Recently, I began watching Harry Potter all over again from the beginning and I found myself pondering the idea of a blog post. The problem was, I knew I’d already published content way back in January 2019, which I utilised to talk about ten life lessons illustrated in the Harry Potter series (you can read it here). And so, I considered choosing some quotes from the series that were applicable to many different aspects of mental health, but I knew that I’ve actually created some incredibly similar posts about different TV seasons and movies. Looking back over some of these and after researching how many blog posts and articles there are out there where people have related to Harry Potter quotes, led me to the conclusion that I wanted to do something completely different. I feel like I always work really hard to try to make sure that I’m NOT Disordered’s content is unique and creative, and I’d like to think that this post will massively fulfil that. So, rather than choosing quotes or my favourite bits, I’ve decided to apply some of the concepts throughout the entire Harry Potter series to myself and talk through what these would mean for me…

I thought I’d kick things off with The Mirror of Erised because it’s actually something which comes up in the first part of the series: Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. For those who don’t know, there’s a point in the story where Harry comes across a Mirror in a room at Hogwarts (their School) and when he stands in front of it, his dead parents are in the reflection. Full of excitement, he gets one of his friends; Ron Weasley, to look in it too, but he sees himself winning an award and being the Captain of their Quidditch team. After visiting the Mirror by himself numerous times, the Headteacher (Albus Dumbledore) comes in and explains to Harry that the happiest person in the world would only see themselves upon looking in the Mirror. A further definition or explanation of the Mirror came from the Author; J K Rowling when she pointed out that the name of the Mirror is actually ‘desire’ spelt backwards.

So, with this understanding in mind, starting to go into wondering what I’d want to see in the Mirror; I thought that a lot of things would come to mind. When, I actually thought about it though, there is one thing which would really contribute to my happiness levelling up from what it is now – one thing which I really desire…

For my wrist – and more specifically; the pain in it – to improve! If you’ve missed out on the story… Two years ago, I had a seizure and fell down a flight of stairs which had metal edging to each step, and I broke the radius and ulna in my left wrist. The following day, I had to have a general anaesthetic to have surgery that would put the radius back into alignment with a metal plate and screws. Around seven or eight weeks after the operation, I was still in a lot of pain and after being accused – on numerous occasions – by my GP practice of being addicted to the opioid painkillers I’d been put on after surgery; I was finally given a repeat x-ray and an appointment with a Orthopaedic Surgeon. It turned out that not only was the metal plate put too high up in my radius, but also, the Ulna Styloid (that little bone-y bump that sticks up a bit on your wrist) was actually still broken!

I had a second surgery where the plate was removed from the radius – which had completely healed anyway – and a rod and screws were put into the Ulna break. When that still proved unsuccessful, I had a third surgery where the rod was removed, and two metal anchors were placed – one to mend the break and one to hold a ligament in place around the break. Once again, it wasn’t successful and after an MRI, my Surgeon finally decided that – after almost two years – there was nothing more he could do, and I was given one final appointment to ask any last questions. But before that, I had another seizure and hurt my thumb, so I had an x-ray and with only the knowledge that I’d broken my Scaphoid, I still attended the Orthopaedic appointment with a goodbye card and gifts. It was kind of emotional; the thought that this Surgeon had basically been in my life for two years, had done two surgeries on my wrist, and we’d had numerous appointments together, and now I wasn’t going to ever see him again.

I’d barely sat down though, before he told me that in the x-ray on my thumb, it showed I had bone loss around one of the metal anchors. He asked to do an examination and basically reeled off a list of all the things that felt wrong now… His subsequent letter detailed everything: Arthritis, a broken Ulna Styloid, bone loss, an unstable distal radioulnar joint with crepitus, and damaged ligaments. So; the plan! I’m having a CT Scan to determine how bad the Arthritis is so that the Surgeon will know which one of the two possible surgeries he should do. So, needless to say; I’m in a whole world of pain with all of this and fortunately, my new GP surgery is very understanding in their prescribing of painkillers… But I’d obviously so much rather be out of the pain completely!

Also fortunately, my mental health is finally in a position where I can safely cope with the pain and all the other upset and shock with being led to believe that there was that final appointment and then all of this completely opposite information was kind of piled onto me by complete surprise. It’s been overwhelming; but I’ve been able to maintain my safety.

Another concept that came from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; the Remembrall was a gift for Neville Longbottom from his Grandma. It was explained that it turned red when you’d forgotten something and, in the movie, a joke – which was pretty predictable and it just felt like a matter of time before it was going to be said! – was made when it turned red as Neville held it, and he said, “the only problem is; I can’t remember what I’ve forgotten!”

