc Issues: there’s, there’s another part to that though, because his parents, they are also kind of different in their personalities and you already mentioned his dad, his mom is so I’m trying to remember. She’s a, oh my goodness. I’m trying to remember what she was, but the point was she’s, she’s much different on the social end of the spectrum.

And part of what she does also. lends her to want to be more out and about. And that’s also why I remember even reading this when they were getting divorced. Basically, Robbie had to choose. He had to say like, which one he was going with. And he ends up going with mom because it would be easier to, you know, be around New York.

Anthony: Yeah. So he joins so as I said, he joins the new warriors. Now we get to civil war and this is, we can’t talk about Robbie Baldwin without talking about civil war. So he and the new warriors attempt to capture a group of villains and Nova. Explodes. Killing 612 people, including 60 children. Robbie initially was thought dead, but turns out he’s the only survivor.

And he’s also initially the only survivor because comics. Hashtag because comics. His kinetic fields kept him alive, but as a result of the overexertion, he loses his powers. He was found in a field, I believe two or three states away. Because the explosion sent him flying 612 people died and then several other people, I believe two people died because they were in proximity to him when he landed and then two more people died because of exposure to the field that was blown out when, when he died.

So after being arrested, he is shot in the spine by a father of one of the children that was killed in the blast and this leads to him changing his mind and registering under the superhero, superhuman registration act, because up to this point, he’s basically saying, I’m just being treated as the fall guy for this.

I didn’t kill anybody. I’m not responsible for these deaths. Nova is the one who exploded. Why don’t you arrest him? You’re only dealing with me because I’m the only one who’s, who’s alive. His mindset does a hard 180 after getting shot. And he goes fine. And he almost goes full, dare I say, nihilist almost.

With his response to everything,

he registers, which now means he’s a free man. He’s the most hated man in America. He has a new suit made, one with 612 internal spikes to cause him constant pain. Because as he begins to discover, pain is the new trigger for his powers. Whereas previously he could just think about his abilities and use them.

Now, they only come into play when he’s in pain. So he creates this suit with 612 spikes, one for each person who died, 60 really large ones for each of the children that died. This causes him constant, constant pain, and he calls himself Penance. He joins the Thunderbolts, or he’s assigned to the Thunderbolts, I should say, where he’s under constant surveillance.

He steals a shield jet and makes his way to Latveria, where he defeats Dr. Doom in combat. Dr. Doom gives up because to continue fighting would expose the underground nuclear plants that Doom has and there’s a satellite overhead that’s trained on Latveria and the fail safes are falling and if they continue to fight then then the satellite will see that Latveria is trying to harness nuclear power in violation of some treaty and it will give the U.

S. an excuse to invade, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, he didn’t beat Doom, but, you know, in, in a one on one combat, but Doom was like, Doom concedes, so you can have what you come here for. Which is Nitro. Nitro is being held prisoner in Latveria. Robby puts the spiked suit on Nitro to torture him and he goes, You’re going to try to commit suicide and this suit is going to take all of your energy and send it back to you times 612.

Because that’s the number that he’s fixated on. For obvious reasons. So after Doc Samson is able to make headway with Robby in several therapy sessions, Norman Osborn has him heavily sedated and manipulated by another therapist in order to keep him in a mentally fragile state for Norman Osborn’s own machinations.

After a battle with some of his former New Warriors teammates, he’s able to break free of the conditioning. He reveals his identity because as part of his penance costume, he’s got a full mask over his face and you can’t see who he is. He joins Avengers Academy, calling himself Speedball again, in an effort to seek forgiveness for his previous actions, although he still has a lot of the penance, guilt, and attitude when he’s dealing with the kids.

But after defeating a group of villains at the Stamford Memorial site, he quits the Academy. and teams up with his old teammate Justice to reform the New Warriors, where they recruit Sam Alexander, aka the New Nova. And we can go listen to our same episode on that, among others. And he begins to lighten up a little bit and find some joy and joie de vivre once again.

And most recently, as part of Oh gosh, it just went right out of my head. The storyline where nobody under 21 can be a superhero. I forget what they called it. In any case, he joins cradle where he’s enforcing the law, preventing anyone under the age of 21 from operating as a superhero. And his whole point is I was a teenage superhero.

I was reckless and irresponsible. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. Isn’t

Doc Issues: that a current Netflix documentary? I’m not even saying that to be funny, like in terms of like child actors or something. I don’t know. I was seeing advertisements or something like that.

Anthony: I don’t know about that. I know I, I, my wife and I saw a trailer for one about a girl who was like kidnapped and brought to some farm in upstate New York.

