Sunday 19 May 2013

Down the Well with the Black Dog

I've occasionally used this blog to talk about my mental health problems, though of late I've tried to avoid too much personal info.

Things for me are fine at the moment, but reading the post from the Laughing Ferret about his own recent problems has struck a chord.  I don't think I would be as brave or articulate as he is, but much of what he says chimes with my own experience.

I hope he won't mind if I quote:
Knowing that some regard a depression sinking as a character flaw, or as not real, or as whining, only makes it even harder to deal with in trying to get out of it.  It takes more stress points. It is easy to say "my leg was broken, but it's healed now" but "I was in a depression black hole, but I'm out now" has a whole host of added burden applied to it by the culture.  It is a lot like a broken leg.  Saying it is broken isn't whining, it isn't a plea for attention, it's just pointing out the fact.  It is nice to have someone give condolences, it can be appreciated, but where no one would think that saying 'I hope your leg gets better' would actually help it get better, people do seem to think saying "I hope you feel better" should have an affect on someone who's depressed. Wish it were so, but it isn't.  That helps someone who is sad, but not someone who is depressed. The two states are very different. Which I don't think is understood by a lot of people, since many people use the phrase "I feel depressed" when they don't-what they feel is sadness, which is bad, but it isn't the same as depression.   But knowing well-wishers often have an expectation that their well wishes will help, it becomes almost an extra burden for the depressed person (at least I have found it so for me) and so makes it less likely to draw attention to the problem, to avoid the additional weight. Not that it isn't appreciated abstractly, just that it can't help at that time.


  1. This seems all the more disheartening give the prodigious talent of the man. I hope this first tentative step will see a resurgence in output giving him the focus to crawl 'out of the well'. Regardless of outcome my thoughts are most certainly with him.

  2. Quite so. I think the response that he's got to his post will be a great help. I know that when you're that far down you feel that your all alone and that no-one will miss you if you just fade away.

  3. Having been in a rather bad place a few years ago and having a teeny glimpse down that well, I have the utmost respect for those who suffer from depression. You chaps who blog about the black dog are to be applauded.


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