‘Inside Out’ helped me understand my mental health better than therapy did

inside-out

Well, almost.

[disclaimer:  I imagine I wouldn’t have ‘got’ ‘Inside Out’ without going through therapy, but the point does still stand].

I saw ‘Inside Out’ yesterday. It’s a great film, and one that everyone should see (even just for Disgust, who is quite the woman). The film tells the story of a girl named Riley, whose emotions are personified. Due to a ‘suction pipe’ (I can’t remember the exact phrasing they used but still), she loses the ability to be joyous and sad, so is controlled by anger, disgust and fear. She sinks into a deep depression, all whilst Joy and Sadness (who is amazing) try to get back to the ‘control room’.

I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s a bit in the middle where Riley’s ‘personality islands’ start to collapse. These include the family island, the hockey one, the friend one and the ‘goofball’ (hun) one. These collapse because Riley can’t find joy in them anymore.

Which got me thinking about my own mental health. It’s been two-and-a-half years now since I last went to therapy, which was brought on by a breakdown three summers ago. The last scene of the film is very similar to how I told my mum about my issues (I cried in her arms and it made me happy again).

My control room then was run by Fear, who stopped me from doing small things (like going out with friends), because of the potential (and irrational) dangers. I remember I used to obsess over my hair because, with bad hair, I would lose all of my friends (I mean, good hair is important, but still).

The thing that is so brilliant about the film is that it teaches children the importance of emotional balance. Imagine a child whose over-riding emotion is sadness. It makes me so happy that this film is doing so well, because it teaches children to embrace their sadness, because it’s hard to feel anything else otherwise.

That’s the biggest thing that therapy taught me. My last ‘session’ was on Valentine’s Day 2013 (I treat myself every year now), and although I’ve wanted to, I’ve yet to go back. My favourite thing about the film is that it gives children a way to talk about their emotions, but in such a way that parents can help with too. The visualisation of the mind is something that therapy can’t compete with; particularly how memories can get tainted my different emotions. This film could, potentially, help children comprehend what depression is doing to to them, which is something that’s much harder to teach in the classroom.

In other words, thanks Pixar.

(I also really like that the characters look glittery).

 

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