That was like a boarding school, but It was really a cult and it was a whole thing. I I’m intrigued by it and I’ll check it out.

Doc Issues: But was it, was it run by someone named Xavier? No,

Anthony: no, it was not. You’re not, you’re not terribly far off though. I know that’s a hot take, but Charles Xavier is not exactly a saint.

But in any case, we’re here to talk about X Men because Speedball doesn’t have any mutant powers, but he does have a lot of issues.

So the first issue will go kind of chronologically as it were. is conflict with his parents over being a teenage superhero. And this is certainly not unique to Robbie.

This happens with Spider Man famously and Aunt May and all of that. Anytime you’ve got a young superhero, we saw it with Kamala Khan and her dealing with all the struggles. It’s, it’s very common for teenage superheroes to have this ongoing issue of struggling between what they feel is their greater responsibility to saving the world.

And also their home life and trying to keep things peaceful at home. All

Doc Issues: right. Take the superhero part out of that. You got a teenager that’s trying to deal with keeping the peace at home when parents aren’t getting along, but you don’t have to take the superhero piece out of it because you have a teenager that is really trying to do things with their life.

So yeah, it definitely plays in well. So now you have the dynamic of a couple that are responsible for your existence, and I’m actually going to give the positive benefit of the doubt. Let’s say that both parents are actually very loving and caring and doing everything that they think is appropriate to make sure that this child has the best upbringing, has the best resources available to them, and The child is actually doing well, maybe exceeding expectations in certain parts of their life, but still adolescence always involves a lot of change, a lot of growth, and a lot of emotional responses that may or may not be favorable.

So. What’s the big kicker here? And let’s be real. The big kicker here was the divorce. It’s, it’s actually very well covered in the comic. They make it clear that they love him, but you also have one parent that actually does not approve of what the child is doing and says that it’s the antithesis of what the They want the child to do.

So you can picture a lot of realistic scenarios with that, be that substance use, be that LGBTQ plus, be that you know, or just dating in general. They think it’s too young. If we’re talking early teenagehood and I’m going to go ahead and call this out on myself, like when we were making the decision for my daughter to get a phone, it was like, Oh dear God, the world is about to collapse.

Because we are making this decision of, of technology and all of existence being in the palm of her hand. I mean, you know, so some of them are minor, some of them are humongous decisions you know, college decisions, choices, or not going to college, going to the military, but your family is pacifist. I’m giving all these examples because I don’t want to pigeonhole what this type of thing can mean.

All of it just means that, and, and get ready for every side of this to be ticked off at me. There’s not necessarily a right answer. You don’t have to change your beliefs of everything that you have stood for your entire life because your child is going a different path. But that also doesn’t mean that you should love them less.

And that doesn’t mean that you should withdraw support. As a child, you have every right to explore who you are and who you’re Continuing to develop to be as an adult. That doesn’t give you a right to truly damage yourself or to truly start to cause harm in society or to others. And your parents have every right to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Notice what I’m doing here. I’m not giving carte blanche to either side, but I am acknowledging how sometimes that can be either correctly or incorrectly interpreted. And a lot of this is going to come down to just how much energy everybody has to find what they consider to be the proper set point. I don’t know what that is because in every family it’s different amongst each other.

What I’m getting at is, please, please, please take the time and effort. to explore different set points, how they make you feel, how the others feel around you, and if that’s something that you want to continue moving forward. Because it’s a lot better to make small adaptations in real time, than to have it all happen once that person, at least in the state we live in and in many places, turns 18 and magically, superhero or not, Everybody has to do everything themselves because there isn’t any other way society views it.


Anthony: it is incumbent upon us as parents to provide our children with a safe haven. The world is, and can be, a very dangerous place. And I hear so often from other parents, and I’ve seen it stated numerous times in the media and social media, etc. That there are parents who say, well, The world’s a tough place.

I need to make sure my kid is ready for that. I’m going to toughen them up.

What ends up happening the overwhelming majority of the time, I’m not saying it’s foolproof, but that just creates a wedge between the parents and the child because the child realizes the world sucks. And home sucks. So I’m going to find a place that doesn’t suck.

I don’t discount the idea that the world certainly can be a cruel, unfair place. I think if anything, we’ve certainly seen that play out numerous times in myriad ways over the past several decades, if not all of frankly, human existence. But I don’t think, and this is me personally, I don’t believe the solution should be.

to make home just like the real world. I don’t believe in this escapist fantasy where the home is a, a bubble completely detached from any semblance of external reality.

