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Be Wary Of The Black Dog 

6 May, 2020

I’ve said numerous times to people that being a depressive and falling from stability is harder to spot than if being an alcoholic or drug user.

Depression is within the mind and not that often are outward signs visible. In fact, even those suffering from depression do not always spot the signs.

Take this last fortnight. In real terms, it is more than likely longer than a fortnight, but let’s use two weeks as a starting point. After my breakdown I went into a high OCD mode, everything had to be spotless, and I mean spotless, the slightest fleck of dust had to be picked up.

Over the last two weeks, my standard of cleanliness had dropped. I flicked the duster about once. I was telling myself it was okay, you can deal with it tomorrow. Tomorrow came and went, as did a week and then two. I could see the dust, I could taste it, smell it and worse, I didn’t really care.

Luckily, and I say luckily I live with someone and they mentioned my standards were slipping…! Wow

I’d spent so much time writing and playing my beloved chess and pool during this period of lock-down that I’d actually started to slip between the cracks, the Black Dog was pining in my ear and I’d listened to it.

During this period of time, I’d also done a lot of work in the garden, nothing outstanding, painting the shed and fence, cutting the grass, some weeding. This along with my Fibromyalgia had kicked the pain levels much higher, I was on heavier painkillers and these had started eating into my health.

Signs

What are the signs of depression?

Ah, that is a toughie to answer, though the short answer is anything you’ve stopped doing that you normally do. For me, the key points are:

Cleaning
Artwork
Distractions (i.e. spending too much time gaming)
Medication (increased pain meds)
Keeping Busy
Writing (lack of)
Mood

To emphasise how depression seeps in, the four top points are those that were/ causing issues in my normal routine of dealing with my depression.

Having now seen the problem, action has been taken. Today I cleaned properly, dust is almost gone. I say almost for dust is in the air, you cannot eliminate it completely. I have also decided on an art project and am currently in planning for this. To remedy point three, gaming, that is where the artwork steps in, keeping me away from the computer.

I also decided I needed inspiration and I went out in the car for a long drive, enjoying the scenery of The Highlands, I also took my camera, getting myself some photographs on the way. This has reinvigorated my mood and I am feeling better.

Dealing with depressives is not easy. Asking them how they are is not necessarily the way forward, mainly because the answer is “yeah I’m fine”. Ask after them, point out a few issues you might notice, but be gentle, unless the person prefers the direct approach, but in general, being too forceful will alginate the depressive. It’s understanding we need, not a guilt trip, we do that by ourself.

Wrapping this post up, please, keep an eye out for all of your friends. In this time of so-called lock-down, many people are facing depressive moods. In many ways, long-term depressives have coping mechanisms that work and we can fall back on those when times are hard.

© BP Sheretan 06/05/2020