Harry Potter and the Nervous Breakdowns

It’s amazing how certain things can send you back to a particular moment in time. There are songs I still can’t listen to without thinking about things that happened in high school, and that was a long-ass time ago.

Five years ago I was working in Wisconsin as a receptionist. It wasn’t the best job, but it wasn’t the worst and it was the only thing I could find there. The only problem was that the office manager was constantly on a power trip, and was absolutely convinced that the only person who could do the job properly was her so she never let us out of her sight. This meant that half the time her work wasn’t getting done, which of course, was our fault. Still, this isn’t an unusual thing in the workplace and I figured I’d just have to put up with it like everyone else. After all, I’d already been there a year and a half.

I don’t remember how it happened, just that it happened. One minute I was doing my job, the next I was being carried out by a couple of my friends while I screamed and sobbed. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was smack dab in the middle of my first nervous breakdown and diagnosed as bipolar. I was drugged up and depressed about this and it was on that weekend that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released.

Special K thought I should stay home and miss the midnight release party but I told him that I didn’t care what happened, I was going to pick up my book. I’d been to every midnight release sinceGoblet of Fire and I wasn’t about to miss it because of something as silly as debilitating panic attacks. Besides, we weren’t bailing on the yearly trip up North so I thought it was only fair that I get to go to the party.

I spent the rest of the weekend reading Deathly Hallows. I didn’t feel like moving or interacting with people and our friends were understanding. They left me alone until I was ready to talk, which meant I basically stayed on the couch with my book and read constantly.

When I finished it, I was at a loss. After I finished Half-Blood Prince I spent almost a week crying over a certain death that I know shouldn’t even be a spoiler issue anymore but I’m still not going to mention because it’s poor manners. Suffice it to say that it was like losing a member of my family and I was extremely upset. I didn’t have quite the same reaction to the end of Deathly Hallows but it still brought up some serious emotions. I felt hollow. Empty. I’d been reading the books for almost a decade and I needed to process the end of the book and the knowledge that I was never going to read a new Harry Potter book. I went outside and I stared at the stars.

It’s been five years since that happened, almost to the day. Five years since the diagnosis and five years since I first knew I would one day be put in the position I’m in now. It all came back to me when I started re-reading Deathly Hallows yesterday and I was blindsided by the emotions and memories.

I’ve been forcefully reminded that I’m no better now than I was five years ago and it scares the hell out of me.


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