You have to give your children a safe place to be themselves, to know that if they make the mistakes, there will be consequences. But that consequence is not loss of love or respect or safety and sanctuary. And I see so many times parents holding conditional demands on their child. And I just, it really, really irks me.

And I, I put conditions on my children all the time, but not about love. It’s well, if you don’t clean up the toys, then you don’t have room to play the next game that you want to play. If you throw the food on the floor, then you don’t get to eat it anymore. But it’s natural consequences. It’s directly related to the actions that they take.

It’s not, if you do this thing that I don’t want you to do, I’m going to punish you by taking away your TV. There’s no connection there. It’s not a direct causal relationship. All this to say, the Baldwin’s did not give Robbie safe place where he felt he could Be himself, be the, the new version of himself.

And that’s really sad. And it’s not Robbie’s fault at all, regardless of what he perceives later on. And I know he deals with a lot of the guilt and, and associated stuff, but we’re certainly going to get into that. The stuff with his parents is not his fault. And to any of our listeners out there that are experiencing this or have experienced this, your parents choices, if.

You had a difficult childhood. If you had a problem in your relationship, if, if there were any kind of those conditions put on you. I am telling you now, I was not in your house with you, but I can say with full confidence with my whole chest and with no regret or hesitation whatsoever, none of what happened was your fault

whatsoever. And if you can find a way. To let that go, whatever guilt you may be feeling, whatever residual, whatever, whatever residual emotions you’re holding on to about that, talk to somebody, but realize that what your parents put you through was not your fault and you should not hold yourself responsible for it.

I’m not telling you what your relationship with your parents should be. That’s not for me to say. What I can say though, is they should have loved you unconditionally, regardless of who you were, regardless of what you did, and That I don’t know how else to say it like that. All right.

Doc Issues: Well said then.

Anthony: I just, I feel very, as you can tell, I feel real strongly about this, you know, just as, especially as a parent, I tell my son all the time, nothing you say or do will ever make me love you any more or any less, because that’s the other thing.

A lot of parents say to their kids, nothing you ever say is going to make me love you any less. But it’s also not going to make me love you anymore. Like, I’m already there. I’m already at the top. So you don’t have to worry about trying to please me and you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re going to upset me.

Be you and I will love you no matter what. I say that to both of my kids and I feel very confident that Robbie didn’t hear that from his parents and that’s a shame. So now that I will get off my soapbox for that, because that’s, you know, the parental stuff is, like I said, something I have a lot of opinions about and a lot of experience dealing with.

I do not have experience with the next two issues that Robbie deals with and these are Obviously coming directly out of civil war. And the first is survivor’s guilt, plain and simple. A lot of people die. Hundreds of people died. Wasn’t directly Robbie’s fault. He was related and it’s been a long time since we talked about survivor’s guilt.

So I feel like this is as good an opportunity as any to kind of get back into it.

Doc Issues: And yeah, this is a perfect topic for it because you usually don’t get this clear cut of example. I mean, if the people that are in your cohort. I’m not even talking about intentional cohort. It doesn’t have to be, let’s say a platoon.

It doesn’t have to be people that know each other. If you’re the sole survivor of a plane crash, if you simply, and, and honestly, there are a few takes I’ll admit I haven’t discussed on the show before. It can also be. The random decision survivor. What do I mean by that? Let’s say, I just gave an example, plane crash.

You, for some reason, overslept. You missed the flight. So every fiber of your being says that should have been me. So it wasn’t just, why did this happen when I was directly exposed to the same thing that other human beings were exposed to, it’s also, why did these sequence of events happen to everybody else that was supposed to be involved except for me?

That’s just a slight tweak on it, but still can produce just as intense and as painful an experience. It can lead to people trying undoing, meaning, Well, if I’m not supposed to be here, then how do I make that happen? So the, the most direct idea is suicide, but it also can lead to reckless, just generalized actions that almost, you know, psychologically recreate events that say, well, something bad’s going to happen to me because I deserve it.

Obviously a maladaptive way of, of handling it. It removes agency. It’s the idea that in general, we like to think that. The actions that we are taking are rational and are a direct consequence of what we want to do, as opposed to being out of our control. When the locus of control is completely shifted, not just to someone else, because we can usually accept the idea that somebody else is doing something and it’s in competition with me and I lost, like that’s, that’s something that psychologically we can, we can process.

We, cause we know, Hey. You beat me this time, but I can beat you next time. I’m exaggerating for effect. It’s not all, you know, that, that clear cut. But what if it’s just nature? If it’s a matter of, you know, hurricane blows through people that were in that particular area. So many people flooded out, you know, and it doesn’t have to be immediate death, but they lost everything.

