Eyes Unclouded: Princess Mononoke and Living with Anxiety

Note: This is not an examination of the intentions of Hayao Miyazaki or any of the other filmmakers involved in the production of Princess Mononoke. This is how it speaks to my own lived experience.

(CW: mental illness)

I live with anxiety and depression. I have been going to therapy semi-regularly since 2010, after I experienced an anxiety attack that caused me to flee my workplace. My first experiences with depression were in high school. Anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand, and I’ve heard it described as a symbiotic relationship — bouts of high anxiety leading to periods of depression.

The experience of an anxiety attack, aka a “panic attack,” is like being stalked by a tiger that’s just out of sight. It’s difficult to breathe. You have to do something right now, come on, let’s go, but you don’t know what exactly needs doing. Your fight-or-flight kicks in, and either you get irritable and angry, or you panic and escape as best you can.