Jun 18, 2005

So we watched the movie, "Steel Magnolias" today. What a horrible movie that is. So here is this really endearing character (played by julia roberts, of course, who else?) who only wants to be a mom and have a family and so she has a kid and dies. Oh and let's not forget the scene where her husband comes home from work and finds their son screaming hysterically and his wife in a coma on the floor.
one question.
why?
It seems to me that this movie plays on a fear common in the population most likely to seek it out and view it: young mothers. Or old mothers, I guess. Or mothers-to-be. All of us are afraid of dying and leaving our children behind to be raised not as well (or, perhaps, better than) we could. In my family this fear is disturbingly apparent... I know of three women who have had serious difficulties in their life because of this fear, held at an irrationally high level.

I am one of them.

Let me tell you something. The people who create media will do anything these days to sell it. We all hear about the dirtiness of movies, the violence of movies, the false portrayal of lifestyle and body type, the objectification of men and women, and the romanticization of relationships in general. All this is pretty damaging.
But not as damaging as movies whose only purpose seems to be the facilitation of emotional self-harm. By that I mean, when you're bored scared, when you're blank, empty, and you know you ought to be feeling something, you abuse your emotions by exposing them to something that you KNOW will make them feel.... something that causes extreme sadness, or anxiety, or anger, or other agitation. Like movies. Or music.

I have done this myself, of course. It works in a way. Probably in the same way that physical self-harm works... something I have never done, but have seen.

You know, I have to say that no matter how you shake it, the only way to get through a depression or anxiety attack, is to ride it out. After a couple, you realize that they end, and you're happy again (or at least, normal). Some people get so bad that they need to control it with medication, but I wonder if this happens as much as it needs to. True, there are those with neurotransmission problems who most likely need chemical help. But how many people, I wonder, get to that point through emotional denial or self-harm?

I think that to continue doing things that you love, even when you can't feel, to continue to work at the things that you believe in, even when it doesn't seem important; to keep living the life you think is good, even when you don't seem to matter, is the only cure to depression or anxiety... you come out of it, and you still have the things that matter most to you... and in fact, you have kept building them up. You start seeing these experiences as not scary so much as life... and not dehabillitating so much as trying.

and as we all know, 'what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.' Who came up with that? It's really not very comforting. But I believe it does happen to be as true as it is trite.

4 comments:

edwardmartin92836169 said...
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keviningals0958259862 said...
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Margaret said...

I LOVE that you don't like Steel Magnolias! :)

NoSurfGirl said...

disclaimer... I in no way mean this post to be an attack against those who use meds to help with mental illness. Not at all. I could never judge whether someone ought or ought not to use meds. And I don't look down on people who do... in fact, I myself used them at one point in my life, and I am very glad I did.