For me, I think there will always be days of dark and days of light. Days when I have it covered and days where the tears sit lurking just beneath the surface. Everyone is like that to some degree.
I never really knew what they meant by the black dog. I always thought it sounded rather comforting to have someone, something by your side. A bit of a Harry Potterish dog, you know, as in a black dog who’s really your godfather kind of dog. Until now.
The black dog is not a comfort. It is not a companion. And it’s not really a dog. Not for me anyway. More like a shadow. It doesn’t matter which way I twist or turn I can’t shake it from my back. I can’t dislodge its claws from my shoulders, its weight pulling me down, drawing me inward. Its there, just behind the dullness in my eyes when I look in the mirror and its there reaching for another glass of wine, urging me to transform into someone else.
There are days when it sits smirking, on the outskirts of my vision. Passively watching as I go through my day. Taking stock of my weight, remembering conversations, insults, sideways looks – all for critical review at 3am.
I plead with it. I reason with it. I tell it to go away. The heaviness stays and stays. Soon I give into the endless emotion and let it drain, a constant flow down my cheeks.
I’m always sorry, I’m awkward and I’m ashamed. Why doesn’t my brain work the same way as everyone else’s? I struggle on while it shouts HARDEN UP from the sidelines. It feels endless and I wonder if I’ll see the light again.
And then there are days where the sun shines so bright that the shadows recede, and all I feel is love and light. The tears dry up and my cheeks hurt from smiling.
A quick snuggle in the safe haven of my husband’s arms. His firm embrace anchors me as he smooths my hair and tells me it will be ok.
Sharing an afternoon with a dear friend, a kindred soul. Drinking wine in the sun, bonding over crazy tales of our toddlers and giggling till our sides hurt. A phone call, a text from a friend just to let you know they’re thinking of you.
When my son tells me he will fill up my bucket with love and snuggles to make me happy. A toddler who kisses my tears away and asks me “you happy mama?”.
Jumping on plane and escaping to where the shadows can’t find me. Getting lost in a new place, seeking out new experiences and craving a new adventure.
These are the things that are my drug. They are the healing, the love, the light, the gift I need to pull myself out of that great big hole.
It’s impossible for me to know what storms are going on in other people’s minds or what battles they are are fighting. Whatever they are going through, I just endeavour to be the sunshine. Everyone deserves a little sunshine.
I’m getting involved in March and you can too! Why not host a beyondblue Bash and help make a real difference to the lives of individuals, families and communities affected by depression, anxiety and suicide. CLICK HERE to find out more.
If you are or know someone dealing with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.