ByMara Mullikin, writer at
I'm an aspiring writer, filmmaker, actress and werewolf.
Mara Mullikin

The first time I discovered Harry Potter was when my sister was assigned to read Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets for school. She was grumbling, and generally unethusiastic about the assignment. My dad inisisted she read it, and to get some attention and points from him I declared I'd read it too (much to her annoyance). After delving in, I became bewitched about this pre-teen wizard who escapes his dreadful home-life to this enchanting school where students can cast spells, interact with magical creatures, fly on broomsticks and go on adventures. This whimsical, yet heartfelt story surrounding this prodigy wizard won me over, and soon I became a Harry Potter fanatic. I read the books, played the video games, saw the movies, collected merchandise, and prayed to god that I was actually a witch so I'd get my Hogwarts acceptence letter (yes, I know it's silly). This lit my (sometimes) cloudy days as a misfit with genuine happiness. Although, nothing could prepare me for the storm that was about to abrupt.

When I was a young teen, I remember confiding to my mother about my depression. I told her about being bullied, feeling alone and hopeless. She expressed her sympathies, and embraced me, and when I thought this would resolve my feelings it only exasperated them. All of the repressed, bad memories of being mistreated, abused, rejected, ignored and taken advantage of flooded in (and there was nowhere for them to go). I began acting out and taking my aggression out on my peers and family. Besides therapy and support from relatives, I looked to Harry Potter for solace.

I resonated with Harry (somewhat), as he grew and Voldermort became more powerful he became tortured by all that'd happened to him. He saw close friends die in front of him, he had to live with The Durselys (people who made him feel unloved) and he had to live up to high expectations. These things consumed him, and he became emotionally unravelled at points. However, when he confided to Sirius, Luna and others, and self-reflected upon his actions and emotions he seemed to accept his troubled feelings, and have a newfound understanding of them.

Having witnessed Harry Potter experience depression, or at least a form of it somewhat relieved my own. The fact this extraordinary person who went on epic journeys, and was able to wish (almost) anything he pleased, still had depression and overcame them made me feel hopeful. I know he's a fictional character, but J.K. Rowling's writing convinced fans, and I that Harry (besides the fact he's a wizard) could exist in reality based on his traits, reactions and interactions. Since then, while I've had a couple more bouts of depression I've learned how to deal with them and understand them.


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