What are you doing with your time in quarantine? Since I’ve been sheltered in, I’m integrating a little more self-care into my life. After all, self-care isn’t selfish, as many have said, but self-care is indeed a necessary thing for all of us as we strive for good health and well-being.
I love movies, but all too often, in typical circumstances, I don’t take the time to settle down for a few hours (with some popcorn, of course) and actually indulge myself in viewing a good movie. And I was recently reminded of the deep impact a good movie can have upon its viewers. Who of us hasn’t been incredibly moved by watching a good film?
Cinematherapy focuses on the idea that art imitates life, and one film I recently watched did not disappoint. To the Bone is about a young lady with an eating disorder. The film is based on the life experiences of the film’s director, Marti Noxon, who states, “I didn’t want to try to show the particularities of this one ism, but to talk about the underlying issues. “Eating disorders for me, like substance abuse [for others], was me wanting to escape a certain pain or level of feeling that I didn’t want to have, and until I faced those feelings, I wasn’t going to get better.”
I especially like the film because it doesn’t just apply to eating disorders. Most anything can become an addiction. For centuries, we’ve observed so much about chemical addictions, but now we are also hearing more and more about process addictions. The American Society of Addiction Medicine now holds a wider definition of addiction to include not only drugs and alcohol, but also process addictions to such things as shopping, exercise, and gambling, for example.
We are all susceptible to addictions. True confessions – I have addiction to my phone. Seriously, nomophobia is the fear of being without one’s smartphone. This addiction has become so prevalent in our society that there is a proposal to include it in the next edition of the Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Sure, I joke at my addiction because I don’t really want to think about it that much. And I don’t want to change. That’s my denial. Yet, oh so quickly, those process addictions, too, can seep into one’s life in such a way that interferes with relationships and obligations.
The film To the Bone didn’t win any stellar awards. But the film reminds me of the complicatedness of relationships and of life’s twists and turns. There is also the reminder that hitting “rock bottom,” is not always a requirement in order for a patient to get help. Most importantly, the film portrays the idea that the commonality for any addiction is that recovery requires a choice, a willingness to change. One of the best lines from the film is this: “Your courage was a small coal that you kept swallowing.”
The ending. Oh, never mind. Of course, I can’t tell you the ending. But I will say that the ending reminds me of Viktor Frankl’s words:
Say yes to life, despite everything.
These words I want to remember. Especially now. Today.
Check out a few of my fave films that portray the incredible trait of human resiliency:
He Named Me Malala
The Kite Runner
Life of Pi
The King’s Speech
The Pursuit of Happyness
Written by: Jana Wesson-Martin, NCC, LPC-Intern – Therapist – New Braunfels location