Anxiety-The thing we all hate but must embrace!


Have you watched the film The Babadook? It is an incredibly powerful horror film that has a very strong psychological message. ****If you haven’t seen it then this might be a spoiler *****

The important thing I want to state before including a quoted review of the film is that although mental illness and specifically an anxiety disorder cannot be completely cured, we can choose to live with it rather than fight it. The more you fight something that scares you, the bigger the fear becomes. This is something that happens with anxiety. If you are experiencing anxiety and you tell yourself ‘don’t be anxious’ this usually results in your anxiety getting worse..It’s a bit like telling yourself to not think of a donut.The more you tell yourself to not think about a donut, the more you actually think about the donut! It doesn’t work! This is why with mental illness and in this case with anxiety, it makes much more sense to accept it and even say something like ‘Hello anxiety, I see you are back again.I am not scared of you anymore and I know you will eventually subside. I can manage you by taking a few deep breaths and changing my thoughts to more helpful ones”.

You may adjust this slightly to however you prefer or in whatever way makes it helpful to you. Of course mental illness is debilitating at its worst but with a few coping techniques it becomes manageable.

The film introduces us to mother and son, Amelia and Samuel, who are terrorised by a monster called the Babadook. The Babadook monster is introduced through a book called Mister Babadook and a very important line in this book is ” You can’t get rid of the Babadook”. The Babadook figure appears over and over in the film and it’s presence gets stronger and stronger, as Amelia and Samuel get more fearful of it.

”Whilst it occasionally threatens to overwhelm her (Amelia), as evidenced in the scene where she takes it food, her acknowledgment and understanding of it is what gives her the power to control it.The Babadook hasn’t gone away, and it hasn’t been defeated. Much like a chronic mental illness, it is not something that can be “cured”, and so the most important weapon against it is knowledge and acceptance. For Amelia, the realisation of how she is hurting her son is the moment where she finds the strength to separate herself from the Babadook”.

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