The Black Dog……………then and now

When I started this Blog I determined that it would not only be about my attempts at creativity but about my determined, lifelong and tortuous  journey to get to this place – the happiest I’ve been in many years; and what I’ve discovered about myself along the way.

From the bleak title you will see that I’ve been the victim of depression on and off for much of my life – from earliest memories of living with relatives who clearly grew tired of me the moment I left the cute, toddler stage and began to develop a personality – to being literally chucked out of  ‘ home’ at fourteen because of an abusing Uncle’s attentions to go and live with my parents and brothers who were strangers to me – to being effectively being made homeless when my Mother left for somewhere unknown to me at that time and my Father turning me away at the door – to being attracted to abusing men – to spending 15 years married to one – to having a poor son who developed drug induced schizophrenia – to being bullied mercilessly by neighbours so that I had to be rehomed – and more incidents too distressing to relive even in my mind –

This retrospective is prompted by a couple of recent occurences which have made a couple of much worked and longed-for events a total nightmare of such proportions that I was actually physically sick a couple of nights ago and continue to be much more distressed than a person without such depressive issues would be – luckily I have my lovely and supportive daughter with me – but many are not so lucky.

Now – when I am in the grip of the Black Dog not only can I not function properly but this hard fought-for and welcome creativity which has been repressed for so long disappears. This is my life now. I love the way I live, I love my friends, my family, my animals, my Art – so I ask myself what I can do to minimise such episodes – what have I learned from these recent experiences which I thought were a thing of the past – and what have I noticed about the people I associate with who are so negative towards me?

Well, first off I realise that I am still very naive when I comes to dealing with other people – I take everyone at face value and if I’m nice to them I expect them to reciprocate: but everyone has their own agenda and I have frequently observed that people whom I have supported in the past will discard my friendship if they feel I am no longer of any use to them e.g. when they want to impress someone who may have an issue with me who can do more for them. Recently a girl whom I considered a friend made me wait for over 30 minutes outside her studio while she had coffee downstairs with a group of people who were clearly more advantageous to her than I was…..and then tried to make me feel guilty by saying ‘you should have told me you were in a hurry’……….

Secondly I realise that I’m a bit more up-front than most women are – I chose to bring my children up single-handedly  from a very early age – I had no parents to help support me and if I didn’t fight my corner then I was taken advantage of,  big time. I also like to think I have a well developed sense of justice and will speak up when others will stay silent because it isn’t happening to them. I will say what I think but try to phrase it in a non-personal way – in a chap it would be considered straight-talking, assertive, strong, admirable, honest – but in a girl it is perceived as aggressive, augmentative, confrontational – why is that by the way……?

Thirdly – I need to guard my health, my new life and my creativity jealously as I am in what is kindly called the Third Age and I fully intend to make the very most of the time I have left which means distancing myself from any negative situation, bullying people, stress or disadvantage and to find a way to promote my Art successfully by other means.

This post is not a cry for sympathy or a complaint about the way I have been treated in the past – just a wee heads-up to those going through similar that you CAN overcome depression, you don’t have to be anybody’s whipping boy, you don’t have to like everybody and not everybody will like you – it’s more than OK to say no – but you need to build certain barriers round yourself to keep yourself safe and, despite what folks tell you and your mind believes –  it’s NOT always your fault……xxxxxxx


8 thoughts on “The Black Dog……………then and now

  1. This is a brave and beautiful post that resonates with me, greatly. I do find that when I am in a bad space emotionally, my own creativity flatlines. Lately I have been starting to write or thinking about writing (from fiction to poetry to blog essays) and an idea flares up, i think “WOOO!”, then it kind of loses its shine and I then think, “Meh…” and don’t go any further. It’s upsetting to think that it may even be gone for good, but experience suggests it is not.
    You’re a fab lady and I am glad to know you. xx

    • Hi Viv, bless you lovely lady – I’ve just become so fed up with myself – it seems like the slightest excuse in my stupid head and I go into victim mode and give up creating stuff – like you it’s impossible for me to be creative when depressed so – I need to manage myself so I don’t become depressed – and if that means leaving negative peeps behind so be it -we are not responsible for other people’s problems – if they project them onto us for whatever reason – we walk……xxxxxx

    • Morning Sue – love your Blog – and your work – are you near to me in Nenthead – I’m stewarding at Lanercost Thursday, Saturday and Monday this week-end if you’re around it would be great to see you – and some of your work – have a good Wednesday x

  2. Thank you for your post. It really, really resonated with me. Like you I was recently on the receiving end of some appalling treatment by my former employer. And like you, with the exception of one lovely soul, NO ONE there supported me in any way, not in any meaningful way, too frightened of what they would lose.

    Also like you the black dog comes visiting and it wasn’t until this happened that I fully appreciated how I had cut myself off from those who were my real friends. They all welcomed me back with open arms and I was humbled.

    When I struggle with the aftermath of what happened to me I remind myself that several good things came out of that time. I have the makings of a potentially thriving business, I have returned afresh to what makes me happy – being creative, I rediscovered old friends and I found new ones, you being one of them.

    Thank you for your brave post. I wish I had the courage to do the same at the time.

    • Hi Carol – thank you for your support – you are so right about people turning a blind eye when it’s in their interests to do so – but, like you, I am pleased with how it’s all turned out – as I realise it’s not healthy for me to subject myself to this negativity because it stifles my creativity. I’m so looking forward to starting your wonderful course on 3rd which will give me fresh ideas on how to approach Galleries etc. with a professionalism which I have found seriously lacking so far in my dealings locally – I am grateful to you for sharing your expertise…..

      People just don’t seem to be objective when you dare to put forward a different viewpoint to theirs – they take it personally when it was never meant to be so – even though they are taking your hard earned money from you at the same time – you’re just supposed to pay up and shut up!!!! Unless you are part of the inner sanctum which apparently entitles you to special privileges.

      Then of course there is the ‘spin’ which must be employed far and wide to validate the bullies ‘out of order’ actions designed to put the blame firmly on the shoulders of the blameless – which is mopped up by the herd even though they know full well that this is a tactic and why it is employed –

      I’m just so sick of it – time to move firmly on and try other avenues – xx

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