Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Black Dog


Is my value - my self-calculated value - to me, in spite of all my self-esteem boosting practices over the years, still liable to be smashed without warning? Why can’t I move on, and quickly, when casual meetings go sour, trivial conversations go south, and the merest dismissive flick of a stranger’s eye can cause a few hours worth of critical self-evaluation?

I see. This is depression, the Black Dog pacing up and down the hall waiting to come into the room. And, as always, I brood on all the human beings on this planet who are worse off than me, the Haitians, the chockfull cancer wards, and I feel worse. Where did anyone ever get the idea that thinking of those who would trade lives with me in a blink would automatically cheer me up?

I rarely write about it anymore. As it is that infrequent. But sometimes the moon is just right, the tides just so, and I get the urge to go outside and do a spot of baying. I resist it, of course. I used to cover pages and pages, book upon book, with the depresso-ramblings of the compulsive. Never to be shared. Every single journal packed up in Toronto and shipped to me here. Stacked like deadweight in a corner of a guestroom, like the corpses of small animals. I should bury them. They are beyond decay and more into a state of mummification now. But I can’t.

For picking one up, randomly, reminds me forcefully that whatever depths of despair I may be in at the moment (Howard Zinn dead. A SOTU that was laughable. a prorogued Canadian parliament ducking awkward electorate questions and appointing political favourites to the Senate, an economy worsening by the minute, a blog meeting gone sideways) it is as nothing to the way I was then.

12 comments:

  1. Oh yeah, I know that one! Well for what it's worth, some people think you are just fine. You're probably way better at tearing yourself down than you are at building yourself up, but you're still fine.

    I like the picture of the black dog.

    I used to carry around a little piece of paper with a single line from Arthur Miller's The Crucible: I think one must finally take one's life in one's arms.

    I feel your pain. Let the black dog hang around for a day or two, but if he starts showing signs that he wants to stay, kick him out. To hell with that.

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  2. Thank you Annie, wise words indeed. I love Arthur Miller's words that you share, he was one of us too.
    I'm hoping tomorrow will be different.
    It is so crazy this, just when everything is totally wonderful in my life and all my dreams coming true.
    We just never know.
    XO
    WWW

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  3. {hugs}

    I know exactly where you are coming from. The Ol' Black Dog usually arrives when everything is going just right, which usually then makes you feel even worse because you can't think of any reason why you are feeling so down.

    There is a case to be made for pandering to him for a little while - curl up on the sofa with the duvet wrapped round you, have some nice melancholy music on in the background, get a good book, some hot chocolate (made with real milk and a big block of chocolate, none of that powdered rubbish!) and just veg.

    And then, if he doesn't go away, then take him out for a long walk, preferably into the countryside, take his lead off and let him go :-D

    (Ok - am I taking the metaphor a little too far now? :-))

    I hope that you feel better soon, and sending you over loads of hugs.
    xx

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  4. As I'm suffering from The Black Dog myself now, I can only say that my sympathies lie with you. I don't think it's a matter of a few days, but I'll try to get him out of here as quickly as I can. I also can't think of people who are worse off than I am, like cancer patients, though I know I'm supposed to count my blessings. It only makes me feel worse. I'm grateful for some things, but I'm very ungrateful for this thing called depression and don't think we can speak lightly of it. It's an awful thing to suffer from.

    I wish you the best of luck with all my heart.

    XOX

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  5. I suspect this was all brought on by the unfortunate meeting with Mr Dingbat. You're disconcerted that you didn't pick up on the shit before the meeting, despite your normally sensitive antennae. Well, it happens to the best of us.

    I've never been seriously depressed, though there are times when the world seems so screwed-up I just want to retreat to some cave in the middle of nowhere. All I can suggest is, put the rest of the world and its miseries out of your mind and just pamper yourself for a few days....

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  6. It must be the wolfmoon tonight. You and Friko, both of whom I thought had it all together, are beating yourselves up. I always attributed my depression to the fact that from an early age I could see the pathology of mankind.
    You are a sensitive, sentient being. That's why the black dog paces. Eleanor Roosevelt had a name (I wish I could remember it) for the person she was when depressed.

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  7. I am going through bit of a rough patch with my husband lately... but I am not loosing focus... I know deep down in my heart, I still have it pretty damn good!

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  8. With hardship comes easy. Tellthattothe black dog. It works for me.
    Sabine

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  9. That dog has walked alongside me every now and then. We go a ways together and then there always comes a place where I choose - invite him home or let him go on his way. I know I'm lucky to be able to reach that fork. I know many who get knocked down and bitten by that same dog. Dog or no, though, it's the long walks out of doors that allow me the choice.

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  10. Thank you all, your words sustain me, your hope inspires me, your shared journey comforts me.
    XO
    WWW

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  11. I've been strolling with him as well from time to time over the past few months. It is a cycle with which I am familiar but, mercifully, his bark is getting to be worse than his bite as the years go on and I am hoping the time will soon come back around when I can be free of him again. Maybe someday I will find a way to sever the chains that bind me to him forever. In the meantime, it is good to know that none of us is alone - keep your chins up and keep growling back at him until he gets the point!

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  12. Hi Baygirl!
    I have to welcome him more, I think. I know very few creative people who don't take him for a stroll periodically. I think, in his absence, he makes us cherish the dog-free times a little bit more!
    XO
    WWW

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