Who remembers this scene from the first Harry Potter book and film, where the children drop through the trapdoor, onto a plant which wraps tendrils tight about them?
Hermione watched in horror as the two boys fought to pull the plant off them, but the more they strained against it, the tighter and faster the plant wound about them.
'Stop moving!' Hermione ordered. 'I know what this is – it's Devil's Snare! ... I'm trying to remember how to kill it... Now, what did Professor Sprout say? It likes the dark and the damp -'
'So light a fire!' Harry choked.
'Yes – of course – but there's no wood!' Hermione cried, wringing her hands.
'HAVE YOU GONE MAD?' Ron bellowed. 'ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?'
'Oh, right!' said Hermione and she whipped out her wand.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my mouse-sized problem which was an elephant for me. It turned out that all this problem needed was to be exposed to the light. It needed to be shared.
I use the example from Harry Potter because it illustrates the value of having more than one view on a problem. All three children were victims of the plant. Hermione correctly identified it, Harry proposed a solution, but it was Ron who made Hermione see how she could apply that solution.
We all experience problems and issues we can't see our way out of or around. Some we're quite happy to share among friends. Others are things we shrink from exposing to the light of day. They are things of which we are ashamed and which we'd rather hide.
Like Devil's Snare, these problems love the dark. They thrive underground. While we are trapped in that stygian gloom with them, we are at their mercy.
For a long time, I was not prepared to confess that I had a problem with alcohol. While I was hiding away the amount I drank, denying that there was a problem, keeping it dark, that problem just got worse.
Even confessing, secretly and separately, to a couple of friends, didn't do much good. It was coming out into the open and asking for help which made a difference.
It's been three months now. I won't tell you it's been easy, because it hasn't, and I've had a couple of hiccups along the way. But I've also had support. I've had support from people who have been there themselves and who give wise advice and from people who are walking the same path with me.
My magic wand has been openness and honesty. Where I expected judgement and pity, there has been only support and affirmation.
If you are mercifully free of your own Devil's Snare (whatever form it takes), then I salute you – and ask that you show support and compassion for those caught in the coils of their own.
If you are wound up tight, deep underground. I wish you courage to turn on the light.
A Moodscope member.