Tag Archive | black dog

Depression and the Black Dog

Rarely does a celebrity death impact me. I don’t know them and they aren’t really part of my life. A few have like when John Denver died but not usually. Robin Williams is another exception. He was brilliant. He was funny and like most comedians had a deep dark place. I honour you Robin and I say your name that you may live.

I watched Twitter explode last night both with lovely remembrances of Robin and with well-meaning but stupid things about depression. All the suicide hotlines in the world can’t help someone bent on ending unimaginable pain. Unless you have suffered from the hauntings of the Black Dog, you have no idea. None what so ever. Suicide is an attempt to control the pain when nothing else has worked and you want the pain to stop and you really don’t care what others think, the pain is so great. It’s easy to say, “get help” if you have never been there. I have.

When I got dumped after a 4 year relationship I was in so much pain I decided that was the answer. I’m here because I had an intuitive friend who made an emergency call to my therapist because even having a therapist sometimes doesn’t help. I went to work and cleaned up my desk so whoever came after me wouldn’t have a mess to clean up and while there I got a phone call and I guess I sounded weird to her because it scared her. I went home, took a shower, got in my pj’s and took my pillow and put it down by the heater and blew out the pilot and lay down to go to sleep. And the phone started to ring, I ignored it. I ignored it through the first message from my therapist into the answering machine. She kept calling and she finally said something I heard. She told me it was alright to do if it was an action on my part and not a reaction. That finally got through and I got up and picked up the phone. I promised to wait an hour and I was so mad about a promise that hadn’t been kept that I had to keep this one and she knew that. She kept calling me once an hour all night because I wouldn’t promise more than an hour and the next morning she somehow got me to come to her home office for a session of over 2 hours and she never charged me. I’m here because she did that. The friend who called her has never forgiven me and so haven’t several others and that was back in 1989.

What most people don’t know is that I would do it again if I thought it was necessary. This time I would have an active reason but if I got a diagnosis of a terminal disease, I’d do it without turning back because I wouldn’t want the people I love to suffer watching me go and I’d want control of it. Terry Pratchett is right that for some people it’s an option, for others it’s not and I respect that.

The Black Dog tends to be genetic and run in families and the Black Dog has a fondness for Scots and Scandinavians and I have both bloods running in my veins. There is a reason the MMPA was started for a bunch of Scandinavian farmers in Minnesota. The Scandinavian countries have some of the highest suicide rates in the world. All of them are in the top 20 and together it would be higher.

The stigma of suicide is a Christian phenomenon. They think it’s a sin. I don’t, sometimes it’s taking control of the uncontrollable. And there can be no shame in that. I’m not sorry I tried it. I learned a lot about myself and I won’t ever take it lightly. Every day I am here, it is because I choose to be here and that is more than most people can say. I do not float through life like a leaf in a stream. I am not ashamed of it but I don’t talk about because other people freak out and start lecturing me. Don’t want to hear it. If I should ever find myself in that circumstance again, no one will know until it’s done and there will be no mess to clean up. Nothing that will harm another person like I almost blew up the house, that was dumb.

So Robin, I understand what may have made you do it and if it was the only way to stop the pain, I understand that too. Blessings on your journey and hope if you have another life you don’t find it so painful even though the pain and your wit is what made you so funny. Captain, my Captain.