So, if I held one, what would make my remembrall turn red?

I think it would be as a reminder for when I forget to look after myself… When the abuse started, I found myself feeling nauseous because of the anxiety at the thought of seeing my abuser again and just knowing it was going to keep happening. It meant I couldn’t keep a lot of food down and was rarely hungry and I started losing weight – to the point that when I was bullied, they called me a ‘bag of bones.’ These comments led to me developing a new thought that only escalated things; it was the belief or idea that perhaps if I continued to lose weight, I would stop being appealing to my abuser – as if the entire thing was just about my looks! So, when that didn’t work or prove true and successful, I found myself thinking about control and how desperate I was to have some! And I realised that my diet was something I could control and so that even when I didn’t feel sick, I restricted my food intake.

As time went by, my abuser’s assurances that I deserved nothing positive and that I was worthy of pain and punishment became more and more convincing, and so, when the abuse ended, I continued doing all that I could to inflict damage to my body. This not only included starving myself, but also over-exercising, and drinking alcohol. Then, when my mental health started to really deteriorate, it became about self-harm and then the four suicide attempts, I have made were probably the largest, most unsafe form of not taking care of myself.

It meant that part of my recovery was recognising that I wasn’t to blame for the abuse or how I coped with it, because this meant I no longer felt like I deserved pain. I eventually had this recognition as a psychiatric hospital inpatient and by having multiple 1:1 support sessions with the ward’s various staff who were all trained – to various and different levels – to help and support people with my diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Once I’d developed this new, healthy take on the abuse, the Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT – which you can read more about here) you had to as an inpatient then taught me the art of self-soothing. The Therapy is split into four modules which each target different aspects that can contribute to and affect someone’s diagnosis of BPD (which is why it’s the recommended treatment for BPD) and the module titled Distress Tolerance is home to my two favourite DBT coping skills which promote taking care of yourself; Distraction and Self-Soothe.

Distraction talks about the benefits of turning your attention and focus from something negative and potentially unsafe or triggering e.g. thoughts to self-harm, ruminating over memories of a traumatic event; and place them on something more positive and healthier e.g. something simple like doing a puzzle, colouring-in, playing a computer game, watching a movie etc. Then, self-soothe is all about doing something that’s nice for yourself e.g. taking a shower, putting your pjs on, getting a takeaway, lighting a lovely, scented candle etc. Despite having a good understanding of these two coping skills and being able to reel off multiple examples of activities that would be applicable to each; that doesn’t mean I always remember to use them when I’m struggling.

I think that I’ve become a lot better at it over the years (I did DBT from 2012 to 2014) though because using these skills have become more of a habit over just immediately turning to self-harm etc when something difficult happens or when I’m struggling. They’re still, however, something I could benefit from being reminded about every so often.

Being ‘petrified’ is a concept that is driven from the second part to the Harry Potter series; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In this part, a giant snake can kill someone if they look it in the eye, but if you look at it through something else e.g. in a reflection or through a camera (two examples that actually featured in the storyline) then you would be ‘petrified’ which meant a person goes stiff and can’t move or talk and each victim of the snake needed a special potion to recover.

So, I thought about what is terrifying for me. What would petrify me?

There are two things! The first, would be the number of readers I’m NOT Disordered has! This might seem like a surprising thing for a lot of people because it’s something I don’t often voice; and really, when I talk about the number of readers my blog has – over 1.3 million (the exact figure is on the left toward the top of the blog) – it’s usually in reference to me being proud of it. It might also be surprising because it’s something which I very willingly talk about and mention… This is because, for me, it only becomes terrifying when I think about it whilst actually creating content – hence why I’m actually kind of wincing, frequently watching Scream Queens as an alternative focus, and feeling reluctant as I type this part of the post!

There have actually been a few very special people who I’ve actually opened up to about this, and when I did; I explained why I’m terrified. It’s because I 100% believe that if I put any huge concentration on the number of readers who might see the content whilst I’m creating it, I’d get some sort of ‘stage fright!’ So, it’s not so much about just the number as a statistic, it’s about recognising how many people this relates into and – more importantly – how many of those people will read this exact blog post that I’m writing from my bed in my one-bedroom Bungalow! And this is why I’ve managed to write blog posts about reader milestones because it’s been about the statistic and relating it to other things.

To cope with this ‘petrifying’ aspect to my blogging career, I usually have some sort of background noise when I’m blogging – whether that be just the hustle and bustle of wherever I am while I type, or music, or a movie/TV series. It’s something which, if I start feeling a bit freaked out, I can turn to that for a bit to distract my thoughts and almost go into some sort of denial when I turn my attention back to the content creation.

