The Black Dog

Posted: March 5, 2015 in Black Dog
Black Dog

“I had a black dog, and its name was Depression.”

It’s difficult to describe what depression is like. To some it can be likened to a black dog, that follows you around. Others see it as a black hole.  The worst of mine was like being a black hole, with no way out. Utter hopelessness and helplessness.

And the people who thought they were being helpful, dishing out their words of advice, just made it feel worse.

It can be brought on by many things, from situations at home or work, or can be a result of a physical health issue. It can make your thoughts spiral in ever decreasing circles, potentially becoming dangerous with increasing feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and futility. The trick is to break that vicious cycle before it takes hold.

Medicines can help lift the mood, but won’t cure it. Once you realise there’s a problem, you should seek professional help. I saw my GP, who referred me to a local mental health service for counselling. In the UK, A&E departments are also there for people who are feeling so bad they’re suicidal. The Samaritans can also help when you’re feeling low, and you feel like you have no one to talk to.

Things not to say to someone with depression.

It’s all in your head. It may well be true, but leave it to the professionals to say it.
Be a Man! Grow a pair! This isn’t helpful. Depression is an illness, not a sign of weakness.
There are people worse off than you. This just adds to their feelings of guilt and hopelessness.

Don’t try to jolly them along; it can often make them feel worse.

Good things to say or do

  • Be sensitive
  • Try not talking; open your ears and your heart.
  • Be a friend. Don’t try to solve their problems, leave it to the professionals. But you can still offer support.
  • Encourage them to seek professional advice.
  • Encourage them to exercise.
  • Encourage them to simplify their life, both at home and at work.

Links & References

  1. bluebell172 says:

    I don’t always know the right thing to say, but you know you have my full support.


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