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Between Light and Darkness

The Harry Potter series used to be close to my heart while I was growing up. I stopped reading the books or watching the films not only because I was well acquainted with them, but also because a part of me was avoiding the series. I associate happiness, hope and dreams with it – bonds of love and friendship, courage and happy endings. It was precisely for these associations that I avoided Harry Potter. I could not come to terms with myself.

Today, after many years, in April 2018, I am enjoying a Harry Potter film again. Nothing has changed, really. Not the series. Not my past. Only, perhaps, myself.

Turbulent emotions have been my companion for about a decade. I repeatedly got embroiled in unhappy relationships and suffered from low self-esteem. With time, I developed anxiety attacks, my spells of depression became chronic, I had uncontrollable outbursts, and suffered from stress. It culminated in multiple attempts at suicide. I remember vividly, as if it were yesterday, swallowing poison and losing consciousness multiple times in the middle of the night. This was more than a year ago. In the winter of 2016, I visited Over a Cup of Tea. But, it took a few more self-harm attempts and more breakdowns for me to begin to take therapy seriously. This time, I knew that it was my turn to get well.

I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder – an unstable mental condition characterised by mood swings, unsteady relationships, self-harm patterns and low self-worth. “All you need to do to get better is improve your perception towards self”, Charvi told me. “It's really that simple.” It took me a while to believe that what had been plaguing me uncontrollably, maddeningly for years had a solution that lay in my hands. Thus began my journey.

Dear reader, there is so much I wish to tell you. Most importantly, do remember to believe in yourself. The world is a harsh place that does everything to convince you otherwise. At the same time, this world is breathtakingly beautiful for those who have faith in themselves and in beauty.

I started to break down my problems and fears into little chunks. Each led back to the same thing – a voice that told me “You are not good enough. You are not enough. Be better.” Once I recognised that, I knew my enemy and that is the first step in combat. Foremost, this was not me. This was my demon, the darkness that latched on to my light.

I am a perfectionist and perfectionism can be a pain. It makes one constantly anxious about achieving standards and self-set expectations. One can succumb to that voice, or one can remind oneself that perfection is a myth. There is no end to improvement. My primary enemy is that whisper which tells me that I am not good enough. So, I began to change my narrative. “You have done well. You can be even better,” I told myself. You see, at the end, it is we who must nurture ourselves. The chase for perfection ends where self-acceptance begins.

I believe that we are each given only what we can handle. There is strength in survival. Do we complain about our pitiful circumstances? Or, do we see opportunities to feel strong? Do we gaze wistfully at what we do not have? Or, do we feel blessed for the thousand mercies and privileges we do have? Do we choose light or darkness? For, as Sirius Black says, we each have light and darkness within us – what matters is which one we choose, that is who we are. And I am finally beginning to make peace with myself and Harry Potter.

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