Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Hercules

What problems weigh on the mind of a demigod?

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By Tim Stevens Hercules presents as a physically fit adult male. He self-identifies as the demigod of Greek and Roman myth and claims that the pantheons of those faiths are, in fact, real. His attire for sessions, bare-chested, wearing a kilt, is inappropriate by current standards of dress and appearance, but appear to be entirely consistent with his day-to-day clothing. The client is typically boisterous, energetic, and mirthful. He clearly enjoys talking in session, but it does not seem to be merely to hear his own voice. Instead, the client appears to derive pleasure from storytelling for both the opportunity it grants him to showcase himself in a heroic light and the entertainment others take from hearing him. He will often arrive to session early or leave late, taking the extra time to regale

staff with some tale about fighting a multitude of centaurs who were upset with him for drinking their wine or battling a group of Amazons who had been stirred up by Hera. Despite his carefree demeanor, Hercules is capable of introspection and will, eventually, settle in enough to discuss his thoughts with the writer in a straightforward and honest manner. The client has been attending session in the wake of being poisoned by Hydra blood by a rival whom the client identifies as the god of war, Ares. While the writer is not aware of the chemical properties of Hydra blood, the client claims that it induces madness and hallucinations of an aural and visual nature and there is no reason to doubt this is accurate. Thus, after exposure, the client perceived himself to be back in time to when he was first contaminated by the blood and nearly killed himself to stop the pain. In the midst of this vivid flashback, the client hallucinated that his mentee, Amadeus Cho was really Iolaus, Hercules' young charge in ancient times. This further dredged up memories of his past that he has continued to perseverate on despite the Hydra blood having passed through his system. The most prominent of these memories is the death of his children and wife by his own hands in a state of either madness (if the myth is to be believed) or, as Hercules claims, a battle-induced frenzy. In order to best evaluate the client, the writer looked beyond his chief complaint, the unresolved feelings of guilt, shame, and rage stemming from his family's murder, to fully understand Hercules. A thorough psychological workup reveals several possible psychological difficulties to be aware of.

Chief amongst them is, as one would expect, the client's belief that he is a demigod. While virtually impossible to disprove, it is similarly difficult to prove. Belief in being a deity or near-deity is often associated with mental illness, particularly schizophrenia, and therefore it cannot be overlooked in a psychological evaluation. Hercules is also a heavy drinker. He predominantly does his drinking socially and rarely engages in behaviors that endanger him or others. However, he has also used alcohol in the past as coping mechanism, as when he believed the majority of the Avengers dead in the wake of the Onslaught attack. Finally, Hercules has a history of unstable attachment, particularly involving female partners. In addition to having a voracious appetite for the opposite sex that has led him to be unfaithful to previous partners, he has also been the near victim of manslaughter by one wife, killed another, and found that still another woman was nothing but a pawn used by Zeus to get one over on Hera. That having been said, all of these appear to be quality of life issues at this time. Thus, while the writer has made Hercules aware of them and recommended they be topics of therapy, it is ultimately up to the client to decide if he wants these issues discussed. At this time, it appears that he wishes only to focus on dealing with the reminders of past tragedies that are bothering him. The writer will respect these wishes until a time at which any of the above noted symptoms become therapy-destroying or life-threatening problems.

In the interim, the only recommendation is twice monthly therapy for the client and that he maintains an ongoing journal of any flashbacks, vivid dreams, daydreams, or similar memory-related phenomenon that revolve around the mistakes he made during ancient times. Given the seemingly temporary state of mind, it is the expectation of the writer that this is a short-term treatment plan and that the client will be out of therapy sometime within the next eight to ten weeks. Hercules will return to the office on January 2 for his next session. He will be seeing Doctors Fred Van Lente, Greg Pak, and Clayton Henry. Details will be made available on that day in file INCREDIBLE HERCULES #124. Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has experience in dealing with individuals with PTSD. Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes!

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