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A touch of the dog

by admin

Ive been at pains over the last week or two about the fact I haven’t posted anything worthwhile for some time. I’ve internalised the issue and have been beating myself up about it. “But why?” I have pondered. Sure I’ve shared some stuff from other pages and posted some photos of our days, but why have I been stuck for original content?

Because I have been, in semi-restrospect, going through one of my regular apathy stages. Which for me, is how the black dog, aka depression, comes to visit.

You all know from previous posts that the start of April, and Easter, are the apex of shitty times for me. But this year I had a few additional factors that served to drag me down deeper. A serious family health scare, news of two childhood acquaintences’ deaths, and word that yet another dear old friend is battling cancer have all contributed to a wall that I have struggled to leap over in my usual dismissive, she’ll-be-right manner.

The insidious nature of the dog means that it is not until you are either at the depths of its clutches, or on the cusp of breaking its shackles, that you in fact truly understand that you have been in its terrible grip.

For me, depression, as mentioned, comes in the form of apathy. “Big deal” you may mumble as you read this. Yeah, big deal indeed. I know it sounds pretty soft and inconsequential, but apathy, when it is total and consuming, is truly a scary state of being.

Sure, I’m not lying in bed unable to deal with the very thought of the day ahead. Yes, I am not lying on the couch, curled up in the foetal position with tears streaming down my face. And no, I don’t have such an immense fear of the outside world that I dare not venture past the front door. In all appearances, I look and seem normal.

However….

When you wake up every morning, whether it be fully rested or after a night of restlessness, and your first and day long feeling consists of the singular thought “who gives a shit”, life takes on a whole different feel.

You don’t care about food. You don’t care about money, you don’t care about the kids. You don’t care about yourself. Every thought and decision had no consequence, or for that matter appeal.

It’s like there is no point in doing anything, that if you just disappeared, that if you simply sat in the corner and stared at the wall all day, nothing would change.

Which is one of the hardest things when dealing with what I like to call “chronic apathy”.

Even when you know that you are being apathetic, because you ARE apathetic, how do you summon the courage to give a shit about anything? How do you break the cycle?

It really is a scary state of being, which you only fully understand in retrospect.

For me this time around, and it’s different each time, it was a brief chat with a new friend. She inadvertently made me realise that I have indeed been floundering in a state of apathy for some weeks, simply my asking me “so what’s new?”, to which I had nothing to say. And that, luckily, was enough to allow me to view the last few weeks from outside of my stupid mind and see it for what is was.

Regardless of what there was to look forward to, there was not one ounce of excitement or anticipation. It truly would not have mattered to me if I had been taken by a shark while surfing in 24deg water on a glorious Byron autumn day. Fucked. Up.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not writing this to fish for sympathy or words of encouragement. I am not even writing this for cathartic purposes.

This article’s sole purpose is to draw attention to a form of depression that many “sweep under the rug” and pass off as but a mere moment in their life. Because it’s not. Continual apathy towards life IS NOT NORMAL. Do not assume that “being down” or “feeling flat” for extended periods of time is a normal part of life.

Seek out your friends, call up your family, fuck – take yourself down to the pub and offload onto a stranger, or even better – PM me. Just don’t sit around not giving a shit about anything. You matter. You are meant to be happy. Things can be better.

Life is not shit unless you allow it to be. It’s hard, yes. It can suck hairy balls, frequently. But you are alive, and that (if you’ve led a life like me), is somewhat of a fucking miracle.

Don’t let the black dog win.

Here's some other posts

47 comments

Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 10:11 am

I used to call it “the black hole”. Something i troubled to climb out of. It sometimes feels safe. And the safer i felt , the longer i would stay there. Out of the hole and getting along normally…. but really what is normal? No one can tell you what your normal should be. Its finding yourself after the black hole has been covered over. Xx

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Just A Dad April 12, 2018 - 10:22 am

Excellent description!

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 10:12 am
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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 10:12 am

Well said mate! Thanks for sharing!

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 10:14 am

I know exactly how you feel. It was a passing comment from a friend that pulled me out last time too. My saviour was getting busy. Landscaping, building vege gardens and finding innovative ways to grow food with a budget of zero really helped me. I found what I was into and put a lot of work in. Now each day the veges must be watered or it’s all a waste of time and effort. It gets me out of the house, in the sunshine and watching the fruits of my labour grow. I found it helped me. I hope you find your drive again when it come to you

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 10:21 am

Thanks for sharing Chris Martin

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 10:24 am

I always described depression as ‘drowning’. It literally feels like you’re sculling for your life in the very oxygen you breathe and you can’t get out to catch a breath. Dealt with it majority of my life, it’s never simple or easy.
Thank you for talking about it as it’s still such a taboo subject unfortunately, which bloody helps no one!
That numb feeling of nothing is scary. To have no emotion to life, it’s one of the loneliest feelings out there.

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Just A Dad April 12, 2018 - 10:27 am

“that numb feeling of nothing is scary”… Spot on… 🙏

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 10:37 am

I know this feeling all to well but my family and friends always keep me going as well as getting to see my son he is the main thing that keeps me going. Christmas to Easter is my ‘bad period’

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Just A Dad April 12, 2018 - 10:48 am

That’s a hefty bad run mate 🙁

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 10:56 am

Just A Dad yeah misses left just before christmas, its my sons bday on Valentine’s Day (he is 2) and Easter may only have been this year as it was his first one as a single dad so might just be xmas-feb next year fingers crossed

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 10:38 am

Love your honesty

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 10:40 am

Your honesty helps people mate. That is a great thing.

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Just A Dad April 12, 2018 - 10:49 am

Cheers bud

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 10:45 am

I suffer from Anxiety and depression. Mainly anxiety some days still. Had PND after 2nd daughter 21 years ago and tried to just keep pushing until i ended up in hospital. Took me a year of different meds and in end one worked thank god. Unfortunately every time dr weened me off i was back in hospital so now i am on them forever. Your situation different. Like you said reach out and take support

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 11:01 am

Melanie Whyte Erin Ross Gayle Dawson If you arent already following this page then do yourself a favour. 🙂

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Just A Dad April 12, 2018 - 11:07 am

Thanks for the vote of confidence! 😉

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 12:32 pm

It’s Xmas time for me …. till d-day 4 January….. my NY starts on 5 January now and pretty much from mid December till then it’s one day at a time and just ‘survival’ till the heaviness passes. Fuck you cancer!!!

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 11:15 am

Thanx dude
Hope things get beta fr yah soon
Peace

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 12:31 pm

Very well said !
Thank you for sharing your life experiences .
Hope tomorrow is a better day !

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 12:32 pm

You are not standing alone, together we will fight ✌

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 1:17 pm

You matter !!!!

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 1:29 pm

There you are.
Happy to see your words and will admit to having a secret worry for your wellbeing in the last weeks.

I hear ya buddy, I went down at d-day anniversary time early Feb.
Recovery has been slower than my impatience desires (and my social media displays).
And, as you mention, the addition of additional shit sure doesn’t help.

It’s amazing what we can do in the fog of apathy and how things can all seem ok if people don’t look too close.

But your words of wisdom are spot on.
Call for help. Call for companionship. Call for connection.
Fuck fear of vulnerability, fuck that brave face and fuck that thick skin.

This is your life – and we know how precious that is.
We can’t live in a euphoric state of gratitude for it all the time, that’s just ridiculous, but we can’t let ourselves disappear into the cracks of the couch either.

Thanks for the reminder.
I’m going to phone a friend.

Also open to PMs for anyone that would prefer the company of a potty mouth yummy Mummy to a wine swilling daggy Dad

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Just A Dad April 12, 2018 - 10:46 pm

Lara – PLEASE write!!! If you don’t want to run your own blog I’d love to have you guest post on here?

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Anonymous April 13, 2018 - 12:13 am

Just A Dad can’t I just keep hijacking your posts?
It’s the lazy, technologically challenged, woman’s way to blog.

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Just A Dad April 13, 2018 - 12:34 am

Lara Ryan of course you can 😊😊🤣🤣😘

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Anonymous April 13, 2018 - 12:35 am

Maybe guest-blogging would give you the confidence to eventually go wide without the initial sense of obligation Lara?

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Anonymous April 13, 2018 - 12:39 am

PS Just A Dad…my chooks and sausage dog make noises when I can’t seem to give a fuck. If I’m alone during the day, sometimes they’re the beings which get me moving from the bottom of the hole. They literally can’t help themselves so I feel obliged to connect with/feed them.

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Just A Dad April 13, 2018 - 5:28 am

Amanda Bannatyne bless their souls 😊

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 2:42 pm

Little bit stunned, tbh. Long term depression issues here. Bipolar 2, to be precise. And you’ve hit a massive nail on my head. Apathy ISN’T normal? I mean, seriously?. I feel pretty foolish. Thought I knew all I should know about this shitty condition. Always felt like apathy was like a ‘pretend depression’, if you like.. It’s what people like me feel like when they’re not dwelling in the pits of blackness.. Apathy. A state I have come to know so well.. Thanks for the eye opening.. Genuinely never considered this.

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Just A Dad April 12, 2018 - 10:48 pm

Hope it can help in some way Donna!

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Anonymous April 13, 2018 - 5:57 am

Just A Dad there was a holy shit moment reading this. This bit of knowledge is a game changer. Like I just figured it out n all makes sense at once.

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Just A Dad April 13, 2018 - 7:06 am

Rowan Whelan that’s awesome!

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 9:40 pm

Mate you always continue to amaze me with your self awareness, honesty, the courage to share these feelings and how eloquently you write about them.

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Just A Dad April 12, 2018 - 10:47 pm

Thanks mate 🙂

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 11:05 pm

Now can I hit you up for a loan 😉

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Just A Dad April 12, 2018 - 11:09 pm

Glenn Scotland 🤣🤣

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Anonymous April 12, 2018 - 11:29 pm

Your post is helpful for so many. More people (particularly blokes) need to speak out like this. Don’t you long for the day when posts like this won’t be seen as ‘courageous’, because talking openly about mental health will be the norm?

Hope the apathy clears and you feel the warmth of life again soon. It’s lovely to see your friends pile on here with their support. People are beautiful, particularly when the chips are down.

All the best. x

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Just A Dad April 12, 2018 - 11:34 pm

100% about creating this as the norm, not the courageous thing to do. X

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Anonymous April 13, 2018 - 12:42 am

I find winter a less easy time to clamber out of the black hole. Still try and get to the beach with my literal and metaphorical dog as it can put things in perspective seeing the big skies and roaring ocean.

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Just A Dad April 13, 2018 - 5:29 am

Nothing more healing than the ocean 🏊 🏄 ☀

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Anonymous April 13, 2018 - 11:01 am

Just simply.. thanks for posting that… we are not alone.. and I like that… surrounded by friends and family that care is the best.. to get through a day without tears is a bonus. Sorry and thanks mate and also cheers.. you are a legend.. x x thoughts are always with you x

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Just A Dad April 13, 2018 - 11:03 am

Hope you’re doing ok Kez x

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Anonymous April 13, 2018 - 11:04 am

Just A Dad getting there. Taking every day as it comes.. as I imagine you do too.. Thanks mate x x

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Anonymous April 13, 2018 - 12:32 pm

♥️

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Anonymous April 13, 2018 - 2:02 pm

Brad McKenzie

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Anonymous April 13, 2018 - 11:57 pm

Hell yes!

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