The purpose of this Meaningful Media page is to highlight music, art, dance, and other media on the internet and in popular culture which either have a profound impact on people's mental health or are written about overcoming challenges with mental illness. Many of the artists who we know and love are in a constant battle with their mental health...just like many of us! It is normal to encounter challenges...AKA...IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY!
If you or someone you love is struggling with their mental health, please reach out to the Mental Health Counselor, Student Assistance Counselor, your School Counselor, parent/guardian, or another trusted adult.
You are not alone!
Watch the video above to learn more about Kristen Bell, "Bad Moms" actor and voice of Anna in "Frozen." Alongside her husband and fellow actor, Dax Shepard, the couple has long been mental health advocates and put out several videos detailing their struggles with addiction, anxiety, depression, relationship conflicts, etc. In this video, Bell discusses how learning about her brain (thought patterns, warning signs/symptoms, triggers and feelings) has helped her to live with her mental illness and improve her overall mental wellbeing. She states in this interview that she felt "inauthentic and irresponsible to have been presenting this bubbly, happy person, which is someone that I cultivate and I nurture and I try really hard to exist as, and I just wasn't being honest with the people...the girls who look up to me." I love that Bell and Shepard have spoken about the need to be vocal about mental health challenges, and most important, what works to help cultivate a positive mental wellbeing!
Shawn Mendes' song "In My Blood" provides an accurate description of what it is like to live with anxiety, depression, and many other mental illnesses. He discussed in interviews back in 2018 when the song was first released that it was inspired by his very real experiences with anxiety. The constant questions and thoughts about what could help us to ease uncomfortability...the times you want to give up, use drugs, alcohol, sex/relationships, or other things to get a quick fix...when you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel some days all really hits home for many people. As you will see at the end of the music video however, the once hard foundation he laid on, turns to grass and flowers. In other interviews and even at his show in Glasgow (2019), Shawn discusses his years-long struggle with anxiety and what has helped him to learn to cope with these feelings. He explains that through meditation, therapy, medication, and a strong support system, he has been able to turn this challenge into something manageable that is not holding him back and does not feel as daunting..
I am sure you have heard mixed reviews of the past year and a half. People use many different words and phrases to express their feelings about 2020-21 and COVID: "worst year ever," "traumatic," "best year ever," "most challenging," "year of growth," etc. To everyone, I say, YOU ARE CORRECT! Each person experienced the year differently and depending on those experiences is how we behaved, felt or thought. Please enjoy this video of Tyler Perry as Madea discussing change, relationships, and growth. However this year has impacted you, please try to take some time to focus on yourself and grow with this year of interesting/difficult/amazing/traumatic/etc. experiences!
But are you REALLY fine?
There is a stigma regarding mental health and mental illness. I find that people tend to respond to the question of "how are you" with "I'm fine" for so many reasons...and many of those reasons are NOT because they are actually doing fine:
- We are trying to fake it until we make it...if I say "I'm fine" enough times...maybe eventually I will be.
- We are afraid of how someone will treat us once they hear how we really are...will they think less of me once they know?!
- We are afraid of putting our issues onto someone else.
- We've learned to push down our feelings and not be honest with ourselves.
When we say "I'm fine" when we really are NOT okay, we are invalidating and minimizing our own feelings...and does that really help us to feel better? Probably not! Feelings are neither right nor wrong...but merely comfortable and uncomfortable (see pictures below). I want to challenge you this year to answer honestly when someone asks you "how are you?" If you are tired, say tired. If you are depressed, say depressed. If you are agitated, say agitated. If you are excited, say excited. But PLEASE, whatever you do, speak your truth and validate those feelings that are there rather than trying not to deny their existence. Feelings in our body are like a water balloon: if you don't let the water (feelings) out of the balloon (mind/body), eventually it will explode (depression, . Don't let yourself explode for holding those true feelings in.