I forget where I read it or heard it, but the Dementors in Harry Potter are JK Rowling’s embodiment of her 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 JK Rowling (I could well be), I think the Dementors are a perfect symbolism for depression and is a brilliant aid in understanding what it actually feels like to be depressed.
As many people will tell you who suffer from depression that it isn’t always a constant thing. You can have days where you are fine and you feel fine. You can have days where you feel fine and then you don’t. Then you have days where 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 that 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 that our perception of colour 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 suffering from the dark and cold of depression, everything does seem far duller than it should be.
Cast your Expectro Patronum
I think what I find fascinating about the concept of the Patronus Charm is that it depends entirely upon your abilities. What I find entertaining is how the majority of those interested in the Petronus 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, the thing that 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 and that is how it holds at bay the darkness of the Dementors, 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 and I think I have a few answers. On those days when the darkness and the numbness take me and the Dementor will glide next to me, I will think of those happy memories. With my best friend in Liverpool. My other best friend is Tenerife. Chasing my third best friend on his motorbike (My car has no chance of keeping up). Thinking 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 that 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 power 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.