Frozen and Mental Illness

Even though the movie Frozen has been out for months, I just saw it for the first time the other day. Right away, I related to Elsa and the whole “conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know” mentality surrounding her icy power…I experienced the same kind of struggle that Elsa had with her powers when I was struggling with depression. Elsa’s parents cautioned her to not let anybody know about her power, so she was unable to really be herself in front of the public (and even in front of her sister). When I struggled with depression, although my family was generally supportive, I felt like I couldn’t let anyone know what I was dealing with. My depression began in eleventh grade, so for two years of high school I had to act like I was fine. I did tell a few of my closest friends, and some of them have stuck by me no matter what, but others seemed unnerved by my depression and left (similar to how, when the public finds out about Elsa’s powers, they assume that she’s a bad person and that there’s something wrong with her).

Much like Anna, my little sister did not understand just what I was dealing with. Unfortunately she didn’t help my situation much, but I think part of that is due to the fact (as illustrated in the movie when Elsa accidentally freezes Anna’s heart) that oftentimes when dealing with depression, those closest to you can get hurt, although it is unintentional. I know that I shut my sister out and built walls so she couldn’t “get” to me; Elsa built literal walls (a castle made out of ice) so keep herself away from everyone else thinking that would help solve her problem, but she still struggled within herself. Even though Elsa had the best intentions by putting up walls because she was trying to protect everyone from her, everyone was affected (a perpetual winter was happening in her village). The same thing happened with me when I was depressed– I stayed in the house most of the time and kept to myself thinking that this way I wasn’t bothering anybody, when in reality it just made those who cared about me more worried, and separating myself from others did not end my internal struggle.

At the end of the movie when everyone comes to accept Elsa’s power, and when she is able to accept who she is, she is able to be herself. Once I accepted how I was feeling, it made recovery much easier for me. I’m not saying that the ending of the movie is depicting recovery necessarily, but the acceptance that Elsa’s powers don’t make her a bad person, they just make her who she is.

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5 Responses to Frozen and Mental Illness

  1. Daniel J. Max says:

    Reblogged this on Life is hope.

  2. ozinnz says:

    When I was sitting in the cinema I was trying so hard not to cry because, to me, Elsa’s powers were/are a substitute for mental illness. Never before have I related to a character in a movie as much as I have Elsa.

  3. Pingback: Back to that movie I mentioned… – Astrea Is Me

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