The ‘black dog’.


This post has been kindly written and sent to me to share with on my blog. Thank you for taking the time to share this. A post written by one, read by many, may help somebody.

Winston Churchill referred to his depression as his black dog, and there is the fantastic resource of “I had a black dog”

This weekend I’ve been looking after a friends black Labrador, he is a lovely dog but so many times I’ve been reminded of my mental health by things he has done.
Last night at bedtime I locked up downstairs and went up to bed, on my bed curled up was the black lab. How many times does my depression stop me going to bed? The fear of lying awake for hours, of thinking, thinking, and overthinking. It’s easier sometimes not to go but stay on the sofa. On this occasion I had to evict the black lab from my bed and then had him sitting giving me the big black eyes to allow him up. I need to sometimes evict the “Black dog” when I need to go to bed and not let the anxiety stop me from getting the sleep I so desperately need.
This morning having got some sleep, I woke and couldn’t move my legs, panic set in, why could I not feel them, what had happened. I managed to half sit up and realised it was the black lab lying at the foot of the bed but due to his size it was more like half the bed! How many times do I wake up and feel like I’ve had no sleep, that there is a weight just wanting to keep me in bed, that to face the day is a step too far.
Breakfast time, normally the black lab devours his food in seconds but this morning he took his time and it looked like a struggle. We are always told breakfast is most important meal of the day, but how often am I like the black lab struggling to eat my cereal, waking feeling sick and anxious, having to eat is too much.
Came out the shower to find the black lab back on the bed asleep, how often do I want to crawl back into bed during the day, when the anxiety is too much, when something goes wrong, I just want my duvet and bed.
Going for a walk with a black lab is great, well usually, when he’s obedient, when he doesn’t pull on his lead and when he doesn’t stop every 10seconds to mark his territory. We went somewhere new this morning to walk, new places to me are filled with anxiety, worry, not knowing where I am and who I may meet. Not for this black lab, desperate to investigate, to sniff, and find food. On this occasion the black lab was not representing my depression…
Until he was pulling on the lead wanting me to go one way but I wanted to go another, how often does my anxiety tell me to do one thing, not to go out, not to answer the phone but my head is telling me I should go out, I should socialise. I found myself saying to the black lab “if you would stop pulling, you would be happier and so would I”- do I need to say this to myself, “you might not want to go out but if you do it’s an evening with people away from your thoughts and it might be fun”. I need to not let my anxiety and depression stop me doing what is beneficial to me.
The black lab and I spent the rest of the afternoon on the sofa, chilling, crafting and watching tv. Yes at times he was restless, insisted on his tea at 5pm, barked every time a car door shut but for the main we were relaxed. Sometimes I need to listen to my black dog and accept that rest and relaxation is what I need.
So has the weekend been hard work and stressful, no it actually hasn’t. I’ve enjoyed observing myself and the black lab and how many times I could reflect on my own experience with the black dog of depression and anxiety.

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