I had a black dog, his name is DEPRESSION
Whenever the black dog made an appearance I felt empty and life just seemed to slow down,
He would surprise me with a visit for no reason or occasion.
The black dog made me look and feel well over my years,
Whenever the rest of the world seem to be enjoying life, I could only see life through the black dog,
Activities that usually brought me pleasure suddenly ceased to,
He liked to ruin my appetite and chew up my memory,
Doing anything or going anywhere with the black dog required super human strength,
At social occasions, he would sniff out what confidence I had and chase it away,
My biggest fear was being found out, I was worried that people would judge me and because of the stigma of the black dog, I was constantly worried that I would be found out so I invested a large amount of energy into covering him up which was really exhausting.
The black dog could make me think or say negative things, he could make me irritable or difficult to be around.
He would take away my love and bury my intimacy.
He loved nothing more than to wake up with highly repetitive and negative thinking and then remind me of how exhausted I would be the next day.
Having a black dog in your life isn’t just about feeling bad, sad or glooming, at its worst it is about being devoid of feeling altogether.
As I got older, the black dog got bigger and started hanging all the time.
I chase him away with whatever might send him running but more often than not he would come out on top, going down became easier than getting up.
So I became good at self medication with drugs and alcohol which never really helped.
Eventually I felt totally isolated from everything and everyone.
The black dog had Finally succeeded in hijacking my life.
I lost all joy in life and started to question what the point of it is.
Thankfully this was the time I sort professional help, this was my first step towards recovery and a major turn in my life.
I learnt that no matter who you are, the black dog affects millions and millions of people.
I also learnt that there is no silver bullet or magic pill, Medication can help some and others might need a different approach altogether.
I also learnt that being emotionally genuine and authentic to those who are close to you can be an absolute game changer.
Most importantly I learnt not to be afraid of the black dog and I taught him a few new tricks of my own.
The more tired you are, the louder he barks, so at some point learn how to quiet your mind.
It is clinically proven that regular exercise can be as effective in treating mild to moderate depression as antidepressants so going for a walk or run and leave the black dog behind.
Keep a mood journal, getting your thoughts on paper can be insightful, also keep track of things that you have to be grateful for.
The most important thing is to remember that no matter how bad it gets, if you take the right steps, talk to the right people, black dog days can and will pass.
I wouldn’t say I am grateful for the black dog but he has been an incredible teacher, he taught me to re-evaluate and simplify my life.
I learnt that rather than running away from my problems, it’s better to embrace them.
The black dog may always be a part of my life but he will never be the beast that he was, we have an understanding.
I have also learnt through knowledge, patience, discipline and humour, that the worst black dog days can be made to heal.
If you are in difficulty never be afraid to ask for help
There is absolutely no shame in doing so, the he only same is missing out on life
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