The middle of the week often gets me down in the dumps – where the weekend is too far away, and all I can see is a mountain of work looming in front of me. During such times, I doubt my ability to complete my work or meet deadlines. This is the time of the week when I’m most vulnerable to Dementor attacks.

The arrival of Dementors (dark creatures that feed on your worst fears) is foreshadowed with a chill down your spine. You dread thinking about anything positive, and when the Dementors do reach you, you feel like you will never be happy again.

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This slippery slope that lands us in complete self-doubt renders us hopeless and helpless. We have Dementors in our lives too – they exist in the deepest crevices of our minds and make us doubt our capabilities, our self-worth, maybe even question our right to have the blessings we have. This is what a Dementor does – it sucks out our self-confidence and creates a frame of mind of misery and despair.

What do we do then? In the face of what seems impossible to overcome, how do we battle our personal Dementors? Today, we will learn the Patronus charm.

The Patronus charm is Expecto Patronum, and it requires us to think of a powerful happy memory. We shall come up with more than one memory since sometimes, our chosen memory isn’t powerful enough for the charm to work effectively.

If your personal Dementor is the feeling of worthlessness, then think of your accomplishments (huge ones – like the job you have, or tiny ones, like the child who smiled at you after a long time of building rapport). If the Dementor is the feeling of extreme sadness, then think of your happiest moments (your favourite holiday, time spent with loved ones). Remember, the key to destroying a Dementor is not just the memory of past accomplishments or happy moments, but the conviction that ‘I will be happy/successful again in the future’.

After you have battled the Dementor(s), have some chocolate (Remus Lupin got that right) and congratulate yourself for having faced them. Talk to a friend, and walk around to get a change in scenery. Indulge yourself by getting your favourite food or going to a movie – because you deserve it, regardless of whether you got that job; are in a healthy relationship; scored great marks. Indulge yourself because acceptance of self is unconditional. It doesn’t come with an “if…then”. There are no asterisks and “conditions apply”.

Dementors exist within all of us and rear their ugly heads from time to time. We have the power to keep them at bay. Let’s identify our personal Dementors and build our Patronus kits!

Here’s how you build the kit:

When overcome by despair, summon your happiest memory, remind yourself that you deserve to feel happy, and believe with all your heart that you are going to be extremely happy once you overcome this hurdle.

 

This article has been written by Ms Nandita Seshadri, a therapist, and integral part of Adveka Foundation.

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