How Disney Helps Me Fight Anxiety and Depression

I’ve been a Disney fanatic my whole life. My mum told me I used to watch Disney films on video and when they were over I would rewind them and watch them again. Some of my mums favorite memories of me as a child are curling up on a couch with me tucked under her arm watching Disney films.

For me, Disney is an escape. It reminds me of a simpler time when I had nothing to worry about, when I had a goldfish called Flounder and I reenacted being Belle with a wicker basket and a flowery duvet, singing my heart out about adventure in the great wide somewhere. For me, Disney is safe and familiar. I can proudly recite “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King” and “The Little Mermaid” from memory, word for word, including song lyrics. Of my 11 tattoos, five of them are Disney inspired and I wear them proudly. My favorite quotes are “hakuna matata” and “ohana means family.” I cosplay as Belle and know more about Disney than anyone else I’ve ever met. Disney is a way of life.

As well as being a safe haven, Disney has taught me a lot. The lessons meant for kids resonate deeply with me: it’s OK to be different, follow your own path, your fears don’t control you. The princesses all represent different parts of my personality. I am bookish like Belle, rebellious like Ariel and sometimes controlled by my fear like Elsa. I feel like I don’t fit in like Moana, I follow my dreams like Rapunzel and sleep too much like Aurora. They all have a part of me and I watch them all at different times depending on what I need.

People laugh at my obsession with Disney but for me, Disney is home. They are familiar and comfortable and when my depression cuts me off from my life and my anxiety makes it hard to breathe, Disney is always the same and it helps me to cope. When my world is in chaos, the familiarity of Disney centers me. And when you live with mental illness, that’s an amazing resource to have. So I find it easy to ignore people when they laugh at my obsession with Disney because for me, it’s a vital resource in my fight against my depression and anxiety — and that is priceless.

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Images via Disney Movies Anywhere Facebook

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