AEW’S Adam Page is One of TV’s Best Representations of Mental Illness

Television and film have long had a problem with the way they portray mental illness. Both mediums tend to lean into one of two extremes: a character suffers from a trainwreck mental illness, then dies by suicide (as in The Dead Poet Society) or their illness is a collection of visual and auditory hallucinations (as in every horror movie that treads the “Hallucination or Real [Insert Monster Here]” line). For a long time, professional wrestling has been worse, with World Wrestling Entertainment portraying mental illness in characters like Festus, “The Corn-Fed Colossus”—a mentally disabled man who turns into a dominant force after hearing the ring bell. Despite that history, All Elite Wrestling‘s Adam “Hangman” Page has built one of the most nuanced and accurate portrayals of high-performing anxiety and depression on television.

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