I am a fan of Star Wars (not Episodes 7-9; they were garbage… thanks, Disney!). For those that have been living under a rock for decades, Star Wars is about the struggle between the light and dark sides of the Force. This for me is mirroring the real-life battle many face with depression. This struggle is personified in Anakin Skywalker and his journey from being a young slave/podracer into a Jedi. His path was hard and full of challenges that tested him both mentally and physically. Despite the care and attention of his Master Obi-Wan, Anakin was ill-equipped to deal with the emotions that would surface. He chose the dark side as a means to an end, deluded in the belief that he could use it to protect himself and the ones he loved.

The loneliness of the dark side, much like the isolation felt in depression, is starkly represented in the Sith’s ‘Rule of Two’ – a philosophy ensuring that there are only ever two Sith at a time, a master and an apprentice. This rule underscores a fundamental truth about the nature of the dark side: it’s a path devoid of genuine trust or compassion. In the world of the Sith, there’s always the threat of betrayal, reflecting the solitary and mistrustful nature of depression. It’s a constant battle not just against external foes but an internal struggle where one’s worst enemy can often be oneself.

This analogy extends to the real-life experience of depression. When gripped by depressive thoughts, one can feel profoundly alone, even in the company of others. It’s a state where trust in others and oneself can wane, leading to a sense of isolation and vulnerability, much like a Sith lord always looking over their shoulder. The constant vigilance and suspicion inherent in the Sith’s life mirror the hyper-alert state of someone battling depression, where the world can seem full of threats and dangers, both real and imagined.

Yet, in Star Wars, there’s always a glimmer of hope – a chance for redemption. This is crucial in understanding depression too. Just as Anakin Skywalker’s story doesn’t end with him succumbing to the dark side, our battles with depression are not definitive states but part of a larger journey. As the saying goes, “A few bad chapters does not mean your story is over.” There’s always the potential for change, growth, and a return to the light. The light side of the Force, representing hope, resilience, and connection, is never out of reach, regardless of how far one might have strayed into the darkness.

In conclusion, Star Wars is more than just an exciting story; it gives us a meaningful way to understand and face depression. The story shows us that, even though it might feel like the dark side is everywhere, there’s always a chance for light and happiness to break through.

“May the…” nope, can’t say it! I like Star Wars, but not even I could bring myself to end the way you were thinking! Too cheesy for even me!

 

Contributed by Mike Newman

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