You know the old saying. The one about the elephant in the room. For me it’s more of a black dog in the room.
I haven’t come up the term ‘black dog’ as a way of describing depression, but the day I read it written that way, it stuck with me.
Very much like having a dog, sat in the room, always there, every time you look over at its basket it’s there. Only not a nice joyful dog. A big scraggy, mucky long haired dog. Sad yet angry, it’s there. Even when your not looking you know it’s there, you can here it and feel it’s presence. Always waiting for it suddenly jump up and be centre of attention.
That’s depression to me. That black dog. You go out, have a fantastic time with kids, or a great bike ride, but the dog is there somewhere. Waiting to ruin it.
Now lately, it’s been a much smaller dog, and always 20 paces behind. Right at the back of my mind. I know it’s there, but it’s fine, it’s quiet and keeping itself to itself.
But you never know when it’ll be front a centre, jumping at you, stopping you doing what you want to. Dragging you down, slowing you down, making you become distant from the situation your in.
I know I’ll never get rid of this dog. I’m OK with that, I just have to work every day to keep that dog as a little black Scottie dog, way back behind me, and look forward at what’s happening right in front of me. Stop him becoming the big black scruffy mongrel he wants to become.
I think for me, visualising it in this way helps me to understand my own mind, and helps me to control the depression, rather than the depression controlling me.
I’d love to dedicate this blog, this rant, this offloading to the person who first talked about depression as a ‘black dog’.
I know this is neither fun or about bikes (I promise the next post will be), but I have great belief in being open and honest, and the world talking about mental health. Writing this has helped me on a bad day.