Rolling with the black dog

Today something wonderful happened.

Mid-afternoon Sunday, two last plants that lived on the porch since April were finally planted, two of the horses trimmed, chooks and ducks seen to, laundry pulled from the line, stuff done, I was clearing the deck to take my bike ride, and I turned on my laptop.

I found a message from a cousin I have not seen for, gee, It must be 30 years. We stay in touch via Facebook.

I hope she will not mind me writing about that here, but her words were greatly appreciated and very kind.

She had read my most recent post where I talked a bit about feeling blue, lot of crying, maybe rolling with the black dog lately.

She wrote a few things, then said:

“You are resilient because you feel so much and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Just your lot… but you’re not alone.”

Then I cried.

I wanted to share these words, because I wanted her to know, and I wanted everyone to know, that sometimes, what you can say can make a difference.

It felt amazing to have somebody who got it, give me some insight about me, and how grateful I felt.

So say something.

I always thought I was teflon until a few years ago when I hit an emotional wall and I didn’t know how to cope. Looking back in my life, I suppose I have encountered these dark times several times, but never called them depression. Maybe they weren’t, but maybe they were.

The feeling manifested itself as exhaustion, emotional paralysis lots of crying, and seemingly unconquerable lethargy. After a bit of time, it passed.

It always passes. More recently, I’ve asked for help to climb out of it and it has been a benefit.

I am grateful to people like Stephen Fry who put depression into context.

Fry 2
The inimitable Stephen Fry.

Stephen lives with manic depression. For most of his life, he has faced countless dark times, and spoken about his attempt at suicide.

Meanwhile, he has an incredibly enviable life filled with some of the most fascinating opportunities. He has said he accepts that both high and low points of his life.

Even when I feel gripped by emotion that feels as thin and fragile as the skin you peel off a sunburn, I must acknowledge the fragility is part of me, as is my strength. That it’s ok.

Somehow, my cousin got that when I didn’t.

I have this big, black dog. He was shot, likely hit by a car judging by the additional wounds he incurred, and within the last month became part of our family.

He is not the dog I was after, but he is the dog I chose, and likely needed.

We probably needed each other.

Like this dog, my sadness is part of me. Just like my joy and my anger, love and apathy. It’s all part of the big picture.

I don’t know how to balance it all yet. Somehow, my cousin’s message gave me some perspective and I’m going to try.

Thanks Sima.


Share your thoughts