Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Return of the Black Dog

Stormy_beach by Janet Bell
Stormy Beach Huts, by Janet Bell (click picture for link to her site)

Winston Churchill famously referred to his depression as "the black dog." I feel inspired, at times, that people like WC  have managed their depression and gone on to lead normal lives. One day, I will do more research into famous people who have overcome their depression and put it on the site, as inspiration.

All I know is that the big black hole has gobbled me up again. It's all the more bleak because I felt so much better before. This return of the fog has been a surprise, I'd kind of convinced myself that it was retreating, and that my recovery would be a straight line upwards. Of course that makes no sense, writing it down, but it made some sort of internal logic at the time.

It's hard to explain what the 'black dog' is like. It's a sort of buzzing of your head and chest; a tight, compressing feeling. I find myself repeating, silently "I hate myself and I want to die." That sounds ridiculously melodramatic, it's not that I want to die, more that I'd like to cease to be. Cease to feel. It's suffocating and heavy. A complete rejection of the self. I can absolutely understand why people drink and smoke too much to overcome this feeling, the very effort of not doing so makes me jittery.

The odd thing is that, at times, my mood is better. I enjoy having Dom around to talk to. Jonny was off sick today, and it was nice having his company. However, it didn't lift the dead weight in the same way. I enjoy surfing and popping into the forums and blogs I visit; at other times this is too 'loud' and I can't stand it. I don't even feel true to my depressive self.

However, I have been reading a really good book about depression that I will review tomorrow. In it, the author says that her mood was variable, but her depression (her illness) remained the same. She said that depression has a moral tone, whereas other serious illnesses do not. You would not expect someone with cancer, for example, to be cured because they were laughing. I found this very thought provoking.

Anyway, there are upsides. I found a new picture from Janet Bell (above) which I love, and which seems strangely apt for this entry. I am finishing the Bonkers Blanket of Madness, which is coming on brilliantly well and shall, I think, be my first piece of proper 'art' (that is, it has a meaning as its primary function, rather than a purpose). We are all healthy, and that's something to be thankful for. I hope you and yours are too.

With love

Claire x


  1. [hug] I am struggling at the moment too. Mine manifests as a yawning great big void inside. I read something once that summed it up, that it was like a black hole had landed in my heart. Up and down, peak and trough. Today's lows were seeing two police women walking down the road and thinking, if I got out and handed my keys to them and ran into the traffic at least the girls would be safe. So beyond rational and yet so real and coldly logical at the same time.
    I hope you get that Black Dog to lie down and be still again soon x

  2. I found the quote:
    How unfortunate that black holes in space had not yet been discovered, for then she might have understood the black hole in the center of her chest, infinite coldness flowing through it.
    Like Water For Chocolate.

  3. HI, so sorry to hear the dog is back. Although I have not history of depression, my dad has always suffered from it, so as child of depression, I can relate. I do know my mum always said one of the best things for my dad was spending time with me, and now my daughter, but when he was in the midst of a bad depression, he would sleep and sleep and sleep, so wouldn't be able to be around anyone really. I used to come home from school, and if he was already in bed, I would know he was depressed. Then he would gt up when he knew mum was coming home, make dinner then go back to bed again. Mum said she never knew he did that, she thought he had been with me since I got back from school. Now, one of my favourite thing in life, is making my dad laugh - and we do that a lot, as I call him pretty much every day to have a giggle.
    take care, ax

  4. Just wondering how your blanket is coming along?

  5. I'm sorry to hear that you are down again. Hopefully this episode will pass soon. Your blanket is looking fabulous. I promised my son a crocheted blanket, but it's quite slow progress. I hope you feel better shortly and that there are more good times than bad.

  6. Thank you for thinking of me. I'm doing OK now, but it's been a tough few weeks. Up days and down days.
    Hope you're Ok too, much love x

  7. Lovely to see you back in blogland, and my sympathies on the depression front. It's the reason I've not updated mine recently; my own PND and son's SAD have had a horrible collision. Horrible illness, isn't it?