Does Evangelion worsen stress and anxiety?

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Does Evangelion worsen stress and anxiety?

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Postby Aether » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:31 pm

A lot of people seem to claim that Evangelion can help a depressed individual, especially an adolescent one, recover from their depression, and in many cases, this may be true. It seems, however, that there are also many cases in, especially when already under stress, that Evangelion could only worsen the frightening, mostly irrational ideas a teenager might experience.

If you're older than, let's say, 20 years of age, I'm assuming it would be very likely that you're familiar with the tendencies of an adolescent to view his or her problems as being much larger then they really are, and to think in a very self-focused manner, rather than regarding one's self as only a small part of the world. Does anyone agree with me that Neon Genesis Evangelion, if anything, would likely only worsen those tendencies, if the viewer really takes the show to-heart?

Through the rest of this post I will make the assumption that the vast majority of people will never make any one decision completely alone that will drastically and directly change the course of human history.

The protagonist, a young, depressed boy, rather than learning that he shouldn't think about the world as a him-centric existence, becomes more and more convinced that the time he lives in is essentially the "end of days" and that his decisions will have a great impact on future events, more so than usual. In the case of NGE, this was, in fact, what was happening throughout the story, so it was the "reality" in which he resided, but I find it interesting how the show, even though it didn't hesitate to tackle many other themes, never really addresses the idea of "carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders" in a manner that can help the viewer much.

I must give credit where credit is due, and that is in regard to his perception of everyone hating him, which was proven to be nothing more than just that: his perception. This idea ties in very closely with the one I'm talking about, so I can't just disregard it.

Anyway, while NGE makes it clear the pilots, as well as some of the NERV personnel are troubled by the great deal of responsibility upon them and the importance in their decisions, but, at least as far as I could tell, within all the show's messages, not one of them says anything to the effect of "you're only quite a little fellow in a wide world, after all." Some of you may disagree with me, but it seems to me that this is a very important idea to be familiar with, especially in the case of a stressed, emotionally-sensitive, or depressed adolescent.

Rather than the actions he takes proving to be overreactions, as would be expected by a troubled child, they often turn out to be quite appropriate reactions, or even under-reactions. Consider how a teenager may be upset with his or her parent(s) for any reason, even to the point where they can convince themself that they "hate" their mother or father. Of course, if a parent is, in reality, abusive, circumstances are different, and in the case of Evangelion, it exceeds the usual tension that might exist between a parent and his/her child, but is essentially making out the parent to be the source of all turmoil and pain really a good thing to present to someone who may already be exaggerating his or her temporary displeasure with his or her parents?

Similarly, rather than minimizing the effect one person, or one single-party decision can have in a short period of time, a mentally troubled child is let to single-handedly make the decision that will literally determine whether or not every living thing on Planet Earth (potentially)lives or dies.

It seems the Stanley Parable's approach of "think about how big the universe is, and how inconsequential your choice is in a grand scale, and the feeling should subside," and "My goodness! Is it 4:30? I'm supposed to be having a back, sack, and crack," are healthier than what one would derive from Eva, at least with regard to the stress of a self-centered mentality.

It seems to me that Eva takes the imperfect perceptions that a teenager may exhibit, and then blows it far out of proportion to reality, then feeding it back to the same people who may exhibit those perceptions in the first place, which seems likely to increase the stress they'd experience.

What do you think? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Are we going to far into detail on a show about giant robots slapping aliens around?
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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:50 pm

To answer the OP question itself, I think it honestly depends on the individual. I've had both Anxiety and Depression since I was 14 while I finally watched Eva in my early 20's.

Rewatching the series has occasionally worsened my moods, but only if I'm already in that state of mind. If things are mostly stress-free in my life, then EoE's ending would leave me feeling a little strange*, but I'd be over those feelings within a few hours (I'd just busy myself with something then and I'd be fine).

*It's no secret I'm in the camp of finding both endings hopeful, but EoE's final scene really puts one through the emotional wringer just the same!
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Postby Aether » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:25 pm

View Original PostSailor Star Dust wrote:*It's no secret I'm in the camp of finding both endings hopeful, but EoE's final scene really puts one through the emotional wringer just the same!


Of course it would depend on the person, and I'm speaking mostly about people around Shinji's age(which I believe was the original demographic in Japan).

