My Black Dog

Reflections on depression

Churchill used to call his bouts with depression his “Black Dog”. A huge shaggy dog that would visit him for a while.

I really didn’t know what depression meant, I always thought it was something people said when they were a bit sad about something. It wasn’t until my first year at University that I felt the crushing grip of depression.

For those of you that don’t know; depression isn’t feeling a little sad. It’s a deep dark pit of despair, it grips you like a vice, squeezing your stomach sending poison round your body. That first time at University was exactly this. I couldn’t face doing anything. I didn’t care what I looked like, I couldn’t interact with people anymore, something had broken inside me and I didn’t know what it was or how to make it better. Slowly, so slowly I came out of it. I floundered there for a while, but it did get better.

That was eight years ago. I remember for the longest time afterwards I was scared that It would come back, that the very act of being scared of it was going to cause it. Fear of fear itself. I’ve had other bouts of it, mostly at University, but always come out the other side, perhaps a bit stronger for the experience.

That brings me to today. And I’m feeling low again. I wouldn’t say that I was depressed because I can remember that feeling, and that was a lot worse. This is sporadic, occasionally punching me in the stomach when I’m least expecting it. I do know I’ll get better. Past experience teaches me that I probably wont feel like this forever. I’ve just got to keep telling myself that.