Movie Mandalas – The Little Mermaid

Up And Down

If there is one thing I have had to accept about depression and about fibromyalgia it is that there are perpetually continuous cycles of feeling up and feeling down. Good days and bad days. Cycles that go from one end to the other can be long and easier to struggle through. Sometimes there are cycles that leave me reeling and exhausted. And that is where I find myself in the last couple of weeks now that I’ve started a slower cycle of symptoms. I’m tired.



Emotional detachment is a problem that many can have with mood disorders, such as depression. Although it doesn’t always happen to me when I’m exhausted after cycles of harsher symptoms, this time around it seems my emotional state has fizzled out for a time. This, I found out, made watching the latest animated movie, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, for my Movie Mandala series, to be quite odd. Numbness coated what I was taking in and blocking memory recall. And it set an odd, distantly sad, mild tone from which I observed the story unfold on the screen.




I remember watching The Little Mermaid several times as a child. I remember liking it, even if I found Ariel’s desire to jump into a marriage so fast rather odd. And I remember liking the characters, especially Ursula and her casual presentation of her wickedness. But this time around, I found myself watching the movie and, instead of feeling my way through it, I was trying to remember how I feel about this story.



For example, I watched Ariel as I counted stitches and concentrated on how she got excited about mundane human objects, felt sad at her father destroying something she found important to her, made a rash decision that changed everything, even how she applied herself to the task of winning Prince Eric over despite knowing so little about each other and the frightening consequences should she fail. Vaguely, I touched on the memories of those feelings about the situations in the movie, and I found it interesting that as I was slowly changing from a distant sadness in the fog of numbness to a softer quiet in the back of my mind. Not quite a strong feeling, but at least a more positive one, which was nice.




About the midpoint of the movie was when Ursula’s song began to play as I picked out the yarn for her mandala, and I couldn’t help but begin developing a grin of amusement. Is it terrible that I like the Disney villains so much? I can’t help it! They make the story happen! Heheheh.




This is where I noticed my mood began to pick up and I was starting to feel better, more engaged in the story, especially with all the new shenanigans going on now that Ariel was on land. My humor was still a tad morbid, so I found myself more amused by some of the more mean or sad things. When Ariel stood up for the first time and her legs wobbled unsteadily, only for her to fall butt-first into the water, I chuckled as I remembered that that was pretty much how my legs had felt and behaved just that morning. Sebastian got laundered with the clothes and ended up in the kitchen with the hilarious chef singing about his process as he cooked, and mom and I both laughed at the look of shock on the poor little crab’s face.

And of course, we can’t forget how Sebastian and Scuttle try to set the mood for the kiss between Ariel and Prince Eric (well, near-kiss). But Ursula’s cunning was not to let this happiness last though. Oh no. That would make for a boring movie! Besides, as she puts it, she has “bigger fish to fry.” I watched as the animals banned together to stop the wedding between Ursula and Eric, just to barely miss the last seconds of sunlight. Although most of my attention was still on the stitches I was counting, I did begin to feel the suspense I should for this moment in the climax of the movie.


King Triton saved Ariel from her terrible deal, which actually brought a twinge of sadness to me as I watched him turned into that small, gnarled creature and lose his power. It was a distant feeling, but it was there. I watched as Ariel and Eric fought back and defeated Ursula, so close to her gaining control of the seas. Relief, vague and small, but there.


Just What I Needed

For a few days after watching, as I slowly finished the mandalas, I began to feel the numbness-fog clearing up and my mood improve in something tangible. I’m still tired and achy, but I’ve been able to go back to the movie and watch it again, noticing how trying to remember how to feel about something I already knew was a small reminder of how to feel again. I can’t say that this always works. But I’m glad that this time it did.


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