Fans of Harry Potter will be familiar with the Dementors, Dementors feed on human happiness and thus generate feelings of depression and despair in any person in close proximity to them. They can also consume a person's soul, leaving their victims in a permanent vegetative state, and thus are often referred to as "soul-sucking fiends", rendering a person an 'empty-shell'.
The description of the 'Dementor's Kiss' in the Harry Potter novels is as good an explanation of depression as I have seen. It can come suddenly and appear to suck the soul from you, - the very essence of self appears to be lost at that time. This description highlights the fact that depression does not depend on circumstances and is not feeling a bit down or sad it is something that generates a sense of utter helplessness and emptiness.
As we are now into 2018 and past 'Blue Monday' maybe the description of the Dementor's Kiss is something that is familiar to you. Life can seem completely hopeless with no future. The effort of just existing is exhausting and the numbing empty feeling leaves you feeling like an empty shell.
However, it is an illness and therefore you can recover. There are a number of things that you can do to help
See your GP - if they think it appropriate they can prescribe anti-depressants. There are a number of different forms of these drugs, they are not addictive and can make a massive difference.
Talk to someone - find a trusted friend and talk about your feelings. If you do have depression this is difficult but it does help, you will realise you are not alone and that someone cares for you and understands you.
Be kind to yourself - accept this is how you are (just now), congratulate yourself for every small victory (getting out of bed, making a cup of tea, eating a meal). Acknowledge that each of these is like a mountain to climb and the energy to accomplish even a small task is huge therefore every small achievement is worth celebrating.
It's not your fault - If you get a cold or flu, you would not be blaming yourself, depression is just another illness and there should be no blame. As in the Harry Potter novels the Dementors would attack the unsuspecting, depression can appear to just attack you out of the blue.
In Harry Potter the Dementors will vanish if the wizard conjures up a Patronus - an image of something good. If you think of something good, beautiful and positive then it can be very helpful in the worst moments.
Many people find that counselling can be very helpful, by having the space and time to speak and be listened to, to process your thoughts and feelings in a safe and confidential space. At Access Counselling we are experienced in helping people with depression, so feel free to phone, text or e-mail. Full details on the website www.accesscounselling.org.