I know that if you suffer from depression, you can’t just shut off those feelings (or lack of feelings, even). You feel crippled by your own mind, which only makes you feel shittier. I understand that. But the next time you’re having a really bad day, or the next time you’re tempted to self harm, or the next time you’re tempted to take your own life-
Think about Harry Potter.
I know, I know. Harry Potter’s a fictional character, what does he have to do with anything?
I’ll tell you exactly what Harry Potter has to do with the matter.
When I was younger, I was severely depressed and had no friends. Sure, I had acquaintances, and the occasional “close friend for a couple of months” people in my life, but a best friend that I completely trusted, 100%? No. I didn’t trust anyone at that point in my life. I didn’t even trust myself. I’d tell myself it’d get better, that I’m just being stupid. Just be happy, dammit. You can control the way you’re feeling, you just aren’t trying hard enough.
With a lot of time to sit around and not many people to keep my mind off of things, I spent a lot of time thinking. Sometimes, if it was a good day, it was how lucky I am to have what I have. Sometimes it was how much I hated myself. One day, after a particularly horrible day, where not much happened to me (except my own thoughts), I was going to do something very stupid and very permanent. I was at such a point of self-hatred that I was ready to take my own life.
I was thirteen years old.
I was so close to doing it when I looked up at my bookshelf and saw Harry Potter. I was absolutely obsessed with the series in middle school. I still love The Boy Who Lived, but I’m serious. It was always what made me feel better. That got me thinking about Harry. Harry was just a baby when his parents died. They were murdered by a man who left a constant reminder of what had happened on his forehead (even if he didn’t know it right away). He was then sent to live with his douchebag aunt and uncle, who treated him like crap, forcing him to do all their housework, endure regular beatings from their snot-nosed son, and sleep under a set of stairs. His entire life, he had been treated as an embarrassment, something to be ashamed of, something to hate and keep hidden.
And then he got his Hogwarts acceptance letter.
Upon remembering this, I found the courage to keep living. I thought, Harry had it so much worse than I did, and look at him. He still found a way to be happy eventually. I kept living. And I’m so glad I did.
The summer after eighth grade I went to New York City for the first time, which was basically my own personal heaven on earth, and went to the Harry Potter exhibition. I cried tears of joy when I was sorted into Gryffindor by the Sorting Hat (even though I’m totally a Ravenclaw) and actually sobbed when I saw THE Hogwarts Express. I went to see Team Starkid live and met AJ Holmes and Joe Walker, who did his Umbridge laugh RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! I got into Doctor Who, which is my current obsession. I went to Chicago twice this summer and saw Book of Mormon both times, which made me laugh harder than every other thing I’ve done this year combined. I got into show choir, something I’d been dreaming about since I was 9. I’ve written essays and had teachers tell me I’ve got real talent, and helped me figure out that, hey, I really enjoy writing. I’ve gone to two midnight premieres and dressed up for both of them, and met some really cool people with the same love of “nerdy” things. I’ve gone to concerts, I’ve found new music, new books, new movies that have changed my life. But most importantly, I’ve found new people that have changed my life.
None of this would have happened had I not remembered Harry Potter.
I would not have found these people that have taken my world and flipped it upside down, and challenged me to be a better person and absolutely refuse to let me think I will ever be abandoned again. They make me smile and laugh and feel like if I were gone, someone would miss me.
Of course, I don’t always feel so optimistic. There are days, weeks even, where I spend the entire time thinking they will never want anything to do with me after (insert minor action I took and then proceeded to overthink the hell out of here). But when it comes down to it, they love me and I love them, and I am so glad they care about what happens to me.
So the next time you feel like the world is your enemy, that nothing will get better, just remember Harry Potter. Remember that even though it could take weeks, months, years even, you will eventually find your own Hogwarts, full of experiences and people that you can’t even imagine ever wanting to leave behind this world.
Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.