The black dog has got me

I realised at 4am yesterday morning that the black dog had got me. I had tried to avoid him by going for walks in the sun and by using various mental techniques I have used successfully for many years to lock my worries and fears away in a room in my mind.

I tried to do something about my lack of sleep as I knew that it was reducing my ability to cope. I tried everything – warm milk, cutting out caffeine, reading before lights out – and I would go to sleep but would then wake up way too early and be unable to go back to sleep. I tried sleeping tablets, which helped, but then I had to reduce them to quarter tabs as I couldn’t keep using them long term, and now, once again, I find myself working on the blog in the wee hours because I can’t go back to sleep.

I was last on antidepressants over 6 years ago, and I really, really wanted that to be the last time, as one of the side effects is horrible. However, I have got to the point where I have realised that it is simply not acceptable to be crying most days, to have no appetite for food, and to be making repeated silly errors in my work because I am asleep on my feet.

I have to do something about it and, while I really do not want to go back on them, I know from past use that they will enable me to function, and, touch wood, I will be able to sleep through the night.

The sad thing about antidepressants in my past experience of them is that while they take away the extreme lows of emotion they also take away the ability to feel joy and happiness. They put you into a zone that is like a straight line on a heart beat monitor. You are not alive and you are not dead; you are an emotional Zombie.

I am a practical person at heart though, and considering the occasional dark thoughts I have been having, I cannot do nothing. This option is far from ideal but it is always better to get help and be honest that you need it than to suffer in silence and risk things getting much worse.

Cam used to share his experiences with the black dog on the blog, and you all know that he battled his way through it, and I am proud of him for helping make it okay for men in particular to talk about it.

I hope that my sharing this with the Whaleoil family will make it okay for you all to talk about it too. The situation I found myself in 7 months ago when Cam had his stroke was overwhelming, and additional outside pressures have put a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. I am only human but it will not break me. Antidepressants are a short-term solution that will enable me to survive this particularly difficult period of my life.

Once it is over then I will get myself off them as I have successfully done previously.

I have a black sense of humour, and I like to joke that sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a train that is about to run you down. I know what I need to do. I am currently on a collision course with a train. I need to get off the train tracks.