The other terrifying – or ‘petrifying’ – thing in my life right now, is actually my brand-new (I wonder how long I can call it ‘brand-new’!) media campaign; Shake My Hand. You might have read my blog post a few weeks ago when the website of the Campaign went live (if you missed it, you can read it here), I used it – and a Q&A on one of my best-friend’s blogs (www.gumonmyshoe.com) – to introduce the Campaign, where the inspiration for it came from, the process of creating it, my hopes for it, and so much more! It might have been hard to spot the ‘petrifying’ bit in these pieces of content, but I did actually mention it… It’s the recognition that I really wish I had done some serious research before starting the Campaign. I want to be really clear though, and say that this, in no way, means I regret creating the Campaign or that I don’t enjoy everything I’m doing with/for it. I absolutely love every minute of it and I’m so incredibly grateful to be able to do all that I am for it.

I think the reason this is scary, is because having failed to do the research, I’m pretty concerned that this will mean I don’t do the idea justice. That I won’t be successful with it all because I really, genuinely don’t know what I’m doing! And I think I’m one of those people who struggles if something you do falls flat on its face and goes ‘wrong’ in some way – I’m always reminding myself of what the Crisis Team once told me; that a ‘mistake’ is only a ‘mistake’ or can only be a ‘regret’ if you don’t learn anything from it. So, I already know that if this Campaign does go South, I already feel like I’ll have learnt a lot from it, but that doesn’t take the fear away.

In the third Harry Potter series instalment – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (which is actually my third favourite!) – a Prisoner of the Wizard Prison; Azkaban, called Sirius Black has escaped and the Guards of the Prison patrol the Wizard School whilst searching for him. Dementors can make everyone feel sad and hopeless and they can suck out your soul. To fight them off, there’s a spell; ‘expecto patronum’ where a lit up, white animal comes from the Wizard casting the spell and it protects them.

So, when I started to think about what animal would my Patronus be, I almost immediately knew I would never decide between two and I feel like if you know me – even if it’s just through my blog! – you’ll be able to guess which animals I’m stuck between. Because you’ll likely know just how much I love, and I’m obsessed with my three pets, which are two different animals – one is a cat and two are bunnies! So, my Patronus would either be a cat or a rabbit.

I got my first cat – Saffy – with my Mum when I was in Middle School, and from then, I have almost always had a cat in my life… Whilst I was in the psychiatric hospital for two and a half years, I used to talk to Saffy down the phone and she would meow back to me. And I remember on my first home leave, and she came and lay on my lap, and I cried because I was so comforted and reassured that she actually still remembered me because it was breaking my heart being convinced, we’d lose our bond with me being away for so long when she was used to having me home with her all the time. She had been so helpful for me throughout the abuse when I would come home, and my Mum was still at work, so I’d cry into Saffy’s fur. And from the moment my mental health first deteriorated three years before this lengthy admission, I found her company soothing and her sheer and simple presence, therapeutic.

Being discharged from hospital though, the plan was to move into my own home, and I immediately knew I’d want to get my own kitten. So, I eventually found one online and after being in my own home in December 2014 for exactly one week, she was ready to leave her Mum and littermates, and I brought Dolly home (you can read about her officially joining the family here). I loved having complete responsibility for a little life all by myself. To think that she was fully reliant on me, and our relationship was an incredibly easy and almost predictable motivation to stay safe and alive. To stay out of hospital. I really appreciated her company, her love, and all the ways she showed me affection and gratitude because even though I often didn’t feel worthy of it; I really always needed it. I felt like I’d spent years with very little intimacy in relationships because the only people I was surrounded by 24/7 were staff and other patients. And, as important as my friendships became with some of the other girls, it wasn’t the same as being in an actual lovely, cosy home with someone who you weren’t being forced to be around. I could choose who I lived with, and for four years, I chose Dolly.

After Dolly passed away in 2018 (you can read about her death here), I adopted my calico rescue cat; Emmy within six days (you can read the blog post introducing her here) and everyone said it was ‘too soon,’ but they couldn’t understand just how upsetting it was that the house didn’t feel the same without a cat. And I needed it to be a home that I wanted to be in because I knew that if I didn’t, I would struggle to stay safe because it’d be like taking away one of my motivations to stay safe and not end up in hospital!  And when Emmy was a perfect fit for me and my first bunny (who I’ll talk about in a bit) and cheered us both up; all those people apologised and admitted that I should be trusted to know what’s best for me and my little family/home.

