The Antidote To Fear
“The charm that repels a Boggart is simple, yet it requires force of mind. You see, the thing that really finishes a Boggart is laughter. What you need to do is force it to assume a shape that you find amusing.” Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling. When I picked up the first Harry Potter book, I had no idea that within this series there would be such wonderful insight into fear and depression. In the above quote, Professor Lupin is talking about a creature, a shapeshifter, that reads your mind to become the thing you most fear. To defeat it, you need to face it head on, hold your nerve and imagine it as something ridiculous. You need to laugh at your fear.
In later books JK Rowling introduces something far more menacing, the Dementors. These shapeless forms prey on your fear, they feed on your negativity, growing strong while you become so weak you can die. In the last book, they have grown so numerous that the population is experiencing them collectively as a fog so strong that the Sun can’t be seen. The antidote is a spell that requires you to focus hard on happy memories. You need tremendous determination and strength, something most people find hard in the grip of terror. Inability to overcome fear leads to depression. We can be trapped in depression for years.
Throughout 2020, it has been easy to imagine hoards of invisible dementors flying around us. Aside from personal problems that we would be struggling with, everything has been aggravated by isolation and fear. Yet hope, is ever the antidote to fear. Human contact and connection help us to be hopeful. In a year where isolation became a way of being, I have seen huge efforts being made to connect. Together we can stand, laugh, share happy memories and feel hopeful and alive. So today, I invite you to hug a loved one, human or animal, take a walk and revel in the beauty of the season; reminisce about happy memories and make joyful plans for the future. Dare to hope! The Sun always comes out again, some storms are just more fierce and longer lasting than others. This time will pass and your footsteps will be sure once again.