The "Black Dog" in this case is NOT the Led Zeppelin tune, rather what Winston Churchill defined his depression.
I have battled clinical depression all of my life, and I was aware as early as perhaps five or six years old that something was not right about me, emotionally. I also had no idea how to describe it, and no one was interested in what a stupid had to say about such weighty things, anyway.
Here is a great, slightly off-base song from the legendery John Hiatt. "Fireball Roberts" is on his most excellent The Open Road CD.
It does illustrate in a way how it feels...but it is not always so colorful. It is generally dark, heavy, and sickening.
You honestly feel like shit. All the time. Everything weighs on you; this is not usually something you can just buck yourself up over, though we've tried different things, those of us who deal with it.
I did what is called in football a "two-a-day," that is I went to LA Fitness and worked my ass out twice in a day. It really does help; I had done my M-W-F workout in the morning, which is a short, but strenuous series of lifts, crunches, floor exercises and other moves. On my off days, I generally swim.
Well, today was just fucking weird, and this is what I deal with. My medication just was not cutting it today; self-medication beyond this is NEVER an option, and I'm gonna tell you that right now. I'm talking booze, drugs, food, even sex...doesn't work.
Now beyond that; since my depression was diagnosed in 2000, and I've been put on a certain Rx, I've been pretty damned good. The drug acts like a compressor; in that it pushes down the high and pushes up the lows. You live in between, and I've found for the most I can live a happier life.
Doesn't always work...I don't know why, but today certain things just got me. Summer sucks for me, as does the Yule/Xmas holiday season; I fucking hate these periods, despite enjoying the warm weather, and conversely the time of Yule and all of that.
I knew after a while, I just had to get my ass back to the gym and hit the pool. My swimming workout right now is about 40 minutes, with no stopping. I've gotten better at it, and I do feel a lot stronger these past two weeks, and that's all it's been.
And...16 days without a smoke. That's another self-medicator that does not work. We know what it does to your body, but the tobacco and the chemicals fuck up your head. I know what it does, and I feel it.
I used to like that feeling; suppose that was my way of self-doing it, because I don't drink.
Actually, I do think I know why some of the depression has come back in recent weeks; and again, it's a matter of riding these things out.
I'll have to do what I have to do, and if it means people don't see me or hear from me, sorry, but that is what I've got going on. You don't want to know.
I have one more day off as it were before things get interesting. I'm back on the air Thursday, doing "All Things Considered" for WITF, before I take off for New England to see my nephew Aubrey walk the aisle, see how the family's doing, and then head for Boston.
That will be fun...I hope.
So, just remember when shit gets on you, you are not alone. If you feel it getting extreme, find someone you can trust to help. At the end of the day, no matter how fucking awful you feel, you are still here.