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The Black Dog and My Life


#1

First, let me apologize for the length of this post. Yet, to understand me/my situation all aspects of a person should be explored. Second, I am not intending this to be a source of self-loathing or fishing for compliments, etc. To be honest, I am not sure what I am looking for, perhaps a sounding board will be enough. I have been toying with the idea of seeing a therapist, but only in passing. The same way a student knows that studying will be good for them, but they also know that recess is an hour away and the names nerd and dork are given liberty there.
I have been battling the black dog of depression for years now. I tend to like that metaphor, being something that is tangible. I am thirty-four years old. I have had my share of success and failure through the years. I have a Master’s Degree and a career. I have been married for eight years and we are expecting our first little one this fall. I say these things in hopes that one can see that I have had plenty to be thankful for.
Each year, I go through multiple rollercoasters of hopelessness, resentment, anger, acceptance, and self elated ignorance. I begin to feel the pull of the black dog when I have multiple failures in a short time and there is great stress at work or home. These failures could be as simple as not staying on my eating plan or messing up at work. The failures seem to compact on me until I feel as though I am barely keeping my head above water. This is when the black dog as broken free and is on me. He plays with me as his chew toy for a week or so, never going for the killing stroke. When he is done, I slip into a state of acceptance. The words, “This is how it is and I am only good for paying the bills and nothing more”, run through my head on a daily basis. It may take a few weeks or a month, but I will leash the black dog once more and he will behave for awhile.
I try to lean on my wife for support, but she takes anything that I say as an attack on her. I don’t want to upset her or make her feel like she has done something wrong, so I have decided to stay quiet and carry my burden alone. Even now writing this, I feel as though I should delete this part, since it is not talking well about my wife. With the little one on the way, I am more worried than ever about what this depression will do to me. I am suppose to be the rock in the relationship. But, even a rock is worn down by the littlest stream over time.
I will bring this post to a close. There is a lot more to say, but there are things to do and places to be.
Thank you for listening


#2

Hi @faraway303, thanks for posting and allowing others to take this glimpse into your life.

First of all, congratulations on your little one on the way!

The way you describe your depression is very relatable, and I was a little confused about the metaphor of the black dog until you describe it as “he plays with me as his chew toy”. I feel the exact same way, almost like it comes and goes like waves, where things will begin to pile up and the stress will build and build to a point where I just give in and feel like this is just what my life is now and I need to find something new to keep my spirits up in the meantime. I completely understand where you are coming from.

I’m sorry that your wife takes the things you say as an attack on her, but without knowing the specifics of what is said maybe you do need to consider how you say the things you say to your wife. You’re obviously a very intelligible person, I would say re-consider the way you are saying things to her or maybe try to re-assure her that the things you have to say are not personally directed towards her, and thank her for being a person to just listen and let you vent about things. You say you have toyed with the idea of seeing a therapist, that could be very helpful in this case, and if that is something that is available to you I would encourage you to look into that.

You’re a good person, and your life has more worth than you will ever know. Hold fast friend.