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20 Relatable Movies for People Who Live With Anxiety

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Anxiety can be incredibly difficult to manage.

Some symptoms arrive in the blink of an eye, seemingly out of nowhere. Some symptoms may be a result of personal triggers that set the avalanche in motion. Other symptoms may be lingering, trailing behind you everywhere you go.

Whatever types of anxiety symptoms you face, it usually helps to turn to things that are familiar. When we relate to something, it can help alleviate the discomfort. And movies, like books or music, can be a great way to find an escape for a few hours from your anxious mind.

Movies, whether it be a character or a circumstance in the plot we relate to, might somehow help us feel less alone in the midst of anxiety. That is why we asked people in our mental health community who live with anxiety to share one movie they relate to and why.

Here is what they had to say:

1. “Inside Out”

“Leave it to Disney to create a film that so beautifully depicts the way our brains wrestle with daily experiences and feelings.” — Arielle B.

2. “Silver Linings Playbook”

“It’s hard to find a movie that so beautifully showcases how mental illness can affect you, but not break you.” — Alyssa C.

3. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

“I relate to Charlie’s struggle with making friends and when he does, the worry of losing them so it makes him constantly anxious. I feel that way all the time.” — Bethany A.

4. “Girl, Interrupted”

“I think the whole issue of not fitting in and not knowing what to do with your life leads to most of my panic attacks, anxiety, and the feeling of not belonging anywhere.” — Teresa T.

5. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

“Walter always zones out. He struggles to socialize with people and to go out and do things he’s always wanted to do, and I relate to that so much. It was inspiring to see him go out and conquer all these things.” — Kelcee J.

6. “Lilo & Stitch”

“I always felt so alone growing up because I couldn’t do what my classmates and friends could because of the anxiety. Even now at 24, Stitch is a favorite character of mine. I’ve grown up and found the place I belong, where my anxiety is accepted and understood.” — Jayden R.

7. “Finding Nemo”

“I can relate to almost all the characters: Marlin’s worry, Dory’s clumsiness and forgetfulness, Nemo’s frustration, Gil’s disappointment. But mostly the fact that everything becomes easier for Dory when she is with Marlin. I have found those people. ‘When I look at you I’m home.’” — Amy M.

8. “Frozen”

“Elsa spends her entire life trying to hide from her family and living in fear. When she finally learns to accept love and open up to those who love her, she starts to learn how to control her problems.” — Hayley B.

9. “Death Race”

“Coach is free to leave, but he doesn’t know any different or better from being trapped for so long. He’s frozen with anxiety, so he stays where he is — in the constant battle against the organization, a system that, although is not physically structured the same outside the prison, still exists.” — Kevin M.

10. “Harry Potter” (all of them)

“There is so much hope, friendship, and strength in the movies in the darkest of times. Yet they always find a way through the darkness.” — Andie P.

11. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

“It shows what you do in your mind to rectify things even though they don’t always work out. I loved this film in my teens, and see how the characters do show signs of anxiety.” — Ling Y.

12. “A Beautiful Mind”

“Schizophrenia is the main character’s illness, but one can see the anxiety that he experiences and how his mental illness affects his life, well-being, relationships, and work.” — Francesca B.

13. “The Switch”

“In the movie, the little boy, Sebastian, is seen as quirky and different, but he has constant anxiety. I relate because that was me. I’ve had anxiety since I was a young child and I can definitely see the anxiety in him that I struggled with.” — Rebecca R.

14. “The Girl on the Train”

“I have used alcohol to self-medicate my anxiety. I have passed people and houses while on the trolley or riding passenger in a car, wishing I could be that girl or be married to that guy or have that house or that time or that family. I have made up storylines of other people so I can forget my own storyline.” — Melissa S.

15. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”

“When it came out I was still a teen. Although it was kind of unrealistic at points, it helped seeing a movie where the main character is a kid with mental health issues. I had to go to the hospital more than once and the fact that it included that made me feel less alone.” — Benjamin E.

16. “The Breakfast Club”

“It’s a mish-mosh of characters forced to become a unity, even through the uncomfortableness. I can relate totally to all of the characters, but hide like Ally Sheedy.” — Kristine A.

17. “A Fantastic Fear of Everything”

“Especially the part at the laundry mat. When I’m not 100 percent sure what to do, I’m constantly on edge. When I do something wrong, no matter how small, my face gets hot, my heart rate picks up, and my hands start to shake. For this reason, I often have unsuccessful outings where I fail to complete the task I set out to do.” — Tia P.

18. “Tangled”

“When she keeps wondering when her life will begin — it’s what I ask myself daily because of my anxiety controlling me.” — Lindsey S.

19. “P.S. I Love You”

“My anxiety is based on my worst fear of losing the ones I love.” — Eleanor H.

20. “Thanks for Sharing”

“Because of the line: ‘[Your thing] gets you sympathy. My thing gets you judgment.’” — Jacki E.

What would you add?

20 Relatable Movies for People Who Live With Anxiety

Image via Summit Screening Room

Originally published: June 27, 2017
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