The Black Dog

I have prescribed to the idea of depression being described as a “Black Dog” that follows you around in various formations. I always pictured this as a grim hound that froths at the mouth and tries to use me as its chew toy. Now that I have lived with a gorgeous little black dog I have been thinking up other metaphors for my depression.

Many people who have depression describe it as dark, black or debilitating place with no light or air. I have often pictured a deep, dark well with no way out and no light at the top. No matter how much I claw I can’t grasp onto the walls and I have no voice. If I, therefore, had to ascribe some sort of tag along creature it would be a black, oozing blob that sucks away my energy. It would be something that can change its features to incite fear in me, an ever-changing monster. I sometimes picture it as a thick, black shadow hiding itself around my house waiting for the scent of weakness. At which point it can jump out as an ugly, sucking, pseudo ninja and get back into my head. Or follow me around, just out of sight, but never letting me forget it’s there. Every other sense aware of its presence.

I understand that the black dog image is a good metaphor because it is meant to change. It is supposed to be something that you can picture taming. A dog is something that you can train and have some control over. A dog is also dependent on you to live. Is my depression dependent on me to live? If I don’t feed it will it die? It feels like a gross concept.

There is definite merit in ordering the Black Dog around. I can order it into submission by getting a good night sleep, eating well, exercising and taking medication when necessary. The black ooze can usually be washed away. The ghost shadow… umm… can’t survive in bright down lighting? The biggest issue I have with these metaphors is how to order, wash or lighten them when I feel at my lowest point. How do I think straight long enough through no appetite or wanting to binge eat junk food; not wanting to go to sleep and then not wanting to get out of bed; barely any motivation or concentration and irritable or apathetic mood swings. Add medication withdrawals and new medication side affects to that and it’s not likely that I would even be able to tell a trained dog to sit.

So regardless of whether my depression feels like a black dog, black soul sucking ooze or a ghost shadow, I feel skeptical in my current state of depression that I could push any of them around. I currently feel like there is a grim sitting next to me, frothing at the mouth; a black ooze pulling me down to sit and laze about and a dark shadow that follows me wherever I go. I have been told that I just need to “take each day as it comes”. To just take “baby steps”. OF course…I am yet to give up. I just hope I can start to wrangle to black before I reach beyond my limit.

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The Mind Game

When the mind begins to wander and the emotions run hot, how do you stop the spinning wheel?

I have always been an over thinker. I used to talk too much because it helped gets thoughts out of my head. The less in my head, the quieter things were. During the less busy moments, however, or when I had to be quiet, the anxiety hit. Memories of my past failures, future endeavours that weren’t coming fast enough, moments of pain that still felt present. They would all go zooming around my mind. Faster than I could hold onto to them. PANIC! Short breath. Walls closing in.

Now I look back and think, ‘For what?’. All this unpleasantness incited by pointless thinking? How rude of my mind and how stupid of me for listening to it.

This is what people call “The mind game”. It’s not fun like Angry feathered creatures being flung through the air. It’s not puzzling or strategic or even team building. It is just a cat toying with a mouse.

The biggest problem I had was that I thought I was the mouse. I didn’t think I had control or choice. I’ve since noticed how much this incites depression in the people around me and thanks to authors like Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie and an amazing doctor I have changed the game around. I’ve changed the rules and I’m not playing to my mind as much as I used to. Now I’m working on leaving the game entirely. I don’t want to be hindered in my life because of an overactive thought process.

As silly as it may come across, I am working on finding my inner self so that I can sit back, even at my most panicked, angry, upset, etc, times and just let the emotions wash over me and fizzle out. The key to this seems to be releasing the feeling of control during external situations. It is about leaving self-righteous and egotistical ways behind. There is no fault or influence, only the inner peace which links to the outer world. What I would call God and others may feel as nature, spirits, angels, science, etc. The “external force” and internal are linked and by sitting inside yourself feeling that link, panic and fear can’t take over.

