What Frozen Taught Me About Mental Illness

There is a lot going around about how wonderful a film Frozen is, how the message is pro-feminist, and the fact that neither Elsa nor Ana need a man to save them is groundbreaking (*cough*Brave*cough*Mulan*).

I think that the movie is excellent. As far as relatable goes, I don’t really ever find much in common with film characters, especially not Disney ones.

Except, Elsa; the conflicted villian who unintentionally hurts her own kingdom by misunderstanding her gifts.

She throws up one wall after another. Whether it’s a door or a giant abominable snowman, the message is pretty clear:

Get out and STAY OUT.

But like the movie shows, isolating the problem doesn’t fix it and it can make things worse for everyone involved.

It is so tempting from Elsa’s persepctive to believe that noone can or will want to understand and that she is going to be alone no matter what she does, so why not be alone on her own terms?

The snag? She leaves a wake of pain behind her that hurts everyone it touches.

When we run into isolation we hurt those around us; family, friends, spouses, children. We abandon them to the feelings that being shut-out create. Look at Ana, the only thing she wanted was to be around her sister; so much that it tore her up inside.

It’s alluringing to follow the mantra, “Conceal, don’t feel“, when you have a mental illness. Who will understand? Who will stick it out?

Because it’s the actions and the love of those around us that can be the most healing you can’t run away. You can’t simply “escape” into busyness or even drugs and alcohol. You can’t shut people out. It just makes things worse. You’ll never be able to get better by yourself.

I am not going to ever be normal. But I don’t have to hide my struggle because it may make someone uncomfortable and neither should you.

Thanks, Elsa.

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