Since I didn’t go on the winter retreat with the students I used to volunteer with, I knew I had to get away to relax this weekend. It was stressing the hell out of me. So I went to visit Dani and Josh in Massachusetts. So glad I did by the way – 18 months is way too long.
Anyway, this weekend we saw both the Lego Movie and Frozen. I loved both of them – but Frozen really spoke to me. Not gonna lie kids – I cried through the whole freaking movie.
But the big reason is because Disney decided to put their hat into the arena and talk about a very taboo topic in the most amazing way ever. Maybe I noticed it because I struggle with it myself, but Frozen is the most riveting tale of mental illness I have ever seen.
Some of you are probably shocked by that, and some die hard fans may be slightly irritated or offended by it. But it was very inspiring for me and it broke my heart.
Warning: This post will have spoilers after the break.
I’m going to take chunks out of the movie cause you don’t need the whole entire script to get my drift.
Okay, so the movie starts off and Elsa is a little girl with powers she doesn’t understand. While playing with them with her sister, Anna, she accidentally hurts her and from that point on, Elsa has to hide them from the world. You watch her grow up, and Elsa hides from Anna and the world to “keep them safe.” Her parents say “Don’t reveal, don’t feel” and try to hide it too.
Relation to mental illness: This happens to a lot of people with mental illness; the first time they hurt or embarrass their loved ones, they’re taught to hide it from everyone. Act like you’re okay, and it will all be okay. We’ll deal with it later.
Parents pass away in an accident, and Elsa and Anna are left alone, with no family. Elsa continues to hide away, even worse that before, until she comes of age to become queen. They get to the coronation and hold a party. At the party, Anna meets this guy, Prince Hans, and “falls in love,” telling Elsa that they’re going to get married. Elsa freaks out, Anna tries to stop her, takes off one of her gloves and Elsa’s powers are revealed and go crazy with her emotions. Causes eternal winter. Elsa runs away.
Relation to mental illness: You can’t hide it forever. Eventually, you will crack or snap and it may end up even worse than you ever anticipated. In my life, the mental breakdown I had in November was this point for me. I had the worst panic attack I’d ever had in my life, and I was convinced I was going to go to the hospital because of it.
Anna and Cristoph (different guy) get there, Anna tries to reach out to Elsa to bring her back and stop the winter, but Elsa doesn’t know how. Elsa was warm and welcoming until she started thinking about the pain she’d cause. She gets upset. When she lashes out, she hits Anna in the heart with her magic (they find out later that her insides will freeze cause of it and that only an act of true love can save her). Elsa makes a monster and the monster chases them away.
Relation to mental illness: When you have mental illness, you become convinced that you are “bad” and you start to block other people out, thinking that you’re protecting them, but it ends up hurting them more.
Side note: I started to find these relationships with the “monster” theme, and I started think about all this. For example, right when everyone discovers her power at the party, the one duke calls her a “monster.” I physically cringed. I have a panic disorder combined with anxiety, and when I have a panic attack, I see myself as a monster. My last relationship ended because of my disorder, and its been difficult to not see myself as one. Add that in with another circumstance the I won’t publicly discuss, and yeah. I worry that I’m a monster, but I’m learning that I’m not.
People try to get Elsa and hurt her, after Anna and Cristoph left, and then she gets thrown into the dungeon. They want to keep her away (and kill her) to get rid of the eternal winter.
Relation to mental illness: Sometimes, people will agree with you and treat you like a monster. They may try to lock you away, or don’t tell people that they know you, or deny that they know you when asked. They will try to keep you in a corner, saying that they’re doing it cause they care, when they’re actually just terrified.
Elsa escapes and as she’s running off, Hans stops her, telling her that she killed Anna, and Elsa is devastated. Anna, who is freezing at this point, runs and stops Hans from chopping off Elsa’s head. She freezes into ice, and Elsa breaks down. Anna unfreezes as a result of her act of love for Elsa (because she never stopped loving her, even when Elsa pushed her away), and Elsa realizes that love reverses the severity of the snow, saving her home.
Relation to mental illness: This. THIS is the reason that Disney freaking nailed it. Freaking. Nailed. It. No, love doesn’t cure mental illness, but love makes it so that you can get through every difficult day. Without the help of the people that love me and would do anything for me, I wouldn’t have made it through my meltdown. I wouldn’t have made it to where I am now. If you’re reading this, thank you, and I love you so very much.
So yeah – I wrote this on my tablet cause I didn’t want to forget it. And it’s important. Whether Disney meant it or not, they approached this subject with grace. And I appreciate it greatly.
So now that you’ve read my analysis, what do you think? Did you like Frozen? Do you see the comparisons or think I’m looking too far into it? Leave me some love in the comments.