At the risk of sounding like a slightly obsessive Harry Potter geek, Occlumency is actually a surprisingly useful way to deal with obsessive or paranoid thoughts!  The principles of it are similar to mindfulness in that you have to “empty your mind of all emotion” but I’ve found that by actually visualising it as closing off your mind from penetration by Voldemort (read: paranoid thoughts) it’s been weirdly helpful.  I got the idea completely by accident- I was having an intense paranoia attack where I was convinced that the reason I couldn’t see a friend’s WhatsApp ‘last seen’ was because she’d blocked me, thought I was messaging her too much and never wanted to speak to me again, and I tried to externalise the thoughts by imagining them as my ‘inner bully’ talking (see previous post).  Then Snape’s voice suddenly came into my head saying “I told you to empty yourself of emotion…You are allowing me access to memories you fear, handing me weapons!”  WOW.  It suddenly hit me that by allowing the bully in my head to access incredibly vulnerable and intense feelings and thoughts, I’m basically giving her the tools to make me paranoid and anxious.  So I’m making a conscious effort to reduce the ‘free floating’ emotions and anxieties in my mind to make them less accessible to the bully.  Watch this space!!  Will definitely be blogging more about this as I practise it…



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