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I’ve met a man

The further I get this week the more I realise how messed up I feel. I don’t want to breath anymore. Everything seems pointless. Worst of all….I’m starting to not care.

I could blame everyone else, but the truth is, it has been a really hard year. I have barely drawn breath that isn’t followed by tears. I don’t feel I’ve really had a home for more than two months. It is baffling to me that I can have all of this happening and no-one care. We are all so wrapped up in our own stuff that we can’t see another human being in pain? Give me a break. There is a choice there to see, but not acknowledge. Why else would people be so hell bent on not being in your life when you need them the most. Granted this is coming from a depressed person.

You know….something amazing has come out of this horrid year. I’ve met a man. He’s a silly, selfish, goose with the biggest heart, the cutest smile and a gorgeous arse. Also…I love him. HE makes me smile and laugh when I don’t think I ever will again. He makes mistakes and our relationship has been pushed in high serious mode way too quickly, but we are dealing with it well. He is a sex charged man with a lot to give in that department and someone I am beginning to trust. Trust is a scary freaking thought to me. I don’t like to trust anyone but God. I don’t even trust myself. Not sure I am all that trustworthy anyway. Not when I have invaded my partner’s privacy on numerous occasions and ask him all the hard questions. I only hope that he believes me when I say that I won’t judge him for his past mistakes. We are all held up against our pasts and the outline changes, but the majority is still us. I think the first thing is to accept that and embrace it. To know your own weaknesses. I truly believe that he has been persecuted enough for a particular mistake he made. I can only trust in him that he will not make it again.

On another note my singing is going down the toilet and I’m the one doing the flushing. The closer I get to having a coaching the more anxious I become. I think I’m afraid that I might actually prove myself wrong. But I also don’t want to jump the gun and mess it up. Opera is not for the faint of heart. I feel weak and kittenish… I figure that if I were to get a permanent chorus role I would have a steady flow of work and income and would not be spreading myself thin over four or five different things. But these people don’t know the meaning of sorry. There are people lining up to take over where I mess up. And those people are beyond keen. I wish I had that sort of energy.

I wonder, a lot, what my life would be like if various things were different, but that is such a time wasting silly thing to do. I’m better off just dealing with that fact that I am here. Here and now I am severely depressed thinking about taking myself out of the world’s equation and only I can try to stop thinking like that.

I tell you what though, it helps having a Ruku.

x

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Ok, not ok.

I went to a room with a knife in my hand.

Scared of what I planned in the mindless night.

Tears streaming down my face, rosary in hand

Pleading to God to give me a fucking break.

Never could have thought I would feel this way

Wanting to break skin to justify my pain

but there I was in the moonlight with a blade so sharp

It shone with promise and pride of the blood it would draw.

 

I prayed in whispers frantic

Repeating pleas of “Help me Lord”

But nothing stirred inside my chest

Except my sobs and gasps of breath.

 

The room felt smaller suddenly

I felt myself withdraw and turn

my back on the world

I wrapped myself in a ball.

 

I know you know this pain

Acknowledged or not.

I feel you shiver as I tell you this

Reminders of a metal glint

As you stared down the grin of a knife blade

Waking up as you thought where to cut

Praying God let it just be a memory

Thanking God that you never drew blood.

X

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Strength

I don’t really like this idea of blogging. I think it is a very good medium to get things off my chest, but more and more I realise that nobody reads it except my bf. That is both a good and bad thing.

I have had a bit of a rough week trying to wade through depressive thoughts and anxiety. A friend of mine, who is also my performance and voice coach sends his love. He tells me that singing is the best thing for depression and anxiety. I know it is. I agree completely. I just don’t know where to pull the fuel to get back into it. A huge part of me doesn’t want to be a singer. It’s a difficult job that usually has to be coupled with full or part time work just to pay the bills. There is no time to breathe and I need that. I don’t want to prove myself and push myself to the limits. It feels like I’m already on the precipice. How do I push further without falling?

