What 'The Sixth Sense' Means To Those Affected By Childhood Mental Illness
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

What 'The Sixth Sense' Means To Those Affected By Childhood Mental Illness

It is more than just a horror movie for this special reason.

973
What 'The Sixth Sense' Means To Those Affected By Childhood Mental Illness
wheresthejump.com

As Halloween approaches, The Sixth Sense will no doubt be gracing the screens of everyone who has good taste in scary movies. The film has the perfect amount of symbolism, jump scares, and general creepiness.(SPOILERS AHEAD, IF YOU HAVE NOT SEE THE MOVIE DO THAT BEFORE YOU READ THIS!!!)

The movie is all about a little boy named Cole who can see dead people. Spirits of people who met grisly ends terrorize him at every turn. He struggles to make friends and do well in school, exasperating his already stressed-out mother.

The Sixth Sense is more than just a horror movie to me. I tear up every time I watch it because now that I am older and no longer hide when Mischa Barton’s puking character shows up, I see myself in Cole. To me, Cole represents the specter of childhood mental illness.

At the beginning of the movie, Cole is so constantly terrified that his world shrinks. He focuses on survival and feeling safe instead of happiness or personal growth. Through no fault of his own, Cole is robbed of a healthy childhood. He does his best to be a normal kid, but danger seems to be around every corner.

This situation is achingly familiar to those of us who were struck with mental illness in childhood, hopefully minus the dead people. Children desperately need stability and safety to thrive. When this is compromised, the child is stunted and sometimes learns to focus on survival more than achievement. It can be nearly impossible to feel safe. Unfortunately, people tend to be far from understanding when it comes to these invisible ailments.

Much like a mental illness, Cole’s affliction carries a heavy stigma. In his case, the taboo thing is death itself. People do not want to talk about it, hear about it, or even believe that the dead might approach someone in such an invasive and horrifying manner.

The people in Cole’s life, even his own well intentioned mother, often berate and ridicule him because they do not understand that this nightmare is out of his control. Cole is heartbroken and guilty about making his mother worry, and he feels powerless. He tries to minimize her concern but the crushing knowledge that something is wrong with him is too heavy for him to carry alone.

Luckily, Cole meets a child psychologist named Malcolm, who happens to be dead. Through time spent with Malcolm, Cole learns to see this curse that has taken over his life in a new way. With help, he learns to listen to the gory apparitions, and to understand them. Towards the end of the movie, Cole feels something close to empowerment and self-efficacy for the first time. He realizes that he is not doomed but different.

This happy ending mirrors what we growing up with a mental illness go through as we somehow learn to cope with things we thought would kill us. In real life, there is no simple happy ending. In my case, I grew from a scared kid into a scared but highly adaptable adult. Eventually some survivors of childhood mental illness may even learn to take some pride in making it to adulthood, or even just through the day.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1049773

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

668811
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

707870
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

455452
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

278078
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

422314

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.

282579

Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

190230
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments