Part 2 of Stranger Things Season 4 comes out on tomorrow, so let’s talk about Part 1 now. “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush was the number one download on Apple Music for a reason. The reason was this scene, the scene that portrays what anyone who has suffered from anxiety or depression would recognize as the battle for your mind.
You can feel like it is hard to breathe and negative thoughts are bombarding you. It is a trapped and isolated feeling. Trying to get out of those thoughts feels like running up a steep hill when you are out of shape. The thing that gives you the drive to keep fighting and keep running is to remember that you are not alone. As Max remembers all the moments of connection and acceptance from her friends, she is finally able to break the grip depression has on her.
This scene as well as the scenes with Eleven point out that anxiety and depression most often stem from shame. In both cases, the girls are hiding what they believe is something innately wrong with them. Just before the above scene with Max, she was at her brother’s grave confessing her guilt for her inaction in saving his life. This is something she wouldn’t even say aloud to her counselor. Once she voices her shame, that is when the attack comes on in full effect. And as for Eleven, she is even hiding her memories about the massacre at the lab from her own self because she is too afraid of what she will learn about herself. She fears that she is a monster. Once she finally deep dives into the memory, she discovers that she was not the one who killed all the people, and in fact, she stopped the killer. But her shame was rooted in the moment that she made a mistake in trusting the killer and helping to set him free. When we are children, we may internalize the mistakes that we made as something wrong with us or as causing something bigger to happen than it actually did. That is why re-examining them with a grown mind and someone we trust can help set us free of the guilt and misperceptions of ourselves that we have been carrying.
Both girls in the show learn that their greatest power comes from their love. It is Eleven’s love for her mother and Max’s love for her friends that give them the strength to conquer the darkness. I think that is the golden nugget to take away with you. When finding yourself in thoughts of shame, fear, or depression, then turn your attention and your energy to those you love. Reach out for a photo, a song, a necklace from your grandma, or whatever can remind you of that feeling of love and connection.
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About the Author: Julie Glaser is a healer who creates sacred spaces for people to share, release, and grow. She’s in the habit of being in awe and wonder and writes to share her own experiences and learnings with other inquisitive souls in the process of transforming.