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6 Disney Movie Quotes That Have Helped Me in Mental Illness Recovery

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I grew up like the majority of people watching Disney films. Even now at the age of 23, I find watching a Disney film gives me the same enjoyment it did all those years ago. I was lucky enough to visit Walt Disney World in Orlando a number of times throughout my childhood and I find that Disney takes me back to the happiness I experienced in my younger years, when I was worry-free and had a mind bursting with imagination rather than unwanted thoughts.

I had a particularly difficult day yesterday. My thoughts were racing and I had no energy to fight it off whatsoever. I decided to watch a Disney film (“Walt before Mickey”) and managed to fall asleep for a couple hours. After waking up, I spent some time looking at different Disney films, their quotes, meaning and what they mean to me at this point in my life.

Here are the six Disney quotes that got me thinking about myself and recovery.

1. “You have more power than you realize. Don’t think, don’t worry. If the time comes, you’ll know what to do.”  — “The Incredibles”

Most of the intrusive thoughts I experience are regarding death of my loved ones. I have a thought and my compulsions ease the worry — I feel that by doing a certain action, I am stopping any harm coming to them. Although after suffering for a number of years, I do understand that by carrying out an action this will in no way stop any harm to coming to my family and friends. However if there a slight chance it will – I am going to do that action. When you think about life, nothing is certain and the only certainty really is death. The truth is no matter how much I worry about the future, there is no way I can change it. Living with obsessive-compulsive disorder makes you strong in your own right. I realize that whatever lies in store, I have no choice but to cope with it and carry on.

2. “This is impossible — Only if you believe it is.” — “Alice in Wonderland”

The human mind is very complex, with functioning thoughts feelings and desires. If you tell yourself a blue pen is black enough times, you will start to believe it. The power of the human mind is limitless and one of the strongest and most useful (or in my case not useful at all) powers you possess. My actions and the way I feel are all a result of my mind. Obsessive-compulsive disorder has so much power over my mind that sometimes, I cannot distinguish between the two. This had me thinking a lot, about how powerful my mind is, and that my thoughts are not me. Thinking logically about a thought will really help me — questioning what I am thinking. Challenging myself and my thoughts will be another obstacle in my recovery.

3. “Lefou? I’ve been thinking, a dangerous past time I know.” — “Beauty and the Beast”

I spend a lot of my time thinking. The majority of my thoughts are clouded by negativity. I can spend far too much time thinking and acting on a single thought. Now I am using mindfulness, which brings my attention to the present moment, rather than focusing on my thoughts. The aim is to allow a thought to come into my mind and let it pass without inflicting any worry upon myself. This makes me think about the other things I could be doing with my time rather than sat over thinking and worrying. Things I enjoy doing like writing and making the most out of my brain and my mind rather than letting Obsessive Compulsive Disorder take up all my time and energy.

4. “I don’t want to survive, I want to live.” — “Wall-e”

On my darker days, I find myself just existing. I don’t get much enjoyment out of the things I used to and I feel like I spend all my time sleeping. I wake up, I go to work, I eat and I go to bed. Life itself is so precious and the world is such a beautiful place to be in. I want to spend more time living — doing this I enjoy and spending time with the people I love the most. My intentions during my recovery are to get up and get dressed even when I do not want to, because at the time I enjoy what I am doing it is just the initial stage of getting up and having to do it.

5. “Just keep swimming.” — “Finding Nemo”

My illness is not physical and no matter how hard people try, nobody can fix me but myself. I do not have broken bones that need to be healed by a doctor, my recovery will take time and it will have its up and downs. Looking at this from a lighter hearted point of view — I need to do just that. I need to carry on with everyday life no matter how hard it will get for me. When my thoughts are at their peak, I need to carry on practicing Exposure Response Prevention therapy and do just what Dory says — just keep swimming.

6. “A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside” — “Winnie the Pooh”

The people I love support me in ways I cannot even begin to describe. Without them, I could not help myself and I would not be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s the little things like waking up to my Mum’s laugh while she’s cracking jokes about something so stupid, or a text from my girlfriend when she knows I am having a bad day. This support gets me through my bad days knowing there is somebody there to talk to that really cares and they really are my greatest tool in overcoming obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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Photo via Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” Facebook page

Originally published: November 20, 2017
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