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How Peter Pan Sparked a Lightbulb Moment for My Depression Recovery


With anxiety comes depression, and with depression comes anxiety. The two cling to each other like glue.

Last year depression brought back anxiety, and together they took me on, dragged me into the darkness and broke me. Yet sometimes, in and among the darkness, there is a light and you can think clearly. You think logically. You remember the good and you feel like yourself again. Make sure you notice these precious moments. Appreciate and treasure them — you have no idea how significant they are.

One day last year when I was signed off work, I was having one of those treasured moments where my anxiety let me concentrate. So when the film “Hook” came on, I took advantage. “A blast from the past,” I thought, “a reminder of my childhood,” I thought. I happily began watching, reveling at the memories; sad at the reminder of Robin Williams death, shocked at the actors I hadn’t recognized as a child (Dustin Hoffman as Hook) and smiling at the parts I’d forgotten. It’s such a warming film.

Then I reached a certain scene. Peter returns back to Neverland but is struggling to convince the lost boys he’s Peter Pan so he can take on Rufeo and lead the lost boys to defeat hook and rescue his children. Alongside Tinkerbell, Pockets is the only one who believes in him. Peter crouches down and Pockets takes off his glasses and looks into Peter’s eyes. He plays with him, traces the lines on his face and gently pulls his features into all sorts of funny positions. The lost boys watch in anticipation until finally he pulls up both sides of his mouth, discovers something in his eyes, and says, “Oh, there you are, Peter,” creating a smile.

To describe the emotion I felt would do it an injustice. But what I can say is how befitting it felt to the situation I had found myself in. He knew the old Peter was in there, he believed in him, he just had to find it.

A true smile. How simple is that?

I smiled, weeped and remembered my childhood self. That unaffected happiness, zest for life, uncontrollable laughter. It reminded me of who I was and who I needed to be. It gave me a fire in my belly to tackle my demons and start to reignite the me who I’d forgotten I was. The me who made me special.

Find that lost boy in you and use it to aid your recovery.

Smile.

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