Having the main character deal with every single problem by staying in bed does not make for a very exciting book set in a magical world. So, I totally understand why Harry dealt with his mental illness by going out and saving bunches of people whenever he could.
But the thing is, he wasn’t mentally ill like the teenagers I know. This kid just wanted to play sports all the time and win a group award at the end of every year that was based on points for good behavior. Instead, he got all sorts of disorders because: adults. It’s a wonder he wasn’t in therapy by the time he was fifteen. He was abused his entire childhood. And then he killed his (admittedly evil) professor with his bare hands when he was eleven. He got a giant snake fang through his arm the year after that. He had bunches of PTSD inducing traumas before he was even old enough to go to a magical village on weekends every five months or whatever.
But what if he was mentally ill like the kids I know instead of mentally ill in the book way? What if he was the stay-in-bed kind of depressed instead of the go-save-people kind of depressed?
“Dobby, are you saying you’re the reason I didn’t have a single letter from my friends this summer?” Harry said.
“Dobby is sorry, Harry Potter. Dobby is doing it for Harry Potter’s own good,” Dobby replied.
Harry beamed. “Oh Dobby! You’re like a human…well, er, house elf mute button. Having things to reply to really stresses me out. How can I ever repay you.”
UNCLE VERNON: you’re grounded and you can’t leave your room for the rest of the summer
HARRY: yeah sounds good ill be up there taking a three month nap
DUMBLEDORE: And I told you how important it was to get the memory from Slughorn and you still haven’t done it because?
HARRY: I’ll just be super honest with you I haven’t left my bed in two weeks. I actually studied for once and learned to charm a broomstick to attend classes for me and I haven’t spoken to another human being in two weeks. And before you say anything, I do understand that learning how to do that charm probably took more effort than actually going to class but, like, here we are.
DUMBLEDORE: Jesus Christ, kid.
HARRY: Yeah. But I notice you had like sixteen years to do all of this and you haven’t so. Y’know. I try not to hold myself to unrealistic expectations.
VOLDEMORT: Harry Potter, you have one hour to meet me in the forrest or everyone you love will die.
HARRY: Oh, yikes.
HERMIONE: You can’t possibly be thinking of going, Harry.
RON: That’s right, mate. We’re gonna figure this out.
HARRY: Yeah it’s, like, so far. Do you think he’d be willing to meet here instead?
Harry looked around at what seemed to be a graveyard.
“Do you think this is a part of the competition too?” Cedric asked.
Harry shrugged. Knowing his luck, he thought, this was probably a plot by Lord Voldemort to lure him to a remote location and use his, Harry’s, blood to return to his body and then kill him, Harry, to impress his little cult. But he was way too tired to explain all of that to Cedric.
“Wands out?” Cedric suggested.
HERMIONE: harry I bought you this planner for Christmas to help you actually do your work on time instead of not doing it for no reason whatsoever
HARRY: my dude, if this could be solved by buying a cute planner….
“You’re just like your dad,” Sirius said.
Harry beamed, suddenly feeling less alone in the world. “My dad was depressed too?”
“Oh, yeah. ADHD too. He kept playing with that snitch for hours because of the ADHD hyper-focus. Your mom was bipolar. We were like a little mentally ill clique,” Sirius explained with a wistful, far-off look in his eyes.
“Wow, I never knew any of this,” Harry said, suddenly wondering what it would be like if he had grown up with parents who got it at all instead of a bunch of neurotypicals.
“Why do you think I sat around in a prison for twelve years?”
PROFESSOR TRELAWNEY: You’re going to die.
“You should take the egg up to the prefect’s bathroom,” Cedric told him.
Harry did not do that. He totally meant to but he forgot. He woke up on the morning of the second task and realized just then that it was the morning of the second task. He went back to sleep and suffered no consequences for his absence other than not getting points and being well-rested.
“Hey, Potter!” Malfoy called out the next time Harry actually made it down to the dining hall for a meal. “Too scared of water?”
“I was just napping and, like, not feeling it,” Harry said with a shrug. No one knew what to say to that.
There they were in another transfiguration class and, as always, Professor McGonagall had told them to open their books to a new chapter and start reading. She had then promptly turned into a tabby cat and hopped up onto the windowsill, lounging in the sunlight. Again, as always.
“Why d’you reckon she does that?” Ron asked in a hushed whisper. “I mean. A bit mad isn’t it? Being a professor but never teaching, just spending all of your time being a cat?
“On the contrary, if I could turn into a cat I would be a cat all day every day,” Harry said with a deep sense of longing and understanding for why Professor McGonagall tried to avoid her human form at every possible moment.