They lost their homes. They’ve lost, you know, all that was near and dear to them. And yet your house is the one that’s standing. And you still have all the things that you think are important to you. I’m giving variations just so that people recognize there are other types of experience that, that this can happen to.

And the reason I’m saying is, it’s not just that it’s not under your control. You can’t even identify per se, the thing that is quote unquote, the cause. We love the idea of narratives. We love the fact that everything is a story that has a beginning, middle, and end. The part that. Part, part of what creates such emotional disturbance with survivor’s guilt is that it totally shifts the story.

You don’t know where you’re at in it. You don’t know if you’re at the beginning, the middle, or the end, and more importantly, you’re no longer in your mind. The main character, something else larger than you is, or some other entity is, and you’ve been the pawn. Some people take it a little different way.

They may actually flip it and say, I’m for whatever reason, singled out, I’m special. Oh my God, I’m special. What does that mean? What responsibilities have now been thrust upon me that I didn’t expect to have to begin with? Now I have to be the monolith. I’m the representative Of all the people and everything that happened.

I’m the only one that anyone can even ask about this particular event because nobody else is around to talk about it. You also become named, heaven forbid, if you’re the sole survivor of something. No offense, but. Many people, when they see you, if they recognize you may say like, Hey, aren’t you the blah, blah, blah.

Now that’s what you’re synonymous with. And all the other parts of who you are are stripped away for the sake of convenience. You know, I, I, the more we do this podcast, the more I realize that we can have the same topic in theory, and somehow we find ways to bring different aspects to it. And I know you mentioned before, we don’t want to, yeah, we don’t want to get stale.

And yet I think just because, and I’ll be honest, partly is just because of our friendship, but also it’s the nature of. mental wellness and, and, and mental illness where there’s just so much variability because every single patient case is an N of one. So when it comes to survivor’s guilt, I don’t really care what variation you have.

Every patient that I’ve had, I’ve said one thing and it may be the wrong thing to say, but I, I think as a human being, I think it’s important to say, Thank you for being here, because. It means I got the chance to meet you. I like to bring it back to just the pure basics of interaction. We’re on this to, you know, we’re all in this together.

I don’t know exactly why or how for this particular one, but let’s just keep it to us and take it from there rather than worrying about every other thing happened along the way.

Anthony: It’s, it’s funny you bring that up. I just finished watching the movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. the other day, the Tom Hanks movie about Fred Rogers.

And I’ve spoken before on this show about how I believe Fred Rogers to be one of the greatest living individuals in the history of humankind. And that although I’m no longer a religious man, I believe that if there is a God, and if there is someone who perfectly embodied what it is to be a Christian in the sense of what Jesus instructed people to do, It would be Fred Rogers and being interviewed by a reporter.

The movie is somewhat loosely based on an actual Esquire cover article, cover story on Fred Rogers, and they took a little bit of liberties with the author, character, et cetera, et cetera, for the purpose of dramatic license. But in his initial phone conversation with Fred Rogers, he says to the reporter, Do you know what the most important thing in the world to me is right now?

And the reporter Lloyd Vogel says, no, what? And he says, what’s talking to you, Lloyd Vogel mean that whatever Fred Rogers is doing at that moment is the most important thing to him. And over the course of the several interviews that they have together, Lloyd goes from this There’s got to be an angle.

He’s working people. There must be some difference between Mr. Rogers, the character, and Fred Rogers, the man. And over time, he determines, no, Fred Rogers is every inch of the man millions of people watch for decades on television. There was no facade. Who he presented was exactly who he is. And I’m telling all this because I think it ties into that point of whatever you were saying, whatever happened to get us here, we’re here now.

So let’s focus on this and let’s work with what we’ve got because all this time and energy that we could spend trying to figure out how to undo what has happened or worry about the circumstances is futile. It is what it is. And that’s a phrase I have on a sign in my office. I wear it. I have a hoodie that says it.

And I do that to remind myself, not in a defeatist way, but in an accepting manner that at the end of the day, there are so many things outside my locus of control. And for me to sit and try and rail against every single one of them means I’m not getting the things done that I need to get done. And I think.

Robby very much was dealing with, at least in, in the beginning of, and I, I said this before that he spends a lot of the early part of his incarceration saying, I shouldn’t be here. I, I don’t belong here. I’m not the one who killed these people. And a lot of that is probably some of the guilt talking that, you know, he’s, he’s putting a lot of that on Nova.

