Iron Man 3 – did Tony Stark have an anxiety attack?

It happens to superheroes as well as mere mortals!

My worlds have collided :)  I love Iron Man, work as a psychologist and have had anxiety myself – my head is about to explode!

In a way, I think it is kind of cool.  You can still be a superhero and have anxiety on the side. Why cool?  In a word.  Acceptance.

Millions of people can see Tony Stark have a panic attack and not only relate to it, but hopefully, it can debunk the secrecy and stigma.

Almost all of us will experience some form of anxiety in our lives, but most of us do not talk about it.  You might feel ashamed or see it as a sign of weakness or vulnerability instead of seeing it for what it is – a build-up of stress.

Tony Stark / Iron Man and a build-up of stress.

Well, he certainly has a lot on his plate.  And he is smart enough to get anxious.  There is no sarcasm meant there.  If you read on, I will explain what I mean.

Tony Stark is nothing short of a genius and shows us the price we can pay for intelligence.  I am talking about any form of intelligence – the capacity to think.

Iron Man – the suit, if I were to compare that to an animal that does not think about life the way you and I do, would feel fear when necessary and then carry on.  You and I, and Tony Stark – the man, can think.  To worry.  To analyze.  Like you or I, Tony Stark, along with his thought processes and worries, can start feeling anxious.

If it encounters something that creates fear, an animal will not worry about it in bed later that night or go over and over again like a movie script in their head, agonizing over every detail.  You and I, and presumably Tony Stark, do.  That is where we get into trouble.

The original fear has gone, but worrying, thinking, and rehashing things in our heads lay a blueprint for anxiety.  In a way, we are hard-wiring thoughts and feelings into our brains.  We are laying down the foundations for an anxious brain.

Hopefully, Iron Man will get us all to think that we can feel the effects of our intelligence in the form of anxiety.  It is not something to be afraid of or ashamed of, but something that can be learned from.

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