Battling the Black Dog

It’s back. It’s barking and growling and scratching at the door, trying to get in, and I’m trying so hard not to let it.

But it’s exhausting. I’m so tired, constantly wanting to sleep. Yet some nights I lie awake. Not thinking or fretting or stressing, really. I just lie there with my eyes closed, waiting for sleep to come.

There’s no inspiration. Just a couple of weeks ago I was posting, writing, creating. Now I’m silent, unmotivated. I have nothing to say. No positive stories to share.

The tears. Not a day has gone by without tears for a week now. They flow silently, without fanfare, as I sit here, waiting for the feeling to pass.

They say Churchill called it the black dog. Sometimes that’s how it feels. A big black dog following me around like a shadow. But sometimes, like now, it’s an all-consuming fog that blocks out the light, turning everything a deep, dull grey. It makes everything quiet, eerie, it blurs sharp lines. It invades my brain and leaves that foggy, too. Unable to see clearly, focus, see the sun hiding above the clouds.

Deep down, a part of me knows that hope and joy are out there, but no matter how hard I look, how far I reach out, I can’t find it. The fog is hiding it from view, hoping I forget about it, waiting for me to sink further into myself instead.

I don’t want to give the fog what it wants. I don’t want to let the black dog in.

I’m arming myself.

I’ve upped the nutrition-rich foods. So what if I ordered them online and bought some of them pre-prepared? It’s all I can manage right now, and nutrition is nutrition. There’s no point forcing myself to the farm shop to buy soup ingredients, then letting them rot because I don’t have the energy or motivation to chop and cook them.

I’m taking my painkillers because no-one should have to deal with the double whammy of pain and fog. And the lower pain means I can do a bit of exercise each day to boost my mood.

I’ve reached out and called a friend.

I’m watching comedies to reassure myself I can still laugh.

And I’m writing this, getting it out, reducing its power.

And still the fog descends, smothering me in its cloak of darkness.

And still I fight on.

I’ve been here before and won. I will prevail.

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