Not incorrectly, I might add. But it’s how he then does the full 180 and begins to internalize literally and figuratively everything else about it. That’s where he really has a lot of the problems that he’s dealing with. And he causes himself so much mental and emotional and physical anguish over this, that, you know, it’s so destructive to him.

And obviously. He overcomes it, but I just wish that he didn’t have to put himself through all of that to begin with. And that’s not getting into the whole, you know, penance was a ridiculous swear for the character, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, dark and edgy, yada, yada. That’s just I’m talking strictly about Robbie Baldwin as a person, as a character that I wish that he could have found a different way to express that guilt.

I’m not trying to argue he shouldn’t feel some guilt or that, you know, or that or to be dismissive of it. He could have found a better way.

So the third issue, and this is again related to the Stanford incident, is severe PTSD. That when he’s out there, there was a, a mini series following civil war called penance unleashed something along those lines.

Anthony: I forget exactly what it was called, but it was, it was a five part mini series. And that’s what covers him going after nitro. And because of his PTSD, he becomes hyper fixated on. numbers. He literally memorizes nuclear launch codes and he begins hyperfixated on whatever the number, I forget, it’s 612 squared.

This is all such a clear case of PTSD and again, understandably and justifiably so. Yeah,

Doc Issues: all right, so I don’t know if we just have to do this for each anniversary year because that’s about as often as I bring it up because I really don’t like focusing on it. Ladies and gentlemen, here’s, here’s the DSM.

All right, exposure to actual or. Threatened death, serious injury, or violence in one or more of the following ways. Directly experiencing traumatic event Okay, yeah, we got it. So this was the easiest first criteria ever. Sorry, look, I know it’s not funny. I apologize. All right, so the actual Symptoms after you’ve had the exposure.

Recurrent involuntary and intrusive distressing memories of the event dreams in which the content is related to the events, dissociative reactions like flashbacks feelings that it’s happening again large physiological reactions to those, trying to avoid. The distressing memories or trying to avoid situations that will remind you of those events.

And then negative cognitions, negative thought processes related to the events. So basically. You start developing the type of self view that says not just that bad things happen, but somehow I’m a bad person because of it. Or that, when things go wrong, it’s not just that, wow, bad thing happened.

It’s, this is the worst thing that has, that’s going to ever happen. And I need to make it right. You know, And then of course, like just all the physical things that people usually think about with PTSD, heightened throttle response, hypervigilance, needing to keep your back against the wall just to see what everything’s going on at any given time, all those things summarize PTSD.

This is something that I have to be careful with because I’m not pretending to say that I’ve ever had any such diagnosis myself. I have had many patients that have experienced it. The one thing that I will say is that I did have something that was considered a traumatic exposure and I remember Immediately, like the next night, it wouldn’t qualify for post traumatic simply because it was so short.

Cause if it’s in the immediacy, it’s called acute stress disorder. But the point is, I remember having nightmares. The nightmares were directly related to it. I had significant emotional responses where I had to kind of shelter myself away from the rest of my family temporarily, and thankfully all of this resolved within 48 hours.

And I haven’t had anything like that ever since. What I’m getting at with that is, that was a glimpse of Of what a person may be experiencing for the rest of their life. And if that’s the case, I can say that that is not something that I would wish on anybody on this planet. So anybody that’s, you know, experienced these types of symptoms, I, I feel you.

I can’t even say I hear you. I feel you. With someone like with Robbie, I will give some credit here because even with how He’s been handled up until recently. I will say it’s realistic. You’re not going to automatically be this bright, cheery person, even if you don’t have the same level of acute symptoms that you did before when the trauma was first happening.

But you can still live a great life. You could still contribute a lot to society. It doesn’t have to be this black box of darkness that you just close in for the sake of your own self preservation and protection. So, I, I do want to say that. It doesn’t all look the same, exactly. Now having said that, I do want to address the elephant in the room when it comes to something like PTSD because I have noticed that some people will use it as almost, and I have to be careful with this because it’s not meant to be disparaging of, for example, the military.

Some people actually start to kind of wear it as a badge of honor with the idea of, of saying, I can have explosive reactions because, insert whatever you want to insert here, because I survived an attack, or because I served my country, or because certain things happened. That’s not meant to be disparaging.

What I’m saying is, the actual, even the diagnosis itself, but the, the response to it is that, in this case, Robby ended up wearing a suit that was pointing all of the pain inside, but the part that was the superhero part still was that he would absorb the pain and then unleash it, multifold, on everything around him.

