How I beat the Black dog

I have long suffered from depression. It is, as has been said, a Black Dog that sits on your shoulder and whispers in your ear. It is sneaky, cunning and always manages to say all the things guaranteed to make you feel hopeless, helpless and horribly alone.

I have found that my time with the Black Dog is becoming less these days. Long may it last.

Some weeks ago, I wrote an article about gout and the agony that it brings. I know that, when it hits, I am in for a hell of a rough week or so. Unable to walk, sleep or leave the house….. going to the bathroom is a mammoth journey of sheer willpower and desperation.  When I got hit by the gout those weeks ago, I used two weapons in my arsenal: humour and writing about it.

SB wrote about it. That is a good start.

Sometimes, the old saying “ a problem shared is a problem halved “ does make a massive difference. Now it is time to bring in the BIG GUN.


14 years ago, I was extremely ill with cancer. I had a massive tumour in my kidney and the physical pain was intense and unrelenting. I was waiting for my surgery date and I had the Black Dog visit and he would not leave. I retreated into my cave and to my bed and listened to that Black Dog whisper in my ear that I was going to die.

One day, my daughter came up to my home. She told me that the kids were in the car and that they were off to a kid’s matinee to see a film. She added that I was going to join them.

I told her that I could not. I was too sick. Too depressed. Too much in pain. She told me to get dressed and sit in the movie theatre… it could hardly be more painful or more miserable than where I currently was. She would not take no for an answer.

I went. The movie was Hating Alison Ashley. I could not help myself… eventually, I started to smile and laugh and, in spite of my pain and depression, I came out of my cave.

There I was, at a kids matinee, surrounding my Mums and Dads and kids all laughing and munching popcorn, watching a silly little movie about a school camp and some eccentric teachers…. And I was rescued.

I have never watched the movie again. I doubt that I will. It could risk ruining a memory that, for me, was the turning point in my battle with cancer… the biggest Black Dog of them all.

I have subsequently learned to use humour as a tool to fight depression. It is hard sometimes to muster the energy to do something that would make me smile or laugh when I am low. But I do. Just as I did when confronted with  “ gots the gout again. “

That is why good comedy is so important in our lives today. I watched a film clip that made me laugh. It was about Brexit

Let us please save our cartoonists, our comics and our movies that make us laugh, smile or feel good. Maybe that is half the problem? There is not a lot to laugh about and we have to search for things to lighten the load.

And lighten the load is something we all have to do. Go and have a forage SB. Watch Mr Gormsby, Hunt for the Wilderpeople; catch an episode of Billy T. Have a laugh. Have a giggle. The Black Dog hates it when you laugh.

Laughter is, as the wise ones say “ The Best Medicine. “

r and r wow GIF