When the black dog is looming on the horizon, it can take great strength to try to steer away from it. To succumb would mean accepting the darkness, wrapping yourself in it like a blanket and shrinking away from life. To fight it, to ignore the sick feeling in your stomach, to suppress the deep dread washing through you is incredibly hard. It’s like walking a tightrope between black and white.
Where does it come from? Is it something which lurks within us all? I’m wondering, no convinced, it’s to go with the modern world. So fast paced, demanding and full of expectations, that the constant pressure to live a good life can mean that it loses its lustre. This in conjunction with worries about family and friends, plus managing a busy life, is quite simply a recipe for mental health disaster. You see, quite frankly I need a break.
I’m currently teetering on a very thin line. All my self taught coping mechanisms are keeping me going but I feel like I’m heading for a fall. All the stuff I do to make myself feel better I am struggling to do. When even the thought of changing my bed sheets overwhelms me (yesterday). When I see a beautiful sunny autumn day and feel upset because I want to skulk into depression under the blanket on my sofa (this morning). And when I realise that the constant sickness and tension within my body is my default setting (all the time), I know I need to do something.
That’s what I’m now doing. My first answer is to write it down and commit it to the electronic screen. The second will to be to talk to someone. I will tell them that this has been building for about five months. I will tell them I have started to tell people bits, however, no one knows the full story. But, this is the big problem – where do you start and who would you want to dump hours of your depressing talk onto? (Even writing it bores me).
That’s the thing though: it bores me. I categorically hate the way my body and brain are currently working against the inner optimist within me. My metaphorical mantra of ‘build and they will come’ has pushed me through many a trying time. In the way that if the task ahead felt unattainable and hugely daunting, I’d push myself forward with a steely determination where I would allow anything other than a win to happen. Only now, at a time where I am searching for a new sign, one that reassures me and gives me hope, is nowhere to be seen. Instead my gut is telling me something is wrong. This I hate. Even more so my body is telling me enough is enough. I seem to be developing psoriasis on my scalp again, spots and I have a mouth full of ulcers (all signs of stress). I want out and I want to be able to sleep again.
I’m almost sure I’m not alone in any of this. One of my reasons for writing it down for others to read is because keeping stuff locked up inside can destroy the soul. By sharing it can lessen the load. Also, if you too have bouts of deep loathing, wanting to hide, feeling stressed and worry, I know it can feel very lonely. It’s like being the only person on a wild and windy precipice, with angry waves lashing against the jagged rocks; teetering only metres from death. Vulnerable and fighting for survival – the gale force winds pushing you towards the edge. All you want is someone to come along with a thick blanket, flask of tea and to whisk you away into a bear hug of safety. If that describes you then I want you to know that I want to be the flask carrying hugger in your life.
You see, I much rather fancy the role of rescuer than being the rescued. I despise the maudlin nature which lurks like a bad smell within my being at the moment. I want to be upbeat and happy. I’m sick of those black clouds hovering; threatening to spoil my life. Yes I have worries (there’s a truckload at the minute) and yes I don’t know how to fix things but I’m not going to let it beat me. I have lots to be thankful for and that’s more than some can say. So (brushing oneself down) I’m going to retrain my brain into thinking that ‘nothing bad will happen and it’s ok’ from the ‘I feel panicky, sick and tearful as I think the whole world hates me’ feeling. It’s going to be tough but with Him, them and Rosie Dog to hold my hand (with a soundtrack playing optimistically in my head). I shall aim for that sunset happily ever after I know we all actually deserve – that’s both you and I. After all, my story isn’t unique, it’s a symptom of modern life. I’m painting my smile on and working on the inner self.
Happy Sunday love to you all.