That, in the context of fighting criminals and evil villains and all that stuff, that sounds really cool. And for those people that are dealing with Post traumatic stress symptoms and are still doing their type of job that exposes them to even more trauma. I give a lot of credit, but at the same time it carries that risk.

And that’s what I wanted to point out. That you may be doing something that Robbie was doing as well, where You may be wearing your pain like a badge of honor, but in doing so, you may be spreading that pain more than you ever imagined. So if someone’s giving you the hint about that, please, please recognize that rather than just using this modest level of strength to gut through what you’re doing, you can find an even higher level of strength by seeking out the help that’ll continue to help you.

Allow you to be the person you really are meant to be.

Anthony: Very well said. It’s like Robbie wears the suit internally, but the pain gets sent outward. Everybody that’s a lot of what you were describing happens all the time. Obviously there’s no suit, there’s no powers. The pain that’s supposed to be reflected internally. isn’t, it doesn’t stay there anyway. Not to say that the people undergoing this don’t obviously experience some internal pain and frustration and emotional turmoil and strife, but it’s not limited to them.

That’s PTSD is a very hard thing to deal with. And I don’t wish it upon anybody, either the PTSD or the inciting incidents that lead to it. So unlike the first two, I’m not really going to. Expound much more beyond that. So we’re going to take a break, plug a couple of shows and we get back. We’ll get into treatment.

Stick around.

And we’re back. So treatment.

Oh, does Robbie have the power? Oh, does he have it? What’s he going to use it for?

Doc Issues: Yeah. You can’t tell me that you create a suit like that and think that someone like me is not going to find a way to incorporate that into treatment. My point is though, you’re not using that suit. We’re going to be modulating like a mofo.

Okay. So it’s not going to be spikes. Some of it may be stress relief. I know this may sound wrong. People just, just. It doesn’t have to be everywhere on his body, but what about a massage suit? What about a tickling suit? What about a deprivation suit? In other words, there are many ways to experience things internally if you’re going to use something like that, and I don’t understand why you’re limiting it to pain.

If you can create those other sensations and once again, find out how you’re going to process them and show them back outward, multifold, give yourself that opportunity, Robbie, come on, man. This dude could have been the ultimate care bear. He could have been spreading like so many other feelings to people rather than what he chose.

I’m just saying that’s it.

Anthony: Who wants a body massage.

I’m sorry. When you were talking about the massage suit, that was just the first thing that popped into my head was. Body massage.

Doc Issues: All right. And for anybody that doesn’t get that reference, I’m not trying to give Anthony,

Anthony: Joe,

Doc Issues: okay.

Anthony: I’m saying like, go make yourself a pork chop sandwich and then go look it up on YouTube.

We’ll have links in the show notes. Oh,

Doc Issues: fire, fire. Get, get out, get,

Anthony: get out of that. What are you doing? You stupid kids. We’re to get out of here. Jesus Christ. Oh, He told me and, and he said, and I don’t, and I don’t know. You just

Doc Issues: got sad. All right. All right. We’re, we’re really

Anthony: off. Okay. Anyway. Early YouTube.


Doc Issues: love it. Yeah. All right. I’ll, I’ll transition that. So, so out of universe, we have We have a gentleman who, you know, had a childhood partly of privilege, because I mean, if your dad has that kind of position there, you know, you’re not gonna probably want for much, but obviously some family turmoil with the, with the divorce has, you know, some serious You know, let’s go ahead and say on that scale, like a serious traumatic event whether directly involved or not.

And yeah, at this point has some survivor’s guilt, has some PTSD symptoms. Okay. So general modalities, of course Once again, almost irrespective of the diagnosis, creating a safe environment, recognizing confidentiality, that anything that you talk to the person about doesn’t have to be, you know, widespread news and won’t be.

Making sure the person considers themselves to be safe and others around them to be safe. The part that sounds like a political football and really shouldn’t be because it’s purely ethics and you know, good quality research, making sure that if the person does have a history of anything related to violence in, in the context of PTSD what their weapon access is and making sure that that’s limited or if they, you know, do carry that they at least follow the proper safety laws for storage at home so that They don’t immediately expose themselves or others to, you know, potential threat if that’s part of what’s going on.

With regards to different types of therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is my wheelhouse. Having said that, EMDR, which is a specific type of modeling technique that’s physiological, and it stands for the eye movements that are a part of it, for, you know, PTSD, if a person can tolerate it, not everybody can medication modalities that has to deal with different types, often in the SSRI, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors.

