I Can Be A Good Dog

How has your black dog been?

Its been 1 year of therapy. I haven’t learnt to manage him yet. But I have learnt to identify when he starts pulling me down. Identification makes it easier to ask for help. And help makes it easier to manage him.

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What has helped?

Being regular at therapy. Being emotionally honest. Y’s love. Non judgmental attitude. Learning to accept & forgive myself.

How does it feel seeing a therapist?

Its not the therapist that scares me. Its my own self. Being emotionally naked can be tiring. Handling vulnerability is not easy. A non judgmental safe space has certainly motivated me to be more honest. Honesty is healing.

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What hasn’t changed?

Social anxiety. Obsessive behavior. Anger. Indiscipline. Impatience. Feeling hopeless. Boredom. Feeling of emptiness. Lack of self confidence. Feeling vulnerable. Lack of control. Constant guilt. Unstable relationships. Impulsive behavior. Stress.

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What does it make you do?

Avoid social interactions. Depend on alcohol. Sleepless nights. Cheat. Act lazy. Act self destructive.

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What has changed?

Degree of self awareness. Have learnt to identify my evils. Its almost like a system reset, like laying a new foundation of self identity. Makes me question all my beliefs, morals and emotions. Most of the times it gets overwhelming. And makes me go to lengths that I have never been to.

How do you deal with it?

I talk about it, in all honesty. I am learning to let go off the shame and embarrassment. Its not easy but that is the only way that has worked for me, by talking about it.

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Do you think you are making progress?

My therapist says, it gets worse before it gets better. I feel certain about my progress, slowly but surely I will get there.

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What keeps you going?

I don’t think I am high on motivation. I have always been haunted by existentialist questions. Its just the fact that I am alive. I also disbelieve there is any inherent meaning to life.

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(You can check out my favorite blogger Allie Brosh’s blog, Hyperbole & A Half here – http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.in/

The illustrations/ comics in this blog are done by her.

Here is the link to my previous blog on Depression – https://rutugole.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/my-black-dog-me/)

My Black Dog & Me

I write this blog in all honesty & commitment to help my black dog. And especially because I know many out there have this condition and either they don’t know what to do about it or know what to do but are better off denying it. And yes, also  because this is a ‘coming out’ experience for me. And I want to get it out of my system.

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Here are two videos by World Health Organization explaining depression

I Had a Black Dog, His Name was Depression – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc

Living with a Black Dog – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VRRx7Mtep8

And here’s a video by one of my favourite bloggers, Allie Brosh.

Depression – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GthbzXBDv2Q

You can check out Allie’s blog, Hyperbole & a Half – http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.in/ (The illustrations/ comics in this blog are done by her.)

How common is depression?

Depression affects 1 in every 5 people. If depression runs in the family, the members are 8 times more prone to depression.

Is depression a weakness?

Depression is often perceived as a lack of courage. Like any other ‘normal’ person, depressed people may be courageous in certain areas of life while may not be in other areas. The nature of depression is such that courage is not enough to push it away. As a matter of fact, you cannot push it away however hard you try. Depression is almost like a dark cloud lurking beneath you. It never leaves you, even in your happiest moment.

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What exactly happened for you to feel depressed?

Nothing has to necessarily happen to trigger depression. With a few it might be a temporary phase but with others its a life long baggage.

Depression doesn’t exist, its all in your head.

Oh, well! This is almost like saying alternative sexualities don’t exist. Depression is not in the head, its a concrete feeling that manifests itself physically, socially, emotionally.

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Therapy is a crutch, how long can you go about seeking help?

I think otherwise. I firmly believe therapy helps. Therapy is not a crutch, therapy is a supplement you take when you feel deficient. There is no shame in seeking help. Talking has more healing power than we can perceive. And talking to a professional more so. Therapy makes you talk, feel emotionally naked, deal with how you are, how you perceive life, face your evils, your strengths, makes you know yourself. I haven’t yet figured out the nature of knowing & realization, but I can say for sure it makes you a more conscientious, mature & wiser person.

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Does therapy really help? They will put you on medication, don’t you fear that?

No, I don’t fear that. I would rather study the nature of my illness & discuss the medication with my therapist. If I feel uncomfortable being on medication, the first person to know this should be my therapist. Knowing the nature of your disease is half the battle won.

Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Ayurved help. Safest way to cure depression.

Depression cannot be cured with placebos. It will make a come back. The more you delay the process of seeking help, the harder it gets.

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Get involved in good work, that is the best cure.

Directing your energy towards altruistic work might help in reducing the pain you feel but it will never address the root of your disease. By helping others, you are only temporarily suppressing your feelings. Seeking help & working towards accepting your condition is the only right way to go about it. All other distractions run parallel to this process.

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Is depression a disease?

Depression is a biopsychosocial syndrome. The reasons can be genetic, biological, psychological and/ or social. Depression can be compared with alcoholism. The debate on whether alcoholism/ depression is a disease or disorder still remains. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evil-deeds/200809/is-depression-disease

Will therapy cure it?

The nature of the human mind & its disorders/ diseases is very complex. Research hasn’t gotten that far yet. No psychiatrist can guarantee any outcome. But he/ she can certainly help you in finding ways to deal with your disorder & make your life livable, if not happy. A combination of psychotherapy & pharmacology can go a long way in treating depression.

Lets not talk about it. Avoiding the topic cures it. The more you think, the more it will affect you.

Sweeping things under the carpet don’t make them go away. The more you hide, the bigger the black dog gets, till you can handle him no more.

Depression is almost like coming out.

Yes, it is. Acceptance is the first & most important step in getting to know your black dog.

Does your family support you?

I say this with a heavy heart and with all my honesty, no, my family doesn’t support me. Y has always been there for me, no one else has. Either they don’t understand & acknowledge the nature of depression and if they do they are better off denying it. Your struggle becomes harder after knowing your family doesn’t support you.

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Do you lose credibility because of the stigma attached to it?

Yes, I often do. When I stand up for something, I see the doubt in people’s eyes. But I say what I have to say and let people judge.

Am I talking or is the depression talking?

Yes, I very often feel this. And I have to remind myself that I have to trust my intellect & instinct. My black dog is a part of me, we are inseparable. I will always have that doubt. The way I deal with this is by asking myself a lot of questions till I am convinced of the answer.

I won seek help, I haven’t gone crazy yet.

Yes, I have been through that phase. And it hasn’t helped. My issues only got worse with time. One should know when to let go off one’s ego.

What other issues do you face?

Anger, anxiety, awkwardness, confidence issues, asocial behaviour. I dont receive phone calls & have lost the already few friends I have. favim_com-aspergers-girl-gpoy-hyperbole-and-a-half-socialphobia-agoraphobia-204275

How do you feel about being accepted?

I am slowly learning to be comfortable being alone and not being accepted. I am also learning to stand up for what I strongly feel about and be the bad person. Acceptance can be lucrative and these days its not worth the effort. You can either be honest or be accepted. Rare are the situations, where these coincide.

What is people’s reaction?

Most don’t understand, fewer make an attempt. Most feel angry, fewer try to get to know me. 1327549097126322