It still doesn’t feel like all that long ago when I decided to ‘say it loud, say it proud’ with this blog and my love of zines. Like up until that point, it was kind of an occasional side activity. Since then, I’ve been waiting. Waiting for the Black Dog to show up, and waiting to see how I’d handle it.
Too many times I have let depression mess up the things I love. When all you do in the world is produce words and art, people stop paying attention to you pretty quickly when you’re not producing words and art. In darker moments, I wonder if I could be selling more books if I could just power through. If I could have more zines produced, more cards made, more journals sewn.
But this, this blog. I’ve been both fascinated and terrified at the prospect of facing depression since I’ve really jumped into this blog.
Alas, here we are.
It’s been a while, so I didn’t really recognise the signs. For me, I was just working hard, and who wouldn’t want to escape into some gaming at night after working hard all day. That I was falling behind with comment replies and blog follow-ups… Well, more were coming in. It didn’t seem that bizarre to be falling behind in the face of more to do. I suppose what should have really alerted me was how easy it was to forget the world outside my office room. Losing yourself in your work is one thing, but losing the outside world?
This weekend I received some bad news about a friend. The doctors found cancer. It’s all about the family now, and I get that, having been ‘touched’ by cancer as they say. (I’d say ‘bombarded’ or ‘scarred’ would be a better word, but that’s another line of thought for another day.) But it broke something in me. I kept my tears to a minimum, but at home with Wanderer, I cried as much as I needed to. Said the words I needed to say for the simple act of being heard by someone. But that news made everything so much clearer about my mental state and what I’d been doing to myself to cover it up.
My black dog has come to stay for a while, and that’s okay.
There’s nothing harder for me than to have to stand back and keep my mouth shut when I want to help. But it’s been made clear to me that friends can be incredibly close, but friends are not family – and this is a family matter.
There is a light to be found, as there often is. My black dog is here, willing me to stay in bed, to stay in the land of sleep where I don’t need to think. It’s on my chest, making it hard to breathe, in and on my head, and wrapped around my shoulders.
But here I am. Writing. Self-soothing.