Writing a book was a dream of mine ever since I learned how to read. I was 3 when I was devouring children’s books. My health destroyed by the Chernobyl radiation, I was not allowed to watch television due to migraines and seizures. Often too sick to go to school, books were both my entertainment and my friends. And I swore that one day I would write one.
This year at the San Diego Comic Con I was extremely honored to be able to interview the cast of Supernatural, among them Jared Padalecki, one of the leading actors on that television series. Padalecki recently opened up about his struggles with depression and started the Always Keep Fighting Campaign, intended to spread awareness.
A guest post by Jay Scarlet
I’ve recently been re-reading a number of books by Terry Brooks, in part to refresh my memory ahead of the upcoming adaption of his Shannara series on MTV (so excited!!), in part out of a desire to revisit some of the books I had loved while growing up. In addition to Shannara books, I also read Magic Kingdom for Sale – Sold! for the first time in probably 20-25 years.
“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”
J. K. Rowling
I recently had the tremendous honor of attending, giving a keynote speech, and presenting a panel at MISTI-Con, a Harry Potter-themed conference that takes place once every two years. It was marvelous. Between the enchanted ball, the wicked murder mystery dinner, and the magical people that attended the con and put it together, it was an unbelievable experience.
“What wouldn’t I give to be normal!”
(Mystique, ‘X-Men First Class’)
I grew up on fiction. It was brain food to me. I generally preferred to read books to just about any other activity. Over the past few years I’ve been incorporating fictional characters into Superhero Therapy. For me these characters hold a deep and personal meaning, after all, some of them actually helped me recover from my own traumatic history.
Did you ever want to be a Superhero? Did you ever wish that you could possess magical powers, like Harry Potter, or travel around the world in a time machine, called the T.A.R.D.I.S. with an alien who calls himself The Doctor? What if you could, in a way?
Many of us wish we had some kind of magical or extraordinary abilities, and many of us strongly identify with fictional characters, like Batman, Superman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, characters from Harry Potter, Firefly, and many others. Recent research findings suggest that identifying with fictional characters can actually be extremely beneficial as it can teach us empathy, remind us that we are not alone in our painful experience, inspire us to eat healthier, and allow us to better cope with difficult life transitions.
“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it”
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
While not many of us have lost our parents to a dark wizard, many of us can relate to a deep deep sense of loss, having lost someone or something that meant a lot to us. That is also the story of Harry Potter. From the very beginning of the series we learn about the terrible loss, depression, and trauma that Harry and later, his friends, endure.
Anyone who’s read the Harry Potter series and/or watched the movies will probably agree that throughout their years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry and his friends come face to face with some of their biggest fears on numerous occasions. The series does such an outstanding job of demonstrating how different characters cope with anxiety and fear, that I couldn’t resist using these examples in my work with patients with anxiety. Here is how Harry Potter can be incorporated into therapy and what we can learn from the series about facing our own fears.
I’ve never fallen in love with The Doctor as quickly as I did with Peter Capaldi. There were so many psychological themes in the first episode of Season 8, Deep Breath, that I felt instantly connected to him and found him extremely relatable. Below is my review of the episode from a psychological standpoint. WARNING: CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS, CLICK TO READ MORE IF YOU DARE