mental health

My Little Black Dog

Please be aware that this post will talk about depression, anxiety, and suicide. Please do not read if this subject matter is not suitable for your own mental health.

I love animals. All animals; even the ones that scare me! And while I am 100% a cat person, I have had a little black dog for as long as I can remember. Not a physical one, but that one that so many people know, that lives in your head; lives in your heart; depression.

Vocabulary. com states that Melancholy is beyond sad: as a noun or an adjective, it’s a word for the gloomiest of spirits. Being melancholy means that you’re overcome in sorrow, wrapped up in sorrowful thoughts. I think this is the best description of my depression; I am always wrapped up in sorrowful thoughts. I am stuck in the past, lamenting about things I should have done differently or done at all. I am nostalgic. I am the walking, talking manifestation of looking at the past through rose colored glasses and remembering only the good times and longing for them with an almost physical pain, as if nothing that is yet to come could ever measure up to the happiness and feelings of those times while completely forgetting the bad.

I am not a writer. I am not good with words. My thoughts and feelings that are so clear in my mind come out of my mouth or fingers as a jumble; jumping this way and that and the connections and sense that it all makes to me is lost when it is shared with someone else so I am sure they are left wondering “what is she even talking about???”. So bear with me in all this.

I am just frustrated. At work, I am the “happy one”. Always in a good mood and staying positive. I am so good at presenting myself this way that even close friends and family don’t really always know what is going on inside of me. And it gets frustrating. Because I had a really bad, REALLY bad, panic attack/depressive episode the other day, the kind that kept me out of work for a day and a half. And I still feel the shame of talking about it. When people say ‘oh were you sick’ I just smile and say ‘yes but I am fine’ and change the subject to something to laugh about, and they really never know the pain that I am in that my smile is hiding. Because no one wants to be around the sad, depressed girl (especially not when she is “old” (35) and an adult). So I hide it.

I have had 3 family members take their own lives. One of them was my dad. It is a difficult legacy to live with. Most of the people I socialize with are co-workers at work (did I mention that I am also extremely introverted and antisocial?? lol no surprises there!), and none of them have experienced the pain of losing someone like that, let alone multiple times. And while everyone feels sad and anxious at times, most people don’t really seem to have that deep seeded all prevailing heaviness, darkness, sadness that is like a person clinging to your back and adding weight to your life. Where every step takes twice as much energy. But then again, it isn’t something that is talked about a lot. So do we really know what the people around us are feeling?

I guess my point is, be kind. Your brain is an organ just like your heart or liver or kidney. A mental illness really is an illness just like any other aliment, I think. It just affects a different organ. Don’t make people feel bad about being sad. Don’t make people feel guilty because they are not made of iron. Don’t make people feel ashamed to admit how they are feeling. Depression and anxiety can be crippling, and just because it doesn’t manifest physically doesn’t mean that people who suffer from it don’t deserve respect.

I am going to wake up each day and do my best. Some days will be better than others. And some days might be really bad. But I will keep trying and I will keep hoping the world will become a kinder and more understanding place. I will strive to so hard to give love and kindness and understanding to those around me no matter what. I encourage you to do the same!

Thank you for letting me share a bit of myself with you. It feels very good šŸ™‚


4 thoughts on “My Little Black Dog

  1. Hey Alison,

    We understand you have gone through a lot. And you are a brave heart who is coping up with life so brilliantly. We all are friends here and would love to read you. Never think you are not good with words. The write up is crisp yet so sensitive and meaningful.

    Stay healthy…eat well and write whatever and whenever you want to.

    Your fans,
    Team GoodWill.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You may not consider yourself a writer, but your words resonate with me. “A little black dog.” I have never heard this expression, but how well it describes the presence, the familiar weight and neediness of depression, this constant companion.


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