Most people are aware of my black dog Huxley. He is an adorable Cocker Spaniel that means the world to me, even though he steals my food and sits on my sore and aching joints. But very few people are aware of my other black dog. The invisible one that I, and many others like me, have. It’s another name for depression and sadness.
It is impossible to go through such difficult changes in life and constant pain without finding a black dog of your own. This one is not the friendly, adorable, slobbering, comical kind though. He is an all encompassing, heart breaking, soul crushing, hard to bare shadow that can sneak up on you and devour you at your weakest moment. He will attack at any time and he eats your soul.
I have had a visit from him many times and I know he will come again. He may be waiting for me at my next specialist appointment, the next missed celebration or at the next set back and flare. He waits. He watches. Always ready to pounce.
I am lucky in that my black dog never stays for long. He comes and goes reasonably quickly. He has never stayed longer than a few weeks. But they are very hard weeks indeed when I must battle him and my body at the same time.
There are a lot of people out there that say counseling is the answer. I have no doubt that it may help some people, but I have not been one of those people. After a few sessions of “write down how you feel in a journal… take a walk (??? I mean, Hello!) and try doing things for others” (already done that so many times) …. It can then lead to a discussion about taking anti depressants and how I feel that I take enough drugs as it is and do not need MORE side effects thank you very much. – (Please Note: This is my personal view and not a statement on Anti depressants)
So I go cold turkey. I fight alone. The black dog and I meet again and again.
Does that mean I no longer know happiness? Does that mean I am a depressed mess wallowing in despair? Does it mean I see no future and just emptiness in all I do? Does it mean people should feel awkward and take pity on me?
No. It means I am human and doing my best to cope with a painful, life long, (currently) incurable disease.
The black dog will come again and it will hurt and make me cry; a lot.
But I have 4 other dogs, 2 cats, one husband, great friends/loved ones and millions of other sufferers who will see me through until he goes again. That is the truth of these diseases and so that’s why I need to write about it. It’s not easy to talk about these topics but there is nothing easy about surviving Autoimmune Illnesses. It’s one day at a time. A game of survival.
Will the black dog defeat me in the end. No. Will I defeat him. No. But we will know each other very well and respect each other too. I know how strong he is and he knows how strong I am too.
8 thoughts on “My Black Dog – #truth #fight #survival #lessons #struggle #reallife #confessions #strength #chroniclife #autoimmune ”
wonderful, descriptive post ❤ I hope the black dog doesn't pay you a visit any time soon (besides the fluffy, slobbery, loving kind!) gentle hugs xoxo
Thank you. 😘
Trish , The “Black Dog “You refer to it what I call “The Black Hole ” I fall into.
It hits me from 2 angles. Depression From Lupus and Fibro……Summers in Florida….
AND Grieving Usually they are separate.
I will alway grieve but I celebrate Bobby’s life so that makes it easier. But when I HURT from missing him , it is worse than anything I have had to deal with as far a the lupus etc.
I am not comparing them…..yours and mine….
You have / are suffering more than I ever have from your Autoimmune Diseases.
The last few months: I got hit with both of them at the same time.
For a few weeks I felt as if I had just loss Bobby all over again. It was also about the time I was losing it because Of the heat and humidity and 24/7 hot flashes and always being HOT and sticky…..
Then I got a Flare……..
Add to that: Danny is not helping me at all and I am ANGRY.
SO I understand “The Black Dog” or “My Black Hole”.
You and your blog have helped brighten my days and nights.
Darling Sarah. The one thing that’s this journey has taught me is that there is no comparing pain and suffering. It’s all equal. It’s all real. Grief. Pain. Loss. Struggle. Change. It all has a toll and we deal with it is as best we can. There are no right ways or easy ways. However. I do believe there are some helpful things, like sharing. Talking. Being true to yourself. I am blessed to have met such REAL people. I feel honoured with the gift of truth and connecting with others. I have made real friends and inspiration.
Thanks for your post, as usual it resonated with me. I feel like the black dog is always over my shoulder, watching and waiting for a chance to take hold again. I have really struggled in the last few years. Unlike you, I’ve found psychologists have helped, particularly when the weeks become months become years, and I’ve had to ask my family to keep my medication in their home, to keep me safe. I’ve always been glad I’m still here, when I fight my way out of that black hole again. I can’t stand antiDs though, so it’s always been about figuring out what helps me feel like me again, despite this damned illness. Like you, I don’t think I’ll ever ‘win’ because while our lives are what they are, there will always be pain and sickness, and that wears down the strongest spirit. For me, it’s all about finding joy in the small moments, pleasure on the small things, trying to share my fears with my loved ones, and remembering my true self, not just my sick self. If you know what I mean! Thank you again for sharing, I’m sure it was a hard post to write xx
Thank you Kat. Yes we all learn our own ways and deal with our depression and sadness in the best ways we know. You are absolutely right, it goes hand in hand with life long illnesses, pain and loss. I thank you for your bravery in sharing your own story and recognising the importance it has to connecting us with the other fighters out there. Some times the hardest things in life can connect us to the right people… Sometimes these things can bring dignity and respect. Thank you again my friend. ❤
Thank you, Trish. Another interesting and insightful post. Take care.
Thank you so much. I hope it helps to connect with others.