But all of this makes me feel lazy and ungrateful. I’ll never amount to anything because I can’t even hold down a job. I can barely meet my commitments. I can hardly make appointments. I don’t like to leave the house. I don’t feel comfortable around people. I don’t feel right inside. How can I be a professional performer? That is basically people, stress and costuming.

I need to get back to my faith. I need to find my inner strength again and feel the energy of a well person. I know that I will still have this feeling of anxiety and that my depression will not go away, but I’m going to start with this inner strength. I’m going to start from a place of integrity and wholeness. Wills be strong.

God bless.

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Alive

It’s not that I’m weeping,

I’m not spurting blood,

No bones cracked or broken,

No coughs, sniffles or bumps.

No,

It is not a visible sign.

I fail to remember this feeling

Again.

My skin cracked and broken

Welcomes sympathy and stares

But nothing is to be done,

About the sad lonely child,

Wrapped in a blanket inside.

Is there anywhere to hide

Should I blister and bleed?

Would that siphon emotion

Would that give people what they need

To see I’m

Broken inside?

Fissures leak poisonous words

My mind, weak, tempted; explores

And plumets into jagged teeth

Gnashing, gnawing,

Puncturing, tearing.

Torn mind aches in a bruised bleeding heart.

Then I’m spent,

Pulsing energy, pent up

Squeezing down as I breathe

Fencing off my beliefs

Pushing me down so I can’t see

That I’m worthy of life.

SO why should I strive

When I don’t know what whole

feels like

Or what it is to be alive?

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Just kidding

I feel that we live in a world that has no middle ground regarding offensiveness. Perhaps a few people try not to offend, yes, but with the structure of society and the ease of communication, there is little to no cooling off period. Some people are over-sensitive and become offended easily. Many have their reasons for this. Others have a view that it is easy to offend therefore they won’t attempt to hold in their insulting remarks. As with most things in my life I am a fence sitter. I try not to offend, but quite often do and I can be overly sensitive about things, but have enough awareness to either get over it or laugh at myself. I’m not sure I would have got through school and uni without being able to laugh at myself. I am a serious person for the most part, but my humour saves me every time.

Another thing that saves me is music. I am a musician; a classical singer and it is through singing and listening to various music that I feel calm. When I am singing or listening to music it is as though the world washes away because all my focus is on these beautiful sounds and wonderful feelings. Music is a language that speaks differently to all of us. It is complex and yet simple. It says what we cannot. It expresses our inner worlds that we can barely touch and connects them together. Music communicates across the boundaries of social status, money, illness, race, etc. It spites all differences and tells many stories. I would go so far as to say it is magic, miracles and sugar/etc highs all rolled into one. I have a life long passion and love of music. Without it I would be aimless and hollow.

At this present time there are only a few things in my life that I am looking forward to. I don’t really want to be depressed, poor and paying someone else’s mortgage. I would like to own my house with my partner and have a career that I can enjoy and get to everyday. But I can want these things as long as I like. I think it will be a very long time before I can truly get on both feet. I have been gradually clawing my way towards “being an adult”. So far I don’t like and I’m safe to say that most of my “adult” friends don’t either. It seems to be a general understanding that, once you “become” an adult you will hate everything.

Perhaps I am looking at this the wrong way? I’ve written a previous post on perspective. Maybe I’ve been walking all this time? Am I actually doing well? Is it the impression given to me by other peoples expectations of themselves and those around them that gives me the wrong scale to judge my persistence and wellbeing by? I may be interpreting adulthood as a negative, based on the assumption that my inner child doesn’t get to play…. A bit of a positive spin on it all and maybe I’m not the unkempt loser I think I am. But what is my voice against the many? I suppose it is mine. That should help.

So that wraps it up. Some false kidding, a musical interlude and some perspective….

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