Depression and Dementors
When JK Rowling created the fantastical world of Harry Potter and needed a truly scary creature, one with no pity, no mercy, and no remorse, she modeled the dementors on her own depression. When they appear, the world is grayer, colder, hopeless. And this is a great description for what most people think of as depression. Of course, it was written for a children’s book so it’s a bit simplistic and it is reflective of one person’s experience. With depression, as with any mental illness, there are as many ways to experience it as there are people who have it. The one thing that is always true is that depression lies. If it whispers that you are worthless, If it whispers that there is no hope, If it whispers that no one wants you, If it whispers that the world is better without you, Depression is lying. This is a personal mantra, the one that is used many times (in addition to therapy and medication) to help get through a difficult day. But, like everyone’s depression is different, everyone’s battle is different, and everyone’s personal successes are different. And the measures of success may be different at different points in your struggle, as well. Sometimes, the measure of success is just getting out of bed. Other times, it’s having a day that was hardly touched by depression at all. Most days, it falls somewhere between the two. As the stigma against mental illness wanes, more people will come out and talk about what works for them, what they do to relieve some of the depressive symptoms. I await the day that it is not shameful or a joke to visit a therapist. (And for accurate portrayal of therapy in the media, but that's a post for another day.) It isn’t a joke now, except in the minds of people who can’t see how the world is changing and how beneficial taking authentic care of oneself really is. The same thing is happening with medication. It is not weak to use the tools surrounding us to feel well. Depression, for all that it is called a mental illness, also has a physical cause. Everyone relies on the chemicals and hormones in their bodies to stay balanced, to stay well. When those chemicals and hormones aren’t balanced, there is no shame in using the tools available to us to help balance them, including medications for some. Going back to the world of Harry Potter – the cure for being exposed to dementors was chocolate. Here, in this world, there is no “cure” for depression, but there are a number of medications that can help treat it in conjunction with therapy. Your doctors and therapists are the best people to help you with this. Please use this post to help you begin to talk with them, if you need a place to start. It is not, however, a substitute for a diagnosis or treatment. Depression is a serious illness and should be treated under the care of professional therapists and doctors. In addition to therapy, there are a number of resources available for help, we have listed some of the ones we are aware of below. For an emergency, if you are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, or have already done so, please call 911. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK(8255) - also has an online chat option If you prefer to text, you can text HOME to 741741 The Veteran’s Crisis Line – 1-888-947-4431 The Veteran’s Crisis Line is confidential, and has some connection to the VA for further services if you want them. Many on staff are veterans themselves and may have been where you are. – also has an online chat option If you prefer to text, you can reach out to 838255 Veterans And Substance Abuse - 1-888-682-5929 The Trevor Project – 1-866-488-7386 The Trevor Project offers services for LGBTQ youth. There are also specialized hotlines for LGBTQIA individuals. – for online chat If you prefer text, you can text START to 678678 The LGBT national hotline is – 1-888-843-4546 The Trans Lifeline is – 1-877-565-8860 If you are located in New Mexico, there are resources near you, as well. NM Crisis and Access Line 1-855-662-7474 Kids Talk 1-575-636-3636 Mobile Crisis Services 1-575-647-2800 (this service is specific to Las Cruces, NM) Maria Laquerre is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, who specializes in addressing trauma with clients of all ages. Maria has practiced therapy in New Mexico since her return in 2008. Maria's current passion is supporting therapists in doing their best clinical work, which she pursues through offering supervision, consultation and trainings. Maria enjoys spending time with her family, watching Star Wars and Marvel movies, discussing the psychology of pop culture and loves a good book!