The Lessons Stranger Things Provides about Anxiety
Don’t you love it when you can learn about life’s great lessons from Netflix?
You may or may not be a fan of the show “Stranger Things”. If you are, you probably had a tear in your eye listening to Hopper’s letter to El. If you’re not, I am urging you to take five minutes out of your day and watch Season Three, Episode Eight from 1:05:35 - 1:10:12.
In five minutes, Hopper’s character summarizes some of the most important aspects of living life to the fullest, including accepting that things are sometimes painful, and the importance of coming out of “the cave” to really participate in life, despite your fears and anxiety.
Change is Constant
Everything is changing all the time. Trying or hoping that things will remain the same is a waste of energy. The sooner you can accept change and learn to live with it, the happier you will be.
Pain is Inevitable
Without pain, we cannot know joy. Accepting pain and loss, facing and working through those emotions allows us to move through them. Eventually, we can move past them and back into happiness.
Face your Feelings
Many of us lock away painful feelings or use poor coping mechanisms to numb them, instead of sharing them with family and/or friends. It’s important to spend time talking and sharing with people you trust. Social interaction is a critical part of good physical and mental health.
Life is full of many experiences - get out there and experience them - the good, the bad and everything in between. When things get rough, remember to ask for help and share your challenges. Access all of the love and support that is available to you.
Here below is the Hopper's letter to El. Worthy reading.
"There's something I've been wanting to talk to you both about. I know this is a difficult conversation, but I care about you both very much. And I know that you care about each other very much, and that's why it's important that we set these boundaries moving forward so we can build an environment where we all feel comfortable, trusted, and open to sharing our feelings.
Feelings. Jesus. The truth is, for so long I'd forgotten what those even were. I've been stuck in one place. In a cave, you might say. A deep, dark cave. And then I left some Eggos out in the woods and you came into my life.
For the first time in a long time, I started to feel things again. I started to feel happy. But lately, I guess I've been feeling distant from you. Like you're pulling away from me or something. I miss playing board games every night, making triple decker Eggo extravaganzas at sunrise, watching Westerns together before we doze off.
But I know you're getting older, growing, changing. I guess, if I'm being really honest, that's what scares me. I don't want things to change. So, I think maybe that's why I came here, to try and stop that change. To turn back the clock. To make things go back to how they were. But I know that's naive. It's just not how life works. It's moving, always moving, whether you like it or not. And yeah, sometimes it's painful. Sometimes it's sad. And sometimes, it's surprising. Happy.
So you know what? Keep on growing up kid. Don't let me stop you. Make mistakes, learn from 'em. When life hurts you — because it will — remember the hurt. The hurt is good. It means you're out of that cave. But, please, if you don't mind, for the sake of your poor old dad, keep the door open three inches.”