Saturday, 15 May 2021

How many dogs do I really need?

Chrissie and I have two beautiful dogs; a red boxer and a chocolate labrador retriever. I also have another dog, who mostly lurks in the dark recesses of my  consciousness. This one's most definitely Black (with a capital B). Most of the time he remains hidden but, over the past few weeks he's been creeping out of his hiding place, nudging me. I'm known as a dog lover, but I can't say I love this one.

Four years ago I wrote this. It's perhaps best to give it a quick read to understand where I'm coming from here. I've had a long battle with depression and, in recent years, I've mostly won. But right now I feel I'm on the losing side. 

For some time now I've begun to notice unhappiness as my default mode. On the face of it I've nowt to be unhappy about. I have a loving wife, two gorgeous soppy dogs, a wonderful daughter and son-in-law and two beautiful grandchildren. But, that's not how depression works. It defies logic. It ignores all the positives in your life and builds any negatives into great, big, hulking monoliths which overshadow everything good. I wake in the morning feeling there's no reason to get up. I list problems in my head. I don't look forward to doing the things I should enjoy. I just can't be bothered, with anything. Life has become a chore. 

I feel low. I want to cry.

Having been here before, I recognise the problem. I know the signs. So, after much thought, I phoned my GP a couple of days ago. And after the briefest of telephone consultations I'm now on anti depressants again, for the first time in around seven years. I have every expectation that this will help realign the stuff that's going wrong in my brain. I can't pretend I really understand how it works but, in the past, it always has. The drug takes a couple of weeks to show its effect though.

It's not just me suffering either. Chrissie has to handle the effect of living with someone who's low and miserable all the time. She knows me so well but it's not easy for her.

Right now, I'm trying hard to fill my time. I have absolutely no doubt that the pandemic has a part to play in how I feel and I'm pleased to say that I'll be going over to see my Dad in Wetherby on Monday, and, since this coincides with the re-opening of restaurants, I have a booking for lunch in one of his favourite eateries. I've not seen him for months. Next Saturday, Abi, Dave and the children are coming for dinner, INSIDE! Again, the first time in months. It will be so lovely to have them all here.

As before, I write this in an effort to break the stigma of the concept of depression and anxiety. They are valid illnesses and can be as disabling as a broken leg, maybe even more so, being so difficult to understand. 

Ironically, its the end of mental health awareness week right now. So, if you too meet with the Black Dog, I wish you the strength to better understand what's happening to you. Go easy on yourself and talk about it to someone. Similarly, if you know anyone who suffers, treat them with kindness and compassion and do your best to understand.

I've added pics of the things in my life that still can make me smile.

Love and peace to you all.








17 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear this as I’ve been there, got the t-shirt. This may not help but having long covid I’ve been taking a high dose of vitamin D and trying not very successfully to keep to a low histamine diet to reduce inflammation. I’m not getting those crippling days of depression. Maybe I’m just talking out my ..... but ..... as I say it may not be anything .... day at a time take care Dorcas

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    1. Thanks for visiting and thanks for your thoughts. Take care.

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  2. Sarah Burgess-Parker16 May 2021 at 07:53

    We wear this t-shirt in our home. Thank you for sharing. The fresh air, walking, dogs, family all are important but on days when the brain takes over when you can't get out of bed and draw the curtains it's so tough. Holding you and Chrissie in prayer.

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  3. I have never forgotten that first post you wrote about the Black Dog, but was surprised to find it was four years ago.

    I know there is nothing I can say, as a total stranger you've never met, which really makes a difference but my tuppence worth is that you are already doing superbly to put that particular pup back in the kennel by acknowledging that you HAVE a problem, and being brave enough to ask for some help. That is not just the first step, it's a big multi-stage hike. xxx

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    1. Thank you Jayne. Those thoughts are much appreciated.

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  4. Geoff, I know where you are coming from, do you mind if I reach out and give you a virtual hug!, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

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    1. Thanks Dawn. I'll accept that with graditude. Take care.

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  5. fistbumps, elbow bumps, belly bumps and love <3

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  6. I know you won’t approve this post, but maybe if you stopped being so needlessly nasty to other people, you would feel better about yourself.

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    1. Hmm. Although I try not to blow my own trumpet, I will refer you to the fact that I donated one of my kidneys, two years ago, to someone I barely knew.
      Now go away and stop being so insufferable self centred Stephanie. You are the only person in the world who could possibly make a comment like this as a reaction to my soul baring post.

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    2. If I knew who you were I'd out you to your friends and family. I'd also report you to the Police for stalking and harrassment. Back under your rock.

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  7. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for your honesty. This can only bring good to the world. Followed you on Twitter for a while, but thanks also for your nudge into blog land. Sending best wishes.

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  8. I was horrified and disappointed to see the troll's comment, although, ironically, it was seeing that comment as copied on Facebook that has brought me to your blog, so in that respect it has backfired on the author. I hugely admire your honesty in this post. I have experience with depression in my family and for myself, and I know the most important thing to try to remember is that you are not alone in feeling like this, and, however improbable it might seem to you at the time, you will feel better in time. Your blog speaks to everyone who feels the same way and tells them that they are not alone. Just recognising that you are depressed and that it is not that the world is a dreadful place is a huge step and I am glad to see you have taken it. Antidepressants work to put your brain chemistry back in order, in the same way as insulin corrects the diabetic’s metabolism. I sincerely hope that the horizon starts to brighten for you. All your friends and family, and even people you don’t know, are waiting for you there.

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    1. Thank you for those kind and positive thoughts Emma. And thanks for visiting.

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Comments are always welcome but please be patient. Thanks to recent rudeness on here I have reinstated moderation. Hence, your comments will appear after I've approved them. Thanks for taking the trouble to visit my blog.