My Black Dog


Anxiety and depression isn’t something I usually share when it’s happening but rather I use my experiences to speak of it once it’s passed.  With the recent suicide of a musical creative soul Avicii, and this week designer Kate Spade, not to forget the countless other souls lost that go unmentioned from their lack of celebrity, it brings the issue closer to home as once again these past few months my black dog has been visiting. 

I bravely admit that right now I am a far cry from the images on my website where I emanate my bright light into the world.  Depression makes me question whether that part of me is even real; I feel hypocritical and fraudulent and most of all, a failure, as I once again experience the dysfunction of depression and the overwhelming panic that arises before I fall into the ‘abyss’ as I call it. 

My greatest fear is that I will stay there forever and that my family is better off without me.  I struggle to cling to a shred of self-worth and belief of what I have expressed and achieved in the past, especially as an ‘inspirational keynote speaker’ (the irony is not lost on me).  It seems some cruel cosmic joke that this is my purposeful work in the world when I struggle with visits from ‘my black dog’…but perhaps that’s the point.  If we all waited until we were ‘perfect enough’ or ‘qualified enough’ or  ‘stable enough’ then nothing would ever be created.    It interests me to note that this recent instability has followed the high of deciding to finally write and publish my book, ‘Loved By Two Mothers’, and I know at some point I will need to look at the fear beneath this depression.

I believed my days of having a ‘major depressive disorder’, as well as components of  ‘cyclothymia’, had passed, after all I had been enjoying relative stability for some time now and joy was more part of my days than not, so this ‘episode’ knocked me for a six and I struggle to search for the ‘why’, the ‘trigger’ and the ‘cause’ once again. 

After experiencing a major panic attack that lasted well over an hour and took another hour for my husband Donald to soothe and reach me, I finally surrendered and stopped resisting my perceived reality that I was worthless.   It was like being trapped in an internal cage that is buried in a dark cave within me.  I gave up fighting it and being angry at it, and resenting it and loathing my ‘black dog’.   What I needed most of all was love, my own love for who I was showing up as in the moment.  If I were to meet a broken woman I would love her, what if I could do just one thing to love myself? 

I used all my effort and what little energy I had to do ‘just one thing’.  I ever so slowly rode my bike around the lake that is nearby, not for exercise or raising my heart rate to ‘burn fat’ toward some fitness goal, but to risk being brave enough to go outside after not being able to leave the house for days.  I allowed myself to be near the tranquillity of the lake and feel the wind on my cheeks as I let the tears fall for the first part of my ride. 

After calling out in desperation ‘I can’t do this anymore, I need a miracle’ (and certainly not expecting one), I tune into my audible book that I’ve been listening to these last few weeks, “Life Loves You” by Robert Holden & Louise Hay and I hear the words…

“Even in a world of fear, there is love.   Even when you are in lack, there is abundance.  Even when you experience conflict, there is peace.  Even when you are alone, there is help.  Even when you are confused, there is guidance.  Everything you need is here and it’s here now.”

I cry harder as the author's voice continues to touch my heart with the words he encourages me to say…

“I am willing to let life love me today.  Everything I need to know is revealed to me.  I gratefully accept all the good I have in my life now.  I release all struggle now, and I am at peace.  My healing is already in progress.  I now accept and appreciate the abundant life the Universe offers me”. 

I continue to weep as I ride along reciting the words and give thanks that I did ‘just one thing’ to love me today.

For anyone who is secretly struggling with the challenges of anxiety and depression, or any type of mental ill-health,  please reach out for help, you are not alone. I share my personal mantra with you to use if is resonates,

“I can handle all things that come my way. This too shall pass”.

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