Black Dog

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So, out of the blue, I woke up this morning with a cloud over my head, a black dog at my side. I don’t know why, but this morning I just don’t have the energy or will power to get up and on with my day.

Without going too far into it. I’ve had possibly the worst year of my life. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve probably had worse if I’m completely honest, but this year, events that happened led me to have a full break down.

It’d been a long time coming, but I’d always managed to dust myself off, hold my head up high, and pretend everything was okay.

This year though. It’s almost as if the last 20 years came crashing down on me and my whole world fell apart (at least in my head, anyway). Even just writing that paragraph down, has brought a tear to my eye.

Waking up feeling how I do today, is just another brutal reminder that I’m a long way off a full recovery. In fact, it’s a devastating reminder, that there is no such thing as “a full recovery” when it comes to depression and anxiety.

Even though I’m a sufferer, I don’t feel like it’s an illness. Its not something you can just take a pill, or a few days off work for. I can’t turn round to Jackie at the corner shop and say “yeah, I had a lovely Christmas, got a touch of that depression that’s been going around” even after all the social media awareness that’s been raised in the last year alone, it still doesn’t make me feel like I have an illness… more of a stigma that I have to hide or cover up.

How many of you reading this today, copy and pasted at least one status like:

Could one friend please copy and repost (not share)? We are trying to demonstrate that someone is always listening.

2 ears 1 mouth… don’t forget people

And how many of you had a response from a friend or family member to that post? I’m guessing very few.

Mental health still isn’t understood. It’s still shrouded with stigma and judgement. I have to consciously tell myself, on a daily basis, I’m not a failure for being ill. But that doesn’t mean I can allow myself to believe it everyday.

These last 6 months have been tough. I’ve lost friends and even family. People around me just didn’t know what to do, or say… and I couldn’t tell them what I needed them to do, or say. I didn’t even tell them I was ill.

At my lowest, I just felt like I was a burden, and my girls, and everyone else around me would be better off if I just wasn’t here anymore… Which, horrible as it sounds, made me feel even more worthless, because I knew if I said anything to that effect out loud, people would think I was just being selfish, and so I would feel guilty about even having those worthless thoughts (can you detect a very vicious circle here)

In one of my darkest days I wrote possibly the most heartbreaking email. It described how I physically felt, how I’d ruined so much, how I couldn’t be grateful for what I had and that I was tired of just existing anymore…. I didn’t proof read, I just wrote, in floods of tears, in a dark room at 2am.

The email described exactly how I felt… I’d never been able to pin point it until that night. I sent it to one person. And that person stepped up. Funnily enough, it was the person who posted the status I quoted above. But I didn’t send it to him because of that. I sent it to him because he was an open sufferer, and by that,I mean he was willing to share how he felt, publicly, which held more weight than a generic status ever could.

So waking up this morning and feeling how I do, I felt I couldn’t not blog about my condition. People need to be more open and honest about what is going on behind a painted face, or false smile.

I am a whole lot better than I was 6 months ago, and just to put your minds at rest, I am now open with my close family and friends about my illness. I’m currently on a medication that seems to be working and I’ve finally got NHS counselling. All steps in the right direction, and all things I need to remind myself of when I do have down days.

I am also working on trying to find distractions when I am having a bad day… but so far, I haven’t found the right distraction that works… But I will.

I’m already feeling a little more positive than I did this morning, and focussing on this blog has helped me today. You don’t want to know how many dark and self destructive drafts I have written today, but by writing the thoughts and feelings out, I was able to re read them, and even discard some of those thoughts from my head….

Maybe there’s more to this blogging malarkey that I’ve not thought about.

I’ve included some helpful links below to websites and organisations that I’ve used in the past…

But I’m going to leave you all with a thought. Next time you see a cut and paste status. Don’t just post it. Leave a short line about a time when you’ve needed help, or felt low, or, if you’ve noticed someone you know who is acting differently, or backing away from life, drop them a message to ask if they’re okay… they may not reply, but you might be saving a life ❤️



Living with a black dog

4 Replies to “Black Dog”

  1. Hi
    I’m open about my anxiety and stress/depression. I no longer try and hide it, I acknowledge that it is part of me, it just doesn’t define me. I think what helped was that when I finally plucked up courage 30 years later after seeing the world’s most unsympathetic GP, I found that there had been a total sea change in the way how GP’s see MH issues. He listened and said that he was amazed i’d Coped as long as I had. Just that comment gave me strength to get through day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute at the lowest point.
    Hard as it is I kept reminding myself whilst I was taking time out for recovery that as the high points hadn’t lasted, neither would these worst points, to believe in myself and not the stupid voices and to hold on tight to the odd glimpses of the me I knew I was really.
    2 years on I know I am still susceptible, but by being open about it I no longer feel the need to hide myself away or wear ‘the mask’, and that in turn helps.

    So remember if nothing else there’s a whole load of people who are standing with you saying ‘we believe in you and all that you can do’, weather you know them or not, and we do it because we are all there in this together. And may your black dog bugger off into the shadows soon. X

  2. This is really sad and sometimes in life we go through a lot and nobody knows.But be rest assured that I am just a phone call you and take care of yourself. You are doing a good job taking of the girls.x

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