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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trick or Treat

Written by  Ava Barron-Shasho, MSW

An intense cold swept over them all. Harry felt his own breath catch in his chest. The cold went deeper than his skin. It was inside his chest, it was inside his very heart.

Harry’s eyes rolled up into his head. He couldn’t see. He was drowning in cold. There was a rushing in his ears as though of water. He was being dragged downward, the roaring growing louder.

And then, from far away, he heard screaming, terrible, terrified, pleading screams. He wanted to help whoever it was, he tried to move his arms, but couldn’t... a thick white fog was swirling around him, inside him. ...

Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself... soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.” – Remus Lupin

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

If you have ever experienced depression you know how debilitating it can be. Just as the dementors leave Harry Potter empty, depression sucks the joy out of you. Leaving you a shell of your former self. J.K. Rowling, in an interview said she based the concept of the dementors from her own personal experience with depression. She knew how it felt to be in a pit of despair desperately wanting to feel better but feeling unable to do anything about it. Symptoms of depression can include lack of energy, emotional flatness, change in eating habits, change in sleep habits, poor self-care, inability to process information and a lack of joy from once previously enjoyed activities.

Depression is the result of a chemical and electrical change in your brain that makes even the simplest task seem impossible. In literature, dementors, demons, and vampires, take something away from your soul. In the Harry Potter series, Remus Lupin had it right, giving the dementor’s victim chocolate brings the person back to good health and normalcy. If you ask me, this has a Halloween sound to it, don’t you think? Scare people and then give them chocolate.

So if you or someone you care about has tried the chocolate route and it hasn’t helped then here are a few ideas that might.

Stop trying to beat depression on your own or hide it from others. Phone a friend and tell them what’s going on and ask for help.

I know this sounds “duh-like” but if you have medications be sure you are taking them as prescribed.

Make an appointment to see your doctor, visit a clinic or a therapist. While either medication or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be helpful, statistics show that a combination of both is the most effective.

Take time to do things that are self-caring, even if it’s just for 30 seconds. This will change your energy level. This can include reading a poem, drinking a cup of tea, looking at something in nature, taking a warm bath, eating a piece of fruit and watching your favorite show.

While 30 minutes of exercise daily is ideal you can start with 30 seconds if that’s the best you can do.

Shop around for a therapist and find one you connect with.

Surround yourself with positive people.

If the dementors have sucked all the life out of you, get yourself to a hospital!

Start eating healthy especially the “super foods” such as blueberries, broccoli, oats, kale, salmon, and soy.

Of course if all else fails and the situation is dire, pull off your covers, stand up, walk to your neighboors, knock on your neighbor’s door and say “Trick or treat” and eat some chocolate!


Ava Barron-Shasho, MSW, is a life and relationship coach, certifed by the International Coach Federation, and welcomes your feedback ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

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