This bank holiday weekend, there’s one film that’s predicted to break records in cinemas….Rocketman. This film tells the story of how rock and roll legend, Elton John, rose to fame. I was lucky enough to go and see it this week and despite preconceptions of a classic “rags to riches” storyline, I was surprised to encounter a strong connection to a multitude of mental health conditions. Without giving any spoilers, I thought the film posed some really important questions and viewpoints.
From alcohol and drug abuse/addiction to affection deprivation and toxic relationships, the film explores how situations and people can affect a person’s mental health. It really made me think about the importance of environments on mental health as, it was very clear in the film that certain people and places resulted in further issues for Elton. How many of us have been in a situation that we know isn’t good for us, but have stayed because we feel trapped and unable to leave? I know I certainly have. Yet it’s not something that’s discussed very often. So, how can we help those who may be feeling trapped?
I found the character of Bernie, Elton’s lyricist and friend, to be one of the most inspirational characters of the film. Despite not understanding his friend’s choices, he stuck by him throughout all the struggles he faced and even when he was pushed away, he always returned, ready to help. I think we could all learn from Bernie. Despite the pain it caused him to see Elton struggling, he persisted to help in any way he could. Just having one person who sees past the mental illness and tries to find a way to help you is priceless. Mental illness is often scary and isolating and cannot be fought alone. So I aim to take a leaf out of Bernie’s book, and try to put aside my own struggles in order to help those around me who may need a hand to get out of an extremely dark place.
It’s also apparent in the film that Elton feels like he’s let his childhood-self down. This is an extremely common theme amongst those with mental health issues for, as children, our futures seem full of potential, with adults appearing as superheroes and no dream being impossible. However, the rose-tinted glasses of youth blur out the hardships that many of us face throughout adulthood. As a result, it’s understandable that we feel as though we have failed our former selves.
However, it’s important not to let these feelings of failure knock you even further. During the film, there’s an extremely powerful moment where grown-up Elton gives child Elton a hug. Within this moment there’s an overwhelming feeling of forgiveness, reconciliation and hope. Our challenge for you today is to take some time to picture yourself as a child. Imagine what you would want to say to your younger self and what your younger self would say back. Consider the emotions you’re experiencing and think about where in your body you can feel those emotions.
This kind of practise can be extremely helpful in understanding your emotions and also in helping to forgive yourself. Everyone will experience some form of hardship during their lifetime, but the fact that you’re reading this shows you haven’t given up yet. That’s something to be extremely proud of and I’m sure your younger self would be proud of you too if they could see how brave they grew up to be. Give your younger self a hug and see if it could help you to take one step closer to a brighter future.
No matter what your situation, it’s never too late to turn things around, but it’s difficult to do so alone. Reach out to someone today and find the help that you deserve. Talk to someone. Talk to us.