Films June 15, 2017
It started when I was 11... the same age Harry began realizing he was different.
A never-ending cycle of intrusive, dark thoughts. Nightmarish broken records playing over and over. A small, stubborn mechanism calling out your deepest fears, no matter how nonsensical or uncharacteristic.
Harry: “What if after everything that I’ve been through, something’s gone wrong inside me? What if I’m becoming bad?”
Sirius Black: “I want you to listen to me very carefully, Harry. You’re not a bad person. You’re a very good person, who bad things have happened to.”
In the darkest “Harry Potter” book in the series, Voldemort invades Harry’s mind with terrifying, evil thoughts and images. Harry struggles with separating those thoughts from his own, especially when he is emotionally vulnerable.
It took me the longest time to realize the dark thoughts I was experiencing were not reflections of my personality — they were intruders.
Hermione kept asking him what was wrong whenever he fell silent trying to rid himself of all thought and emotion and, after all, the best moment to empty his brain was not while teachers were firing revision questions at the class.
Imagine having your mind involuntarily overloaded with heinous thoughts about suicide, murder, blasphemy… you get the picture. Now imagine having all of those while trying to pay attention in Pre-Calculus class.
I would snap back to reality after 10 minutes of attempting to ignore the intruders, only to find an entire 15 minutes of lecture had passed me by.
“But that’s not all,” said Harry, in a voice only a little above a whisper. “Sirius, I … I think I’m going mad. Back in Dumbledore’s office, just before we took the Portkey … for a couple of seconds there I thought I was a snake, I felt like one–my scar really hurt when I was looking at Dumbledore–Sirius, I wanted to attack him!”
My intrusive thoughts began at age 11, when all I wanted to be was normal (aka not psycho). Going to a therapist was still viewed as something for “crazy people,” and talking about the intrusive thoughts only made me feel crazier.
I thought at any moment that the therapist would look at me with wide eyes and burst out of the room. It was extremely uncomfortable to be that emotionally vulnerable — you basically feel naked even with all of your clothes on. However, talking about the thoughts shed light on something I had stuffed in the shadows. And over time, fear lost its grip on me.
So have I recovered? For the most part, yes. Despite my lack of a “box” for these intrusive thoughts, I have instead developed a “label-maker” of sorts. By labeling intrusive thoughts as an exterior force, I have taken the power away from them.
However, I encourage anyone who struggles with unpleasant thoughts (or the subsequent compulsions) to get help as soon as you can.
Don’t wait for another inspiring “Harry Potter” book to take charge of your mental health. Trust me… it’s worth it.
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