Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Black Dog of Depression Keeps Sniffing Around

Life has been... challenging lately.

Everything came to a head with the loss of Robin Williams: his death has hit me really hard - I'm one of countless people who grew up with him in their lives, and his loss is felt deeply. I knew he had his struggles, but his death by suicide seems like it came from out of left field. To be completely cliche, I never would've thought someone who seemed so full of life and joy, who appeared to take such pleasure in making others laugh, could be in such a dark place. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: it absolutely guts me to know some people hurt so much that suicide seems like the only option.

I think part of what has bothered me the most is the notion that things could - theoretically - get bad enough that I might consider suicide myself. I'm NOT saying I'm suicidal or that I'm having suicidal thoughts: it's just the knowledge that depression can get that bad makes me feel very... fragile. Vulnerable. Scared.

And I think I'm scared because I'm pretty sure I've been ignoring Black Dog sightings for awhile. He's chased away the little self-esteem I had. His picking at my skin is damn near out of control. He keeps me from falling asleep at night, wakes me frequently, and keeps me from getting back to sleep in a timely fashion. He goes back and forth between scarfing all the food and chasing my appetite away. He's managed to swing my moods to and fro, day in and day out, leaving me anxious and uncertain. He's buried by ability to feel any desire to do, well, anything, in the backyard. He's made my back ache for days, something that hasn't been an issue for ages. He distracts me all the ti... SQUIRREL! He's sucked the energy and motivation right out of me.

I, of course, go into over-thinking introspection research mode: when did he first show up? why? what's different?

Did he first show up when we went back to BC and I had the "this doesn't feel like home anymore: I'm HOMELESS" moment? Or was it 9 hours into the trip home when I cried for the first time because we're so bloody far away?

Was it when I had the health scare (that turned out to be nothing)? Because Dog knows (see what I did there?) that's what first started this whole circus. Or was it disappointment over being told I couldn't donate blood for awhile because my iron's too low (even after the last fiasco (arm is STILL numb, BTW))? Because while it may seem trivial to some people, making that donation every 56 days has become extremely important to me.

Could it possibly be the iron supplements? Pretty sure Black Dog started showing up around the same time. Or maybe it's that the symptoms of low iron are good at mimicking Black Dog's bad behaviour?

Are Black Dog's visits cyclical? Is he "visiting" me every XX days/weeks/months/years?

Or maaaaaybe it's just been a shitty few weeks, and it's a warning week this week, and I just need to get over myself and stop hallucinating Black Dog?

To make Black Dog even more intimidating, I'm afraid to mention anything at work for reasons I'm not at liberty to discuss (I'm sure that those of you who know the field in which I work may be completely shocked and/or utterly confused by this, but there it is: don't want to risk my employment).

Snippet of conversation with a coworker in the staff room on Friday:
"I was really cranky yesterday."
"Really?!? I didn't notice a thing! You must hide it VERY well!"
"Well, I don't generally go out of my way to miserable to other people..."
Never let 'em see you sweat and all that jazz, right? Pin It


  1. I'm so sorry to hear this. All I can say is that when the black dog comes sniffing around, try as hard as you can not to feed it. Eventually it will go away. Until then, thanks for sharing with us here. We're all in this together.

  2. I like the analogy of not feeding it (or calling it "him" - I like dogs too much!). I'll keep fighting: I'm too stubborn to do otherwise.


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