That notion of me knowing what’s best, stuck with me when Emmy developed a sore on her face beside her eye and the Vet consistently dismissed it. My instincts told me something was wrong, and so I completely changed Vets and as soon as the new Vet saw her, they told me that had I left it any longer, she could have lost her eye because the sore was spreading nearer and nearer to it. Despite the Vet treating it and it clearing up, Emmy’s health deteriorated and my bad feeling told me this wasn’t going to end well but I actually wrote a blog post: DEAR EMMY, PLEASE STAY ALIVE | I'm NOT Disordered (imnotdisordered.co.uk) in the desperate hope that I was going to end up wrong. I wasn’t, and later that month (October 2022) she was diagnosed with Lymphoma Cancer and put to sleep.

And that’s when Ruby comes in (you can read about her coming home here) and, the importance each of my cats had on my life and my mental health in particular, is why I’m debating a cat Patronus!


I had two rabbits when I was younger and they had babies and we didn’t know you shouldn’t interfere with the nest, so we had kept checking on the babies and eventually, the rabbits killed them. I remember there being blood on the hutch and so, a while after my mental health first deteriorated, I began hallucinating rabbits. Now, there was one point where psychiatric staff asked me “is that a bad thing?” And I realised that a lot of people were likely imagining little white, fluffy-tailed bunnies running around when actually, what I saw were these dark brown rabbits who were covered in mud and I had this terror in me because I was almost automatically convinced they were there to hurt me. However, after medication and then with Therapy helping me to develop healthy and safe coping skills if I did still hallucinate or if I was worried, I was going to, these hallucinations faded and for a number of years, I felt free.

In 2017 – three years after leaving the psychiatric hospital I’d been an inpatient of for over two years – though, the rabbit hallucinations came back, but my fear that I’d be sectioned and hospitalised again if I told anyone, meant that I kept quiet about them. Until I was in Pets At Home one day with my Mum. Out of nowhere, I had this thought that maybe if I held one of the rabbits in the store, I would feel a better connection with reality, and it might provide me with some motivation and fight toward the hallucinations. So, I asked if I could one of the bunnies and when they said ‘yes’ I picked the fluffiest one with lop ears and when the staff handed her to me as she wriggled in their hands, they said “she’s not too calm mind, she might not stay still” but once she was in my arms she snuggled in and I started crying (there’s photos of this on my first blog post about Pixie, here). And before I knew it, I was telling my Mum that the hallucinations were back and afterwards, I just thought ‘how can I hand her back to the store staff and leave her here? How can I not take her home with me?’ So, the following day, I returned to buy the hutch and to add Pixie to the family (I still had Dolly at that time).

Sadly, after around four bouts of Gut Stasis, the Vet explained that Pixie would continue to experience it and that each time it would get harder and harder for her to recover from it. So, I made the heart-breaking decision to have her put to sleep – which was made even worse by the fact that it was the Coronavirus Pandemic, and the UK was in a lockdown that meant I was unable to actually be with Pixie when she was put to sleep. I had to say goodbye to her in the carpark of the Vets and pray that the staff would be comforting for her in her final moments. And what made me cry even harder, was going home to Emmy without her best friend. So, when she started pawing and scratching at the cupboard where the sawdust and hay used to be kept, I took the hint and along came Luna (you can read about adding my mini Lionhead here).

When Emmy was put to sleep, Luna began following me all over the house and was constantly headbutting my ankles wanting snuggles, head scratches, and strokes – something which she didn’t do too often – I asked the Vet what I could do to help her through her grief and was told; “get her a friend.” She explained that it would likely be easier to introduce Luna to a new bunny than a kitten, and so Gracie came along (you can read my blog post welcoming her, here)! And of all the combinations of pets I’ve had, I’ve never had two to have bonded as quickly as Luna and Gracie. It was like they were soul mates. As though from the moment each of them was born; they were destined to be together. It was actually the strength of their bond which led me to get Ruby; I was so lonely because the two of them were typically together but in a different room from me and I needed someone to talk to!

And so, perhaps after all of this(!) you’ll understand why I’m stuck with my Patronus and whether it would be a cat or a rabbit!

In the Fourth instalment of the Harry Potter series – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – you are introduced to the concept of a ‘Portkey.’ It’s said that it can be any object where, upon touching it, you are magically transported somewhere else. And so, if I could choose anywhere; where would I want to go through a Portkey?

I think that so many people will be surprised to hear this one… Scarborough!

Now, how could I choose somewhere in the UK? Why would I say a little seaside town in Yorkshire?

