When a Dementor From 'Harry Potter' Lives in Your Mind


I forget where I read it or heard it, but the dementors in “Harry Potter” are the embodiment of J.K. Rowling’s depression. A depression that makes you feel cold and numb and sucks all the happiness out of the world. If I am being honest — and I am not just saying this because it is J.K. Rowling — I think the dementors are perfect symbolism for depression and are a brilliant aid in understanding what it actually feels like to be depressed.

As many people with depression will tell you, depression isn’t always a constant thing. You can have days when you are fine and you feel fine. You can have days when you feel fine and then you don’t. Then you have days when you wake up and it hits you immediately. You don’t want to get out of bed. In fact, sometimes it is a serious struggle to move, and this feeling continues throughout the day. You feel as if a dementor is by your side constantly, draining all your happiness and joy from your day. It is said our perception of color depends upon our mood. I have no idea how true it is, but when you feel happier, you may notice brighter lights. When you are experiencing the dark and cold of depression, everything does seem far duller than it should be.

Cast your Expecto Patronum.

I think what I find fascinating about the concept of the Patronus Charm is it depends entirely upon your abilities. What I find entertaining is how the majority of those interested in the Patronus charm simply wish to know what animal they would get. (If you are interested, head to Pottermore and find out. I got a bear!) But beyond that, what powers a true Patronus is a strong happy memory. The Patronus is, after all, simply an embodiment of the happiness and joy felt in that memory. This is how it holds the darkness of the dementors at bay — the embodiment of the exact opposite of those emotions.

So whilst I know my Patronus is a bear, I wonder what will power my Patronus. I think I have a few answers. On the days when the darkness and numbness take me and the dementor glides next to me, I will think of my happy memories. I’ll think about being with my best friend in Liverpool. Or my other best friend in Tenerife. Or chasing my third best friend on his motorbike because my car has no chance of keeping up. I’ll think about Christmas with the whole family. Hugs with Nana. Laughter with the nephew and smiles from the niece.

The truth about living with depression is it will always be there, lurking in the shadows and sometimes it comes out to play with you. The unwanted friend who just won’t leave you alone. But when the dementor does turn up, try and remember those beautiful times. Those times when you felt the joy and happiness of life. Use those memories to spur you on the best you can. It is a struggle and always will be, but try to keep going. And if you need some additional help, eat some chocolate like I do!

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