How Disney Helps Me Cope With Mental Illness

So I recently came back from an amazing trip to Disneyland.

In the past week and a half since coming home, I have started an internship that requires me to fix my terrible summer sleep schedule and wake up at 7:00 am a few days a week. So I’ve been trying to consistently wake up by 8:00 am on days I don’t have my internship and its been difficult. Between being exhausted while trying to make this switch (I get depressed and borderline hysterical when I am tired), transitioning to going back to school (the internship I’ve started is for one of my classes), being trapped inside because a heat wave (its been over 100 degrees Fahrenheit most days this week), and  just normal everyday mood fluctuations, its been hard.

I grew up as a Disney kid and Disney has been a coping mechanism for me for as long as I could remember. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression young and as I started to get better, I saw more in Disney movies than just the stories that we see when we are little. There are three movies in particular that have helped me a lot since I was diagnosed and as I get more familiar with my mental illnesses, the more I feel connected to the characters.

These movies are:

Tangled, The Princess and The Frog, and Big Hero 6

Tangled- I have loved Tangled since it first came out. Rapunzel is book smart, but has some trouble understanding the real world. She goes on a grand adventure to see the lanterns. She is ambitious even though she doesn’t know what could happen. BONUS: Tangled: The Series has an amazing theme song, “Wind in My Hair” that has been my favorite song with this bout of depression. The lyrics make me feel hopeful and I have been listening to it on repeat.

The Princess and The Frog- Tiana is an inspiration to me. Everything seems against her, but she knows her dream and does whatever she has to to make it come true. She never lost sight of who she was, her roots, and that is what I feel made her so strong.

Big Hero 6- The reason this is one of my favorites is because they actually have Hiro experience grief and depression. This movie brings to light the topic of mental illness and that sometimes it is okay to not be okay. The support he receives from the rest of the group shows how important a support system is to have, especially when going through something really difficult. Also, how awesome would it be to have a real Baymax?

These are just a few examples of why I feel that I turn to Disney when I am depressed. They bring me hope and help me to remember that bad days can go away.

Hope is something that keeps me going.

Hope that my mental illnesses will get better. I know they won’t go away, but just be not as bad.

Hope that I will achieve my dreams.

Hope that my life will change for the better.

Hope that I will make a difference in someone’s life.

I live my life with hope and faith and try to go with the flow the best I can. And it has worked for me thus far.

I hope that if you are struggling with something, anything, that you have someone or something to turn to that can provide you with the hope you need to carry on.


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