I’ve always been different, strange, a misfit. For some people that means that I am not worth the same as they are. Yet for others it is what makes me special. It is with those people that I choose to spend my time with, because those who don’t see my true worth are not worth my energy. My post today is both a letter to myself when I am finding life tough, and to those reading it who are like me and don’t always fit in.
I have suffered from depression, anxiety, and insomnia for quite a long time, but it went undiagnosed for several years because I didn’t even recognise that anything was wrong. But now I know, and at the times when I am finding it hard to deal with, I take medication for it. For too many people depression is something they feel bad about, because they are told to just cheer up, but sometimes you just feel sad even when you think there’s no reason to be. But it shouldn’t be that way. If a person has a broken leg, they don’t get told to just walk it off. Mental illness is just the same, it doesn’t just go away because those around you want it to. So don’t ever let yourself sink deeper into depression by tying to make others happy.
My depression is one reason I love books. In them I find friends, and I find solace. I can always find the friends I have made in books whenever I need them by simply going to my bookcase, and when I am facing tough decisions I always ask myself what they would do in the same situation. They have brought me comfort in very dark times, and I carry them with me where ever I go. Some, those who think we are strange, would say it only makes me more crazy, but I am with Luna Lovegood in saying that I am just as sane as they are. I am a dreamer, who believes in magic, and in my dreams I am not so lonely. Then, when I’m in the real world, things aren’t so bad and the depression can’t stop me from living a good life, because I’m not so afraid to be myself. It doesn’t make me what some would call mad; because I know the difference between real life and a story. But isn’t that what a good story does? They make us believe, if only for a moment, that anything is possible and that we can all be heroes, so why is it so wrong to pick up a book and jump head first into a story?
Some people have footballers, or musicians, or reality TV stars as idols. I have characters from books, and the authors who create them. In a hundred years from now, when no one has any idea who won the 2016 Big Brother, they will still know who Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins were, and the people who wrote them. That is because when you strip away all of the magic and fantasy, they are people who we can actually admire, and the stories they gave us will still hold meaning. Yes, I love the magic, but it is the characters that make a good story, and they are the reason we feel connected to their worlds.
That’s why places like Pottermore (as it used to be before they changed it and stopped us making friends) are so popular, and why a comic con in London can draw in over 133,000 people in a single weekend, because people like us aren’t misfits at all; we fit with each other. We have just become accustomed to hiding in the shadows, but as a great man once told us, “Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light”. It took me a while to realise this; that I do have a place in the world, and that I don’t have to be a powerful person to change the world for the better, because it is the small things that mean the most. I have my friends, and they give me strength, and I don’t just mean the ones I find in books. I have you guys from Pottermore, and those I’ve made from travelling, and those I know from my home city who like me for my weirdness.
I also have Izzy, who brings me so much joy and gives me a reason to wake up on the bad days, because she still needs to be fed and bathed, and expects adventures in the garden whenever it is a sunny day, no matter how I am feeling. She is my friend, and I am hers, and being responsible for her gives my life a little extra meaning because I know she depends on me.
So just be you, because you can’t be anyone else, and no one else can be you. You are never alone, and the world is never too dark to see the light, it is just sometimes hard to remember that even Dementors can be beaten if we have hope and love.