Sunday, February 19, 2012

I have a black dog


I think I was in my mid-teens when I first noticed my black dog; Depression. He has followed me ever since with his hatred, self-loathing and overall heaviness. For the most part I have cleared a spot in my life for him to be happy and leave me be, however from time to time he pops up and bites me on the arse. Today is one such day.

Not many people know that I have depression; it isn't exactly something one advertises. To my boyfriend I show it in the form of asking to get away for the weekend, while to others I don't show it at all. There is this terrible stigma that everyone who has depression or is in a bit of a down moment is 10 seconds away from downing a bottle of sleeping pills. False; we just want to be calm. We want to be able to sit down and find the beauty or the fun in something; anything, because it is there, you just can't touch it, or be apart of it for that matter.

I am hoping that not too far from now I can climb out of this hole and find the beauty once more. More than anything however, I want a new beginning. A new town with new friends; a new home with new places to explore. Just a place I can go where nobody knows me or has had a chance to be disappointed by me. 

To everyone else who has a black dog, I want you to know that you are not alone. Maybe someday soon when my dog is not so vicious we can get together and talk about all the things that make us happy in this world.

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  • February 19, 2012 at 10:46 AM
    Jo :

    I think you're very brave to speak out about depression because people misunderstand it so much. I've suffered from the dog myself, and have written two novels where it is a significant part of the story: 'Little Wing', which is about post-natal depression, and 'About a Girl'. When I was on SSRIs and speaking at a conference once (not about depression, but about sex, which the YA lit community seems obsessed with (pot and kettle for me, as that is also one of my subjects), I stood there and wondered how many in the audience were also battling the dog.

    But: things that make us happy. that would be a good conversation. One of my blogging friends( walking Zig blogspot), who is also my sister-in-law, once did 30 days of happiness on her blog - I'm considering doing that myself - when I can see myself posting every day for 30 days.

  • February 19, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    For the past year, since my mom passed away, a little black dog has found himself at home in my life. I had a rough week, and I felt like he had come back to stay for a little while, but today, I went and did things I loved.

    I spent the day playing 'dress-up' with my high school students, preparing for a play we open in a few weeks (I'm the costume designer, and we were merely doing fittings...but I swear it was more of a game of dress-up...) and I went out for a night of bowling with my sister and her boyfriend. They both understand the little black dog.

    Most of my battle is convincing myself that it's okay to feel happy...that it is better for me to get out and do things. I love your honesty. It's refreshing.

    I hope you get to feeling yourself again soon. <3

  • February 21, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    I... I was pretty afflicted as a teenager - I came from a bit of crapulent home/up-bringing, had lower than usual self-esteem, was always having weird, anxious, over-wrought ideas that I couldn't erase from my brain, and which just didn't let me function, like I was trapped in a spiral of my own thoughts.
    I don't know when it stopped exactly, but I find I can fall back into it pretty quickly if I don't keep myself busy. Exercising and eating right helps, and being mentally stimulated in a positive manner. I've even learnt that I actually have to consciously keep away from certain things, like serious news websites such as ABC and SBS, which are more likely to report on stories of international war and famine, and natural disasters, or homicides and rape cases, as opposed to Ninemsn, which is all gossip-y and more light-hearted.
    It's pretty specific, I know, but those things always make me feel the worst for days at a time, and make me take a negative spin on everything else, which just eventually escalates until everything becomes the most awful thing I've ever encountered.

  • February 22, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Jo: I am sorry to hear you also suffer from depression :( It is a horrible disease and it is bittersweet to meet others, as you don't feel so alone, yet you don't others to feel as you do. Wow that is so impressive that you have written not one, but two novels! I will definitely have to hunt them down :) It seems as though the taboo topics are so intriguing to read about. I too wonder sometimes it others are suffering silently too.

    That 30 days of happiness sounds amazing! I might look into it a bit more then do it in March :) x Melissa

  • February 22, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Jordan: I am so sorry to hear about your Mum Jordan :( I can't even begin to imagine what you would have and are going through. That is so great however that you pushed through the bad week you have had and choose positivity than to succumb to sadness.

    Haha dress ups would have been a load of fun :) I hope you all had a great time at bowling. I am sure I will be fine again in no time :) x Melissa

  • February 22, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Michelle: Im so sorry to hear about your upbringing. I too had a lot of anxiety growing up, still do actually. That is horrible that the news gets you down, must be hard when it is everywhere and the media just loves to discuss the negative at every turn :( I guess all we can do is try to find the positive in as many things as we can to try to counteract the badness :) x Melissa

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