Oh, and Imagine if we'd gotten Ending B.
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:28 pm

Marathoning the series doesn’t make me feel happy. But an occasional viewing of Death and EoE do put me in a positive spot from time to time. I feel so inspired after watching those, ya know?
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Postby kuribo-04 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:33 pm

Eva-01 symbolized this world saving responsibility, and it is shown that Shinji just piloted to get recognition, not because he actually thought about saving the world (that's only tackled in 1.0, where he is shocked at the idea, but Misato tells him that he is (not) alone in this).
And in the end he realizes he didn't need that recognition.
That's how I viewed it. The world saving was something I never payed attention to. I suppose because by the point the angels become threatening and piloting is shown the be a very important job, I was just thinking about the characters. It's weird, because that was part of the premise.
I don't know if I explained myself or if it helped. :lol:

Edit: About Eva helping. If I hadn't watched it, I'd feel a lot worse than I do very often. It's not a magical solution. It's a starting point.
But you have to be at least a little positive while watching it, otherwise you'll just see tragedies (I've never understood that point of view, you need to ignore episodes 25 and 26, and the excellent ending of EoE).
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Postby Aether » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:01 am

View Original Postkuribo-04 wrote:(I've never understood that point of view, you need to ignore episodes 25 and 26, and the excellent ending of EoE).


Sorry I don't quite understand what you mean by that? Are you saying you don't understand the point of view that claims you should ignore the endings, or that you think one should ignore the endings?
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Postby kuribo-04 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:49 am

View Original PostAether wrote:Sorry I don't quite understand what you mean by that? Are you saying you don't understand the point of view that claims you should ignore the endings, or that you think one should ignore the endings?

What I wanted to say was that you would need to ignore those to come to the conclusion that Evangelion is just negative, because all those are very uplifting to me.
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Postby mechashiva » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:19 pm

Its kind of like you need to break yourself down before you can build yourself back up again and its hard to really get that place without retreating away from the painful truths in life. (i.e. you can't fix something bad without acknowledging you have a problem in the first place)

Evangelion is kind of like a Pandora's box: all the bad or upsetting stuff is part and parcel but at the bottom is hope: hope to be a better person and find the strength within yourself to move ahead.

am I talking out of my ass again? -o-;
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Postby Jimbob » Sun Feb 01, 2015 4:02 am

No. Never.

And if it does then you're taking this fictional cartoon way too seriously.

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Postby Aether » Sun Feb 01, 2015 4:49 pm

View Original Postkuribo-04 wrote:What I wanted to say was that you would need to ignore those to come to the conclusion that Evangelion is just negative, because all those are very uplifting to me.

In general, I'd agree with you.
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Postby hui43210 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:05 pm

I was 21 when I saw Eva, and was suffering from horrific anxiety and nocturnal panic attacks for about 8 months, Eva was the turning point for me in getting better. Of course the reason my anxiety lasted so long was cuz I thought for sure it was heart disease or an aneurism or what have you. Thankfully, I'm a rational human, so once I got it in my head it was just anxiety, it slowly went away. I haven't had panic attack in 3 years, and while I still get anxiety from time to time, it doesn't bother me.

This is why I enjoyed 3.0 so much, the shit and desperation Shinji goes through reminded me of myself in dealing with all the medical BS I had to put up with in my past.
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Postby Dream » Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:13 pm

If we were to replace "Evangelion" with "EGF"... then yes it certainly does worse my deppresion and anxiety.

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Postby Aether » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:53 am

View Original PostDream wrote:If we were to replace "Evangelion" with "EGF"... then yes it certainly does worse my deppresion and anxiety.

"EGF"? You mean "Epidermal Growth Factor"? I'm assuming you don't but... what?
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Postby pwhodges » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:04 am

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Postby Dataprime » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:13 pm

View Original PostJimbob wrote:And if it does then you're taking this fictional cartoon way too seriously.

I don't understand what it being 'fictional' or a 'cartoon' has anything to do with it? :huh:

Just because the show is not real or animated doesn't devalue it.

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Postby ite89 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 6:12 am

when i was a senior in high school I went on NGE and EoE marathons, after the first one I felt really sad to the point that I called a friend to talk me through haha. Now after 8 years I still go back and watch EoE and NGE as well as the rebuild series because they have become my comfort zone after though times. I had a really though week and i just watched 1.11 and 2.22 (i just finished watching 2.22 like a couple of minutes ago, somehow Eva just reminds me that after really shitty days there will be good ones! New Beginnings!

But if you are really depressed i feel like its a good idea to talk to someone about your feelings and just let them out! Cry once in a while... majority of what psychotherapy is about is based on catharsis so talk to a friend.

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Postby chaosakita » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:03 am

Well, I tried to watch End of Evangelion on a higher dose of acid and I think the stress gave me a bad trip. Whoops!
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Postby BrikHaus » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:37 pm

If Evangelion makes you depressed/anxious, then you should not watch Evangelion.
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Postby robersora » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:54 pm

^
the doctor has spoken, and thus this thread shall be disbanded.
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