'Black Dog' exposed.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by marksmith, Sep 12, 2015.

  1. marksmith

    marksmith Active Member

    A rather delicate subject; often feared, too often misunderstood and sends 'friends' and colleagues, running for a place to hide when it indirectly affects them.
    I am talking about depression (Churchill's 'Black Dog').
    As society becomes more pressured and aware of itself, we would expect the understanding of this illness to increase proportionately and those suffering, be shown a degree of empathy for the aspects of it, which may encroach on others, unintentionally.
    However, I fear that the opposite is true and people in general, lack patience and the ability to comprehend how the depression affects the sufferer on a day-to-day basis.
    There is still a stigma attached to this illness, which affects so many of us, that we often hide the fact that we suffer from it, to both save face and dignity, as it's label can be so destructive in the hands of those who fear it affecting their own existence.
    I have been a sufferer for several years, triggered, I fear, by stress from work as a schoolteacher, several family bereavements and a loss of self-esteem, which can bring many demons to your door.
    Rather that acknowledge the problem, it is a natural choice to 'get on with it', in some ways dealing with it by increasing many of it's causes.
    On a personal level, it has tested both friendships and colleague relationships, particularly whilst attempting to remedy it myself.
    Band-wise, I think that it has also tested the resolve of those around me, where inconsistency of mood and performance has led to judgemental responses, rather than support and understanding - which I totally understand.
    We are all in a high-stress, fast paced society, which has little time for stragglers or those unable to perform at their best, 100% of the time. It is easier to cut people loose, rather than help carry them through a dark time, with care and support.
    People around me have always looked to me for strength and encouragement, my strength of character being as much their rock as my own. How difficult it has been to step back and let friends and family see me become a shadow of my confident self and share my fears with them.
    I write this because I know of several band friends who quietly suffer, fearing that public knowledge of such an illness will undermine peoples trust in their ability to cope. A situation created by the nature of this affliction.
    I am sure that this post will ring true to many readers, both sufferers and those that share lives with those that suffer from one of the least predictable of all illnesses, on a day-to-day basis.
    mikelyons, andybass and pedaller like this.
  2. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Active Member

    Interesting topic and one that effects a not that small but rather a surprisingly large percentage of people from time to time, it's just the degree and frequency to which folk are in low spirits that varies.

    I haven't the skill or fuller insight to give this topic the support and comment that will help this thread. But it's now had a 'bump' and I can but hope that more formed and empathic folk will respond. If it's any help to anyone one of my personal mottos is: "nill carborundum illigitimass" (which translated from the Latin means don't let the bastards grind you down). Works for me.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
    andybass likes this.
  3. andybass

    andybass Member

    An excellent opening post and one that I can only agree and sympathise with.
  4. marksmith

    marksmith Active Member

    Thanks both.
    It is probably peoples fear of discussing the subject, which is most frustrating.
    Triggers can be many, effective ways of coping - few.
    The irony of it in most cases is, that you need company to maintain a positive outlook but find it difficult to find the motivation to seek it.
    The diminishing social aspects of your life are the most difficult to deal with, especially so with the fast pace of life in the outside world.
    It is a living example of 'out of sight, out of mind', not that different to bereavement.
    Sadly, it is those friendships that are most important to overcoming this 'loss', which seem to disappear first.
    I don't seek, or need sympathy on a personal level, just the hope that the judgemental nature of those who see it as a weakness in character, will be able to understand that it can happen to anyone.
    Those going through milestone Birthdays (e.g 50), start to question/measure their success in life; Physical changes/illnesses wear you down; The true nature of the adult world becomes trivial and cynically veneered; Petty jealouses/bitchiness, become more apparent, etc, etc.
    In banding, we measure our capabilities constantly, maybe being over-critical of our own performances, or those of others.
    What ever the nature of these triggers are, more time to think makes them a greater irritation.
    A lot of people with depressive tendencies, don't even recognise them in their persona.
    Our British 'way' of saying nothing, is in fact the worst way of dealing with it.
    Families see it and recognise it's shadow; their support is unspoken but recognised.
    What a pity that this cannot always be the case beyond your own four walls.
    pedaller and mikelyons like this.

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