Leave it to our favorite daring kitty to take on one of his most widely felt foes yet — anxiety. While he’s usually heading out on epic adventures, conquering foes and achieving his missions, his most recent film “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” in theaters now, shows that even the bravest adventurers have feelings too.
Dreamworks animator Prashanth Cavale, who animated the panic attack, Tweeted on Jan. 18, “Very fortunate to have animated the Panic attack bit on Puss in Boots: The Last Wish! Beyond thrilled to see all the love it has been getting on social media…”. He adds that Perro, Puss in Boots’ companion who is by his side through the panic attack, is the “kind of friend we all need.”
In the movie, in which he tries to restore eight of the nine lives he’s already spent, he loses confidence in his journey, and is overcome with all of the emotions parents (and many kids) everywhere can associate with — fear, anxiety, and panic.
Related: This is what anxiety feels like
He leans up against a tree in the forest, eyes closed, clutching both the ground and his own chest, breathing heavily with his mouth open. His buddy lays his head on his stomach, waiting patiently in support for the panic attack to pass, looking worried. Puss in Boots pets his head, and is soon soothed, sighing as the panic attack passes.
One fan commented on the Tweet, noting “how raw it felt” while another said “as someone who has a tiny lil emotional support dog, seeing this on my tl made me shed tears.” Yet another wrote, “Incredible work…getting to see such an earnest depiction of this sort of thing in the medium is an absolute treasure.”
Another viewer wrote, “My dude, you almost made me cry with this one! I have had panic attacks and know how it feels like, ya’ll got it just right…”. In an interview with CNN, director Joel Crawford says they wanted to take viewers on “a journey that expresses the full range of emotions of life,” and that they did.
For the almost 1 in 5 children experiencing anxiety, a number that’s nearly doubled since the pandemic, witnessing a panic attack from a beloved and brave character can be both validating and emotional. And for many people, whether they have an official anxiety disorder or not, Mayo Clinic reports that one to two panic attacks may happen at some point in their lives as well. These temporary severe physical reactions can make you think you’re having a heart attack, dying, or losing control, they explain.
Some common symptoms include:
Sense of danger or doom
Rapid pounding heart rate, or shortness of breath/throat tightness
Chills or hot flashes
Sweating or shaking,
Numbness or dizziness
Nausea or abdominal cramping
Mayo Clinic adds that it’s totally valid to get medical attention for a panic attack, especially when they impact your life frequently, as they can get worse without treatment.
In the meantime, that deep breathing and the help of a furry friend might be just what you need to help a panic attack pass. And from moms everywhere helping anxious kids navigate a scary world, movie makers — bring on more representation and validation of mental health struggles for kids, like this.