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Let it Go

I love Disney movies. And Disney’s latest, Frozen, is one of my favorites, not only because the music is awesome, but also because it is a story about self-acceptance and love between two sisters.

Elsa is the heir to the throne in the kingdom of Arendale. She has spent her life locked in her room, afraid of her power to create ice and snow, because she accidentally injured her sister Anna when they were children. At her coronation, Elsa’s powers are revealed when she sets off an eternal winter. When she sings the theme song, she is exhilarated that she no longer has to hide her secret. She creates her own palace of ice and snow on an isolated mountain top.

Although Elsa is free from her secret, she still doesn’t want to let her sister into her life. And ironically, in her effort to protect her sister, she accidentally freezes Anna’s heart, which almost kills her. But even then, she still tries to push Anna away, for fear that her powers will do even more damage.

It is not until the end of the movie, when Anna sacrifices her life to save her sister, that Elsa understands that surrendering to love is the answer to controlling her power. She is then able to unfreeze the kingdom and open the doors to the palace.

Tonight my brother called me because he has been depressed and struggling to make it to work. For the first time I shared with him how I had gone through the same thing 5 years ago in an effort to convince him to get on meds and to reassure him that this is not a sign of weakness. He was surprised that I had suffered as he had and that he had not known about it. But it wasn’t his fault, because I didn’t tell any of my brothers about it.

Although I had been on and off meds for several years, this episode forced me to accept that they would have to be a permanent part of my life. As humbling as this was to acknowledge, it was also freeing. But even after I felt better, I still remained in my kingdom of isolation, afraid to let people know.

Writing this blog is the first time I have been completely honest about how dark my depression was. And perhaps sharing my story will save someone else. But in this moment, the most important thing to me is that it saves my brother’s life.

We all have the power to create barriers to keep our loved ones away from the darkness inside us. Yet the real answer is to let go and to bring that darkness into the light.

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

6 responses »

  1. Christy-Thanks for sharing your story. I know it took a lot of courage, but I am sure there are MANY people who feel or have felt the same way. Whether it is depression or any number of other things, we all want to hide our flaws and when we share them, it gives hope and encouragement to others who are struggling.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your story. I could fill volumes with what my brother and I haven't discussed. Boundaries are usually a good thing, so it is difficult to judge when to let them down vs. keeping them in place.

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  3. It is tough. My parents told them that I was depressed, and they called and checked on me, but I didn't talk about how badly I felt. In part because it's just really hard to talk at all when you feel that badly. But in part because I never really talked to anyone about how I feel, for reasons I've discussed in the blog.

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  4. I am encouraged by this post. Thank you for being so transparent; honesty requires immense courage. I, too, think that FROZEN handles some very heavy themes very well. I'm still struggling to truly 'let it go.'

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  5. Thanks Alex. I think the best we can do is let go a little bit at a time.

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