Disney & Depression

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Disney & Depression

Who hasn’t been to Disney? Whether it’s Disney World, Disney Land, or any of the other ten Disney theme parks around the world, it’s impossible to walk away from the experience without a pair of tattered Minnie Mouse ears and a big grin plastered across your face. But this grin doesn’t seem to last long. All over the internet, one can encounter searches and queries from new Minnie-Mouse-ear-owners wondering how to cure their post-Disney blues; nothing is as exciting, or as delicious, or as colorful in real life anymore. Posts such as Practical Wonderlusts “10 Tips For Soothing Your Post-Disney Depression” suggests dressing up as your favorite Disney character at home or riding virtual roller-coasters at the various theme parks. Even Disney’s Information Station offers its own solutions such as baking treats once enjoyed at Disney or finding a local Disney community to support each other. People find themselves forming support groups when they return home to ween themselves off of the Disney “high.” These recommendations are often geared towards those who were already clinically depressed and then visit Disney as a coping mechanism. But why is Disney so appealing to those who are depressed? 

“Disney World is a place where I know I can be free of worry for that time and that is something I try to savor every minute of when I am there,” said Casey Clark from Healthier. Similarly, in a thread on Reddit, an anonymous contributor wrote, “I owe Disney World and Disney movies everything for giving me such great memories and helping me past my depression. I owe my life to Walt Disney, and [am] now looking forward to many more adventures.” Disney and all of its fanfare has not only been a device to entertain rowdy children on weeknights but has proved to have untold benefits for those who are depressed, as it offers and provides a break from everyday life. They allow them a chance to return to their blissful childhoods devoid of responsibilities and obligations that can plague adulthood. It is a bright and sunny place frozen in time where anything is possible. 

Disney at night.

It is worth asking if it is more harmful or beneficial for those who are clinically depressed to escape into a fabricated world. It seems to help them in coping with their disabilities temporarily, but what are the long-term effects? Many already rely on the fantasies that Disney pumps out to make it through their days. I, for one, am glad that they are able to encounter some sort of solace and break from their depression, but if people are forced to turn to Disney as a cure for their disabilities, what does that say about the society we are living in and the help we are providing them? There needs to be a better way for people to handle their depression than paying for expensive tickets to visit a made-up world that was not intended for this purpose. There needs to be a better way for people to handle their depression than paying for expensive tickets to visit a made-up world that was not intended for this purpose; this may very well make it even harder for them to one day see the magic that exists outside of Disney.