The worst thing about being perpetually hunted by the Black Dog is one never knows exactly what will excite him enough to come lunging at one’s throat. The day can be rotten to the core and dreary and yet you can somehow make it through unscathed if just a little blue or it can bright and sunny and you may not be thinking a thing in the world could possibly be wrong and the Black Dog jumps you seemingly out of nowhere, seizes you by the throat, shakes you like a Polaroid picture, drags you around, then drops you down a deep, cold, dark well.
Doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to depression attacks. Lots of times I’ll carefully go back over my steps and see if I can find a trigger. Sometimes it shows quickly. For example, certain songs will draw the Black Dog faster than huge anonymous donations draw politicians. I know most of those songs and avoid them like a collection agency. At times though, I’ve been known to seek them out. You know how it feels when you have a stomach bug, stomach flu, or alcohol overconsumpionits and your stomach announces its intentions to relieve itself of its contents forcefully, quickly, and in the near future? Some people fight the queasiness. They lay perfectly still or put cold rags on their heads trying to hold off the worship of the porcelain goddess. Others just embrace the puke. They’ll stick their finger down their throat and get it over with because it’ll be out of the way then and they can work on feeling better.
When it comes to songs, I’ve gone both ways. If I’m generally fit emotionally, I’ll run away from a song like “Simple Man” or “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)” faster than Paris Hilton chasing a paparazzo. Other times, however, when I’m already about half an inch from the fetal position, I’ll just say “screw it” and crank up “Tuesday’s Gone” or “Comfortably Numb” or, if I’m feeling seriously masochistic, “Love Bites.” Then the descent into the abyss can begin apace and I can plumb the depths of the funk. It’