I recently watched the movie Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It’s target audience was adolescents but as a sufferer of mental illness, a great deal of its content resonated with me. Children with super human powers are protected by a guardian in a loop continuously reliving the same day for the foreseeable future.
Who do they need protection from? People who don’t understand them. Envious peculiars. And perhaps from themselves because with a power like floating let’s face it, you’re as safe as a balloon that slips out of a 3 year old’s hand.
But why did this film touch me and plant itself in my mind? More than being different, the concept of living the same day over and over and over again is one that many depressives and anxiety sufferers are familiar with. The safety net of predictability. Knowing what time the postman arrives, eating meals that offer little variety, replaying the years’ old heartbreak is easier than the unpredictable nature of a new day. A new day while exciting to many, looms with the potential of death, being laid off, divorce, some threat that you couldn’t have prepared for. A new location presents the painstaking process of developing contingency plans which never work because you manufacture (unknowingly) issues that generate real issues reinforcing your need to remain in your loop.
How can I break this loop? Why should I leave this loop? It’s comfortable to be in control, in a sense. A place of misery but controlled misery that you can meter out. Predictability that’s come to be your friend and protector. It reassures you. In the film, the protagonist Abe inadvertently introduces evil to the loop. This is when the peculiars, having been protected for so long are able to protect themselves using their unique gifts and seem all the more empowered for it.
While I venture outside of my loop sometimes, my goal is to ultimately be free of this pesky familiar world that only I can see. Fear and comfort can debilitate in equal measure but which one will bring me growth? Which one enables me to share my gifts with the world?
Mental illnesses and other mental health and cognitive behavioural issues are often times trivialised by the media, doctors and sometimes your friends. This isn’t an attempt to do so. Everyone’s path and experience will be unique and the parallels they draw are theirs to own.
Here are some links to resources for more information about anxiety and depression:
This page is self funded. If you are enjoying the content, consider making a small donation.