My Big Black Dog

Depression is a funny thing. Hmm. Yeah. I said that.

There is nothing worse than being asked

What have you got to be depressed about?

Sometimes there is a trigger. For me, mostly financial. But most of the time, you just wake up, and don’t feel yourself. You can’t just ‘Shake it off’ like I have been told to do many times in the past. It’s not that easy. It’s just a feeling in the background, a hollow loneliness, a feeling of Why am I bothering? A cold lonely place that you just can’t get out of..  On a really bad day.

On an OK day, it could just be a lack of energy. No motivation. Knowing you have a whole house worth of work to do, but not having the motivation to do it. Looking at that ever growing pile of laundry, and knowing you have to tackle it.. In the winter, with no washing line to sun the clothes on. They have to be spread through the house on the radiators. It’s such a mission.

On a good day, nobody knows you suffer from it. You get good at hiding it, as you don’t want people to know. Sometimes caffeine can give you an artificial energy that makes you feel like it is all ok today. Sometimes it is.

On a very good day, you forget you have it. Everything is sunny and happy, you are on top of all the things you need to do, and there are no stresses to worry about. Very good days don’t come about too often, so you have to savour them when they do.

 

I have read about depression being likened to a big black dog that comes to hang about with you. I like this. It works for me. I named mine Rufus. He is big and shaggy, has messy hair, and just likes to sit and stare and pant. He is like a big black fuzzy bear dog. He is my secret friend. People don’t always know he is there, but he is there just the same.

 

The big thing that used to bring Rufus calling in the past was not having a child. So desperate was I for the pitter patter of tiny feet, that it was literally all I could think about. I would lie in the bath, looking at my bloated belly, swollen from Endometriosis and generally being a bit overweight, and wish it had a baby in it. That I wouldn’t care how fat I was, if it was from having a baby.  That nothing else would matter if I had a baby. That everything that bothered me would disappear, because I would have a baby. I was diagnosed with Endo when I was 20, and they removed an Ovarian Cyst the size of a lemon at the same time. It was all I could think about, but at the time I was in a bad relationship, and knew I didn’t want that kind of tie to him. So I still held out. After a while, with my husband, the time came. We thought I would take a while to conceive, with fertility issues, and having had contraception for 15 years solid. But it didn’t. My little ray of sunshine came along straight away. She knew I needed her.

She is a massive help with Rufus. But didn’t take him away completely. I can look at her, and not think about everything else. Then I look at everything else, and Rufus slinks back in, and just lies down, quietly panting in the background, tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth.

I decided after she came, that it was time to do something about it. I had suffered from depression since I was about 11, and had never taken anything for it. I was always stubborn and determined that I would deal with it on my own. But my little sunshine was too important for me to not deal with it. So I got some medication from the doctor. I had to do my own research as to which one I could take while still breastfeeding (13 months and counting), but I got some, and started taking it. It hasn’t taken it away, but it takes the edge off it. Less really bad days.

The yearning for her has gone at least. I no longer sit and wish for a baby. I have one. She is my everything. She needs a brother or sister, I want to fill my life with the sunshine that she brings, but there isn’t the intense longing that there was for her. She fills a hole that desperately needed filling. Now I want it to overflow with love.