Black Dog

As the days have grown grayer and shorter, the usual downward shift in my mood has set in and I am once again under the influence of Winston Churchill’s black dog, AKA depression. It’s not a bad one, and there are extenuating circumstances that make it entirely understandable, e.g. the stress of watching my husband’s health decline and the fact that my oldest daughter and her family are moving far away from us. Add to that the recent discontinuation of prednisone that I was given to combat my asthma, and I’m a bit of a mess.

But this is nothing compared with what I went through last year at this time.  I remember with utter clarity how close I came to giving up then. Gruesome fantasies played themselves out over and over again in my mind’s eye; even though I never actually went into the bedroom to get the gun, I imagined what it would feel like to hold it in my hand, look down the barrel, then caress my temple and my chest with the cold gray steel, wondering where I should place what I hoped would be the fatal shot. The alternative scenario was where I would gobble down as many Ativan as my stomach would hold and slip away quietly, without making a mess for my family to find or waking up in the ICU with tubes up my nose and down my throat.

If those mental images scare you, join the club. They scared the hell out of me too.

Thankfully this story had a happy ending. And as strange and ugly as life can be sometimes, I have no desire whatsoever to leave it. Last fall I was cold and scared and on the verge of homelessness; this year I am warm and fed and I know where I’ll be spending the winter. The possibility that I may spend it without my husband is what worries me…Will is not doing well at all and he may not be able to make the trip next month. And of course if he’s too sick to go, I’m not going either. This makes it hard to anticipate the vacation with any excitement. Part of me knows he’s hanging on for it, so I say nothing to him of my worries; he doesn’t need my negative energies. But I notice the small things that whisper of the coming changes…the increased amount of time he spends sleeping; the frequent nausea and vomiting; the fact that he hasn’t even touched his beloved models in over a month.

So yeah, I’m a little depressed. And this time I’m prepared to tell Dr. Awesomesauce if I need help. None of this “it’s only situational” nonsense—if I even start that stinkin’ thinkin’ again, I’ll be on the phone. I don’t want another hospital stay. I don’t want to feel like I did a year ago ever again. It’s expected, and even okay for the black dog to visit for a little while, but he’s not going to take up residence. I promise.

Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

6 thoughts on “Black Dog

  1. So so sorry. I send you and Will my love and keep you both in my prayers. Good to hear that you will not dismiss your growing grief as situational, and that you realize circumstances will likely trigger deepened depression. Understandable depression, but depression nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I pray for you daily and think of you often. Yes, see that doctor as often as needed. I find that situational depression can get to be the other kind fast. Many, many hugs. I sure hope Will is able to make the trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m thinking of you and Will. I appreciate your updates; you are an inspiration to me as I try to learn to live more in the present and let go of things that need it.

    Liked by 1 person

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