When my mental health was at its most poorly – in around 2011/2012 – I began running away from home and travelling somewhere in England where I would pray that I’d suddenly feel calm and quiet. And when I didn’t; I would self-harm. One time, I went to Scarborough and from the train station I went to the toilets in a nearby shopping centre I kind of stumbled upon and then ended up in hospital. Now, the ironic thing is, I went there desperate to experience any sense of happiness or positivity and I ended up almost dying…

Then, five years later (in 2016 – I wrote a blog post about it, which you can read here), I went there with my Mum as a trip and was already feeling positive in my recovery, but I actually also went on to really experience a pure, positive and serene happiness whilst we were there. It rivalled the feeling I had when I went into respiratory arrest a few years previously. When that happened, all I remember was there being this bright white all around me, but in front of me was an even brighter point and I remember that alongside this really blissful feeling of absolute content and peace, I also had this urge to get into the middle of that brightest part. Since then (in around 2009), I didn’t experience a similar happiness until my party in 2015 where I celebrated, I’m NOT Disordered reaching 100,000 readers. But and then it actually came again on this trip to Scarborough.

The following year, I returned to Scarborough with my Mum (you can read about that trip here) and I had thoughts about having finally found my safe place. Going through Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), there were numerous opportunities for the Therapist to advise you imagine a ‘safe place’ inside your head at times of distress. And, unfortunately, I had found this exercise and coping skill really challenging because – having had that period where I’d ran away to places all over the country – I felt confident that a ‘safe place’ didn’t exist. That it was a figment of the Therapist’s imagination and something which was a thought of a professional who had no experience of actually even needing a safe place! My inability to find or think of one when everyone else in the group DBT could, left me feeling like a bit of a failure and I was almost filled with hopelessness because if I couldn’t do that but everyone else could, perhaps that meant I didn’t deserve to and that I was destined to either commit suicide or to remain in hospital, with poorly mental health.

After the 2017 trip to Scarborough, I went there a few years later with an ex-boyfriend (I blogged about it, but I don’t really want to go back over that) and having ended that relationship some time ago, I’m quite eager to go back to Scarborough either with my Mum or on a solo-trip so, I’d definitely use a Portkey to visit the town again!

The Resurrection Stone is introduced in the final part of the Harry Potter series; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and it’s obviously quite a straight-forward explanation in that it’s said that if you turn it three times in your hand, you can bring back someone who has passed away. In the Deathly Hallows movie, the Stone is brought in as a bit of a fairytale initially and the Wizard who was supposedly given it, chose to bring back his fiancée, but after a while, it became clear that she was not meant to be alive, so the Wizard killed himself in order to ‘join’ her. When Harry Potter discovers that the Stone is actually real, he uses it as he is about to confront Voldemort and knowing that he is going to try to kill him; and he brings back his Father, Mother, Godfather, and one of his Father’s Best-friends who had just been killed.

So, as the final part to this blog post, I’ve thought about who I would want to bring back to life with a Resurrection Stone, and in addition to the obvious of wanting the four pets I’ve lost (my childhood cat, the first cat I owned myself, my second cat, and my first rabbit), I’d want to bring back my Nana (my Mum’s Mum).

My earliest, sort-of vague memories with my Nana are of when I was younger, and we were cutting out bits of furniture from catalogues then sticking them on paper where we’d drawn the different rooms of a house on a bit of a birds-eye view. I also remember her teaching me how to pack a suitcase or overnight bag and the art of rolling clothing instead of folding them! But my greatest memory and the one which has really shaped my life – and continues to – is when she would read my little, short stories and she’d have this huge smile on her face, and she’d laugh and laugh and laugh at the silly bits! Seeing that my writing could cause a reaction and a feeling in its readers, I think, was a big inspiration and influence on my passion and interest in writing and why I’m now a Blogger and have written two books!

It's one of those things where, when people say “she’d be so proud of all your writing now” it makes – despite the well-meaning behind it – me kind of sad more than it makes me happy because it just reminds me that she isn’t here to say that herself. The absence of her enjoyment and encouragement is fairly heart-breaking to the extent where I try not to think about it too much; but I also don’t want it to seem like I’ve forgotten her or that I don’t think about her every single time I write a blog post or publish a book! Because I always do. Every time I create a piece of content, I wonder what my Nana would think of it. And when I’ve hosted my book publishing parties, I’ve wished so much that I could add her to the Guest List.

With the story in Harry Potter in mind, if she wasn’t meant to be alive and was sad from being here, all I would really want would be to show her what I’ve done with my writing, to tell her all about it, and to have one last hug because I didn’t really get to have one.

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