The Black Dog

I've written before about my depression, but usually only what I'm feeling at the moment. A quick snapshot of my brain once it's already descended into that dark place I call home too often.

I've never really taken the time to try and explain what it's like and how easily it is to get dragged down to the point of (almost) no return. I decided to today it might be theraputic. So, bare with me...

It sneaks up on me out of the blue. A nagging feeling that won't go away and slowly builds no matter what I try to do to stop it. It can be triggered by almost anything, and worse still sometimes nothing at all. Being overly sensitive and having depression issues is a recipe for disaster. Something that might seem like nothing at all to most people can start me down the spiral. A simple text not returned, an invite forgotten, a cancellation of plans. All things that normal people brush off as no big deal. It's even scarier when it seems to appear out of thin air. Your day is going fine and then suddenly the negativity explodes and you want to crawl into a hole away from the world.

From there it quickly turns to feelings of total despair. Negative emotions from zero to 90 in seconds flat. I'm inadequate. No one cares about me. No one has ever loved me or ever will. I'll never be happy. I'm a burden on everyone I've ever known. Things would be better if I wasn't here. It's not normal. It's not healthy. It's not safe. All of the positive reassurance and kind words in the world don't help. People think they're being supportive but it's nothing more than white noise. That's the hardest part to explain. It's made even worse by the fact that whatever caused it as viewed as silly by most of the world, so you worry people feel like they have to tiptoe around you to not cause the reaction. That makes the feeling of being burdensome that much more intense.

I've read where Winston Churchill described depression as a "black dog on his shoulder", and that's a perfectly apt way to look at it. It's a feeling of total suffocation. You don't want to get out of bed. You wish you could just sleep until the feelings (that were caused by something completely superficial in most cases) go away. It sucks your ability to function as a member of society. Just getting dressed and forcing a smile is physically painful.

I'm 38 years old and can say I've lived with this for over 25 years. My entire adult life. Some days are better than others. I've even managed to go weeks without it creeping back in, but when it returns (and it always does) it's even harder.

I can't do it anymore. I can't keep living like this. 2 weekends ago I hit rock bottom. I spent 48 hours convinced I'd be better dead. It scared the living shit out of me. I'm making a conscious decision to get help. I truly feared the next go 'round could be the last. I've realized getting help isn't a sign of weakness. It's the strongest thing I've ever done.

If you or someone you know is struggling with these same demons, please urge them to get help. It's the best favor you could ever do for someone you love.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255