A match for the Dark Side

There is a scene towards the end of Return of the Jedi where the evil Emperor stands over a stricken Luke Skywalker and ferociously zaps him with lightning from his finger tips.

“Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side,” he goads Skywalker, as our young hero writhes around on the floor in agony.

But the vicious villain is wrong. He is ultimately overthrown, and all because of Luke’s faith that there is still some good hidden away inside his father, Darth Vader – one of the ultimate movie baddies.

So where am I going with all this?

Well, last September I wrote about my depression for the first time, using a Star Wars analogy with Vader as ‘Stress’ and the Emperor as ‘Depression’. Since that first adventure, I’ve experienced the pitfalls of The Empire Strikes Back, the second part of the original Star Wars trilogy. When I say I’ve experienced it, I don’t mean I’ve sat down and watched it with a giant, over-priced bucket of popcorn. No, nothing fun like that. I’ve lived through the resurgence and revenge of an evil power – the one I call Paul Brookes. He is my alter-ego, who corrupts my thoughts and feelings with his equivalent of the Dark Side of the Force.

Brookes appeared to have taken a deadly blow in the first episode of my depression, but he was gathering strength, somewhere just out of view. He was waiting for my stress levels to build again, and looking for the right time to move in for the kill. And, like Vader in The Empire Strikes Back, he resurfaced and wreaked havoc. OK, so I wasn’t frozen in carbonite like Han Solo, and I didn’t have my arm sliced off like Luke Skywalker, but I did take a brutal beating from my nemesis.

Brookes’ powers had grown. Just as the Empire ruled the galaxy, Brookes ruled my brain. Just as the Empire had been building a second Death Star (a moon-sized space station with enough fire power to blow up whole planets with one blast), Brookes had been working on demolishing my rebellion with his own destructive devices – crushing my self-esteem, convincing me to take everything personally, kicking me when I was down and smashing the life out of me.

Brookes isn’t dead – yet. His Empire has not been defeated – yet. His Death Star has not been destroyed – yet. But note the word ‘yet’. Because Brookes has not killed off my hope that I will get better. He has not finished off my faith that good times will return. He has underestimated my tenacity – my determination to hang on, no matter what wounds he has inflicted on my battered body and mind. He has failed to recognise the threat that the powers of good pose to his existence.

Just as Luke Skywalker had to face up to his destiny and confront the forces of evil to complete his training, I now stand with a mission ahead of me. I have an Empire to overthrow, a galaxy to reclaim, and a better life to lead. Brookes has made me small, weak and feeble – pathetic opposition to his sneering arrogance and despicable disregard for my wellbeing. But he has not taken away my terrier-like persistence. Not permanently. I am playing Brookes at his own game. He hibernated until the time was right for him. Now I’m emerging from my own slumbers to take him on in a climactic battle.

Do not underestimate the power of the bright side of the Force, Brookes. I’m back. And this time it’s personal.


6 Comments on “A match for the Dark Side”

  1. Well,,, I never was a Star Wars gal (way before my time!! NOT!! :)) but I can defo see the analogy and it really works. One thing I’d like to remind Mr Brookes of though, he’s not only got you to contend with. Yes, there’s a mission ahead and an Empire to over-throw, but you are not alone. Since you started writing this blog, you have more than tripled your army of other survivors who are fighting the same fight. So ‘yaw boo sucks’ to the most powerful weapon in his armoury! At times we might be individually small, weak and feeble, but together we’re awesome and if your light sabre fails, let us know, we’ll gladly pass you one of ours! Oh I can hear him and at least another other evil alter egos running back to hibernation…. Muwahahaaaaa!

  2. […] Paul Brook has written a post on his Dippyman blog comparing his experience of depression with The Empire Strikes Back. Brook, who refers to his depressed self as his alter-ego Paul Brookes, writes: Brookes isn’t […]

    • Jedi Tao- Gryphon says:

      i’m one of those fans that has seen Star Wars many times. The analogy of useing Star Wars, to discribe the affects of depreson. I do the same thing. I ca identify with the Jedi role/character.

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