“Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Even Muggles feel their presence, though they can’t see them. Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you.”
For more than a decade, I have been dealing with my own type of dementors: depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphia. Dysmorphia drains me of peace, anxiety drains me of hope, and depression drains me of happiness and joy. And these “dementors” are not just unwelcome visitors who swoop in for a day at a time, then leave me be. No, they stay close by, all the time. They hang out by my bed and keep me awake all night long. They sit in the backseat while I am driving to meet new friends. They are in my mirror when I am getting dressed or doing my makeup. They have been whispering so many dark things to me for so long, that it has become hard to tell the truth from the lies. And this barrage is constant and unyielding.
The only thing I have found that gives me even the smallest measure of respite is running away. Taking off on new adventures, traveling to different places, distracting myself with fresh experiences. But this is such a temporary solution. My dementors always find me – usually within a day or two. It doesn’t matter how far I run, or how thoroughly I distract myself. My dementors are only ever a few steps behind, and my respite is always too short.
So this year my resolution is this: to stop running, and start fighting. There is help out there – “Patronus Charms” of sorts, specifically designed for muggles like me. There are professionals I can talk to, books I can read, exercises I can implement…and of course, medications I can take to help me get back to me. I am not sure why I have felt ashamed for so long and scared to seek help. Illness is illness, and it should all be treated regardless of whether it impacts the body or mind. I am not the problem, my dementors are. So I am going to do everything I can to get my dementors to leave me alone, so that they stop sucking the very soul out of me.
If you are like me and dealing with dementors every day of your life, please know that you are not alone. You are not damaged goods. You are not too far gone. You can be helped. You can do this. You can get back to you. If you are not sure where to start, just reach out to me. I would love to swap numbers, connect you with resources, and become friends. Don’t let the dementors make you feel like you are isolated in Azkaban. I got you, and you got me.
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”