Let’s talk about anxiety (and boggarts)

“Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infect the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them… Go too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself… soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experience of you life.”

– Remus Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Most of us have heard of the correlation between Dementors and depression (it is commonly believed that J. K. Rowling took inspiration from her own experience with depression), but what about Boggarts?

A Boggart senses your deepest fear and change its shape to something scary. When it takes shape as a Dementor, nothing depicts co-morbid depression and anxiety better. Anxiety has no logic – let’s face it, it is not always possible to explain why and when we start feeling anxious, nor are we able to avoid triggers altogether. Anxiety is essentially alert signals created by your brain, which are helpful when in danger, but sometimes your mind gets things wrong and give you false alarms.

Not only can anxiety make everything feel impossible, it also messes with your mind – it lies and lies, turning your biggest fears into paranoia. I find the term “mental health” somewhat misleading – anxiety can give a person pretty much every single physical symptom in the book – Feeling faint? Anxiety. Feeling nauseous? Anxiety. Headache? Anxiety. (Obviously there are many more, but you get the gist.)

Like in Harry’s case, the shape-shifter could sense his fear and take shape of a Dementor as a result. Unlike real Dementors, the imposter could not actually harm him, it made Harry faint nevertheless. Boggarts and Dementors are kinda like Tweedledee and Tweedledum, they go hand in hand, as are anxiety and depression – anxiety intensifies emotions and clouds ones thoughts so badly it’s hard to see away out.

The Riddikulus charm was supposed to “combat” Boggarts, yet the spell does not actually repel the monster, instead it inspires laughter which would eventually defeat a Boggart.

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In the end, it is all about hope, and the ability to stay positive during tough times. Our thoughts are part of us; so if there are some part of us that we cannot get rid of, or run away from, what could we do about them?

Welcome the thoughts, feed them, and befriend that part of yourself that you are trying so hard to forget.

To silence our inner demons, we have to challenge ourselves. Smooth seas don’t make good sailors, and only with struggles and challenges can we grow. Take a deep breathe, believe in yourself and refuse to comply next time your mind plays tricks on you.

Sometimes “being human” simply means getting through a rough day, and waking up the following day smiling.

Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, so let’s make today count 💜

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