I’m not going to give specific names of them. You can look those up yourself, which carries its own risks related to potential side effects and things. But honestly, people, and I’m, I’m not saying this to be funny. Usually it’s higher doses when it’s related to PTSD that show the greatest level of efficacy.

And support groups. Those are all mainstays. One controversial topic that I’ll bring up that used to come up a lot, when it comes to processing trauma, as in like major events like this, it used to be that we would try to think, get people out in the field, have them process it in the moment, you know, go over what they remember or what they saw happen or, or what they experienced, all of that.

For a lot of people, that’s not beneficial. And it can backfire badly. So that is not a mainstay anymore. So that may or may not be a part of it. If the person wants to process what happened, that’s fine. But if it’s very clear that it’s creating more of the symptoms, then yeah, we, we stopped doing that. And the last part of it is some people say, you know what?

I just don’t think I, I just don’t remember what happened. And it’s okay to say that. It’s okay to say like, you may not. Okay. You know, for whatever reason, if your mind blocked it out, it’s like, how are you doing now? If you’re functioning, if you’re feeling better than you did before, okay, go with it, similar to the conversation we were having, you know, with the issues themselves, like, it’s okay to feel better than you do now compared to before.

And it’s okay to not feel your best every single day because something crops up. Progress is not this perfect straight line. You know, line that gradually goes up into the right, at least in Western cultures, the way we do graphs it’s going to have, it’s, it’s, Oh, by goodness, I can’t believe it fits though.

It’s going to have its spikes.

Anthony: But boom. No, I say all the time, recovery is not linear and related to that is the expression that every day give a hundred percent, but what a hundred percent is on any given day is not going to be the same.

So if. We can show ourselves that grace and compassion and then in theory extend that to others. We’ll all be better off, eventually. It’s not a instantaneous thing. It’s not going to happen overnight. If we can get there one day, yeah, it might just be hope for humanity.

Doc Issues: Yeah. You just reminded me, and this is true.

Almost every patient I see I will tell them have the best day you can. I don’t say have a good day or I don’t say have a nice day. I have no idea what kind of day it’s going to be. Just have the best you can. Yep. We’ve

Anthony: talked about that before. And I think it’s, it’s a wonderful thing to say, and I’ve actually caught myself saying it.

A couple of times. I still say have a good day. Have a great day. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But if I think about it and if it comes to me before I open my mouth, which isn’t always a guarantee, I will say have the best day you can. Thank you, doc. You inspired me. And with all that being said, let’s see what happens now when we get Robbie Baldwin on Dr.

Issues’s couch.

Doc Issues: Hello, Robert. I’m Dr.

Anthony: Issues. Robert, huh? So, I guess this is meant to be that kind of encounter. Hello, Doctor.

Doc Issues: I didn’t mean to infer that your formal name implies a demure tone. I’ve seen Robbie in your chart. I mean, is that preferred?

Anthony: Whatever floats your boat. I mean, you mentioned my chart, so I take it Doc Samson gave you my records?

I mean, I, I said it was okay?

Doc Issues: Yeah, yeah. And I looked, but I don’t dwell on what other doctors have done, you know, even if they’re literal giants in their field. Anyway, what can I do for you now? So

Anthony: that’s what’s weird about a meeting like this. I’m not sure I’m in the right frame of mind to get help.


Doc Issues: either quite insightful or quite Dangerous.

Anthony: Why not both?

Doc Issues: Fine. Care to elaborate?

Anthony: Okay. Lots of lives lost. I’m involved. I almost die. I lose everything. That’s when most people think, hey, that guy needs therapy.

But the focus is not on therapy. It’s on blame. I even do it to myself. Work to be done, one way or another, I’m channeling it, revenge, yadda yadda, works.

Doc Issues: Parts of it work, but

go on.

Anthony: So, I’m seeing Doc Samson after all of that. Then I get some psychobabble manipulative nonsense, all on a court of some narcissistic bureaucrats that don’t really care about me, and it all comes tumbling down.

I still work my way out of that mess and I’m kind of bouncing around ever since. You know, I, I swear I didn’t intend that.

Doc Issues: Hey, humor is a great coping


Anthony: I used to think so. And then my jokes fell flat once people started dying. Doc, I got to ask you, do you, do you think people can change their personality?

Doc Issues: If you’re asking for my opinion on multiple person now,

Anthony: no, no, no, no, no. I just mean for the longest time. And I’m certainly no expert, but I’ve heard so many mental health folks talk about how some personalities can’t be fixed. I have a problem with that. I don’t think personalities are what you people think they are.

Doc Issues: This is way deeper than I expected. All right.

What’s your theory?

Anthony: So I had a chance to see the world in a new dimension, like really different. And I realized that it was all just a different way of seeing myself. So. When something catastrophic happened, I changed my mind. Now I’m left wondering, why can’t we all do that?

Like what limits a person to who they think they are?

Doc Issues: I,

I don’t pretend to know how to

answer that.

Anthony: And that’s why I don’t think I need this kind of help right now. Like you’re probably very great at what you do, but you’re looking for illness. I had that mindset too, and it caused me more pain. I don’t want to look for fragility. Or loathing, or any of that stuff, any more than I already have.

I intentionally walked that path with purpose. And even if I can’t get the brightness the way that I had it before, I know it’s there.

Doc Issues: Okay. So you rebounded well.

Anthony: So was that

your way of bringing levity or?

Doc Issues: I don’t know, man. I, I can’t quite read the room with you as well as I usually do. So I’m letting it ride.

On one hand. Let me say this, congratulations, okay? I’m humbled by your ability to endure disasters and maintain resilience. On the other hand, I’m getting a hint that there’s something always brewing with you under the surface, you know? Not to jump to conclusions, but Doc Sampson can be forceful. So he’s the type to challenge that head on.

Do that.

Anthony: Well, I guess at least I don’t have to worry about you punching me into the stratosphere when I get pissed off.

Doc Issues: All right. All right. That’s, that’s, that’s cool. You, you’ve got a nice laugh. You know what, seeing that part of you, I think I can answer your question better now, and, and I, I gotta admit, I, I was stalling to, to think I do think people.

can change anything they want about themselves within reason. There’s always going to be this friction, you know, both internal, external, it depends on their, I don’t know, their motivations, their energy, their habits and their support. So, you know, I think that’s true for each particular personality trait, and depending on just how much is involved, there could be a potentially longer timeline for those things that, you know, you’re You know, have adverse consequences in the immediate term.

Anthony: Now who’s getting deep.

Doc Issues: So I’m not pushing you to do anything you don’t want to do. I mean, if, if you’re having troubles with transitions, okay, that’s your sticking point, I’m

your man.

Anthony: Nah, the sticking points were for someone else.

Doc Issues: Oh, really?

Anthony: Sorry. I, I have a bit of gallows humor in me.

Doc Issues: Dude,

then I think any future sessions are going to go just fine.

Anthony: Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel guilty over the way that went at all.

So, so recommended reading is Civil War Frontline. And for our patrons, we just dropped a trade paperback review of Civil War Frontline, where we go over the stories, multiple 11 issue series. Or if you’re looking for something with speedball, I would recommend New Warriors. Volume 5 is a pretty good series.

That’s the one with Sam Alexander and where Speedball and Justice are kind of the, the older veterans of the team and they’ve got a bunch of new recruits.

So depending on if you want penance or if you want speedball, You’ve got two flavors of Robbie Baldwin. Upcoming episodes, we’re doing Deathstroke, then Jack Russell and Storm. So three very different characters all over the place. What I love about doing the show, why and how we managed to keep it fresh after six years is we’re not doing the same stuff over and over again, even if the episodes follow a pattern, the issues that we discuss and the things that we talk about and the way in which we talk about them is always changing and always evolving.

So you can listen to all of our episodes available on our website, capesonthecouch. com. We are proud members of the Gonna Geek Network. Check out our friends at Better Podcasting, Play Comics, Adventures in Aurelia, host of fantastic shows. Go to gegonnageeknetwork com and check them out. We are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Threads at Capes on the Couch, so feel free to interact with us on social media.

Join the Discord server if you want to have some fun conversations and chat with other fans of the show about the show itself or comics or TV or movies, music, whatever the hell you like. We’re here. We love chatting with you. We love hearing from you. If you like what you hear and you really want to support the show and you’ve got a little extra, shkarol.

Hanging around, go to patreon. com, support the show. You can unlock early access. You can unlock exclusive content, uncensored material, et cetera, et cetera. Or if you don’t want to support the show financially, you can leave us a rating and review on a platform that allows you to do so like Apple podcasts or many other pod catchers allow you to rate the shows that gets us in front of additional eyes and ears.

And helps spread the show. So there’s many, many ways you can support the show and help us out. We appreciate any and all of them. With that being said, before we head out, Doc,

Doc Issues: please people do not do speed balls to deal with your trauma, because as we’ve seen that many needles will just lead you to want to do penance.

Anthony: Yep. Don’t do speed balls. Do eight balls. I’m kidding. I’m kidding. I’m kidding. For Doc Issues, I’m Anthony Sytko. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.

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