As far as a support system is concerned, Buffy does have some awesome friends but ultimately they don’t understand her. They support her, and they try everything they can to help her but they are always on the fringes of understanding the burden of being a vampire slayer, and that’s okay. In our own lives we have friends that don’t get it, and likely never will. That’s not their fault, and it’s not Willow’s or Xander’s or Tara’s or whoever’s fault either. Their lack of comprehension of the feelings and complexities involved with being the slayer aren’t there to further Buffy’s character arc. Buffy’s friends are dealing with their own problems—Willow has an untapped power inside of her that she is learning to control, Xander feels emasculated next to his powerful female buddies, and Giles is coming to terms with the fact that he may no longer be needed. Yet, my heart broke for Buffy who was constantly assumed to be emotionally stronger and more mature than she was, just because she was the slayer. Even upon meeting Faith, another slayer, she felt disconnected because Faith was swimming in her own issues and refused to let anyone in. Instead she put on the face of someone brave and tricked everyone into believing she was fine. This, in turn, hurt Buffy even more because it made her feel weak in comparison.
But that is simply not the case. Everyone has their own world inside their head, and everyone has a part of themselves that tries to get to your vulnerabilities and bring you down. The juxtaposition of Buffy and Faith and their respective ways of coping with life reminded me of this, and helped me realise even putting on a ‘fake’ brave face is still a show of bravery.
As Buffy Summers said, “the hardest thing in this world is to live in it.”
Remember, your mental illness does not define you. Slay on, slayers.
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