Depression is a curious monster. It is sitting on my chest as I type this, telling me that I should be curled in a little ball sobbing hysterically. The only reason I’m not doing that is because I don’t know why it’s telling me to go cry. This is also not an uncommon visitor in my life. One of the better known metaphors for depression is the Black Dog. To me dogs are happy creatures well suited to frolicking, snuggles, and never ending love. To say that depression is a dog is to miscategorize it in such a way that anyone seeking to understand it will think it joy.
The more accurate depiction of depression for those in my generation – the Harry Potter generation – is that of Dementors. Both suck at your life’s energy, pulling the things you hold most dear from you and sapping all will to live. In each case it is only a herculean effort that can bring you back. Sadly, in the mundanely muggle world we don’t get to have patronuses. Computers and internet, yes. A patronus? Not so much.
So we’ve established that I’ve got a dementor on my ass. It wants nothing more than to feed on me and steal all happiness I possess until I am but a husk of a human. Now what? No magic, no panacea. Well one of the options is what I’m doing right now – writing it all out so that it doesn’t swirl around in my head and get crowded. Incidentally, if any wizards are somehow reading this please get me a pensive… Another option is getting out and seeing friends, essentially using my support network to keep from losing my mind.
Right now there are nasty little words being whispered to me from inside my own head. If you’ve somehow managed to never lie to yourself then I am more than a little impressed (and you have, by saying that you haven’t. Well done!). My mind will tell me that people I know and love hate me or wish I was out of their life, that I’m a drain on society and drag everyone around me down, or that no one actually likes me. Think about that for a second. Sure, it’s easy to tell yourself that it’s a lie when you hear those things once. Even the first ten or twenty times you can probably ignore it or shake it off. What about the hundredth? The millionth? Suddenly dismissing that self-abusive voice is harder, those fears are more valid, and the urge to check in with everyone to make sure you aren’t secretly a pariah seems pretty reasonable.
I figure I can’t be the only one who deals with this. Everyone has to have some kind of monster hiding in their head, the question is if they’ve worked out how to cohabitate. So go dust out the corner of your mind you don’t like to look out and figure out what’s in there. Make an adventure out of it, find your monster and take it out to a nice dinner. Or therapy if that’s your cup of tea. In the meantime the dementor and I need to get going; they’re playing our song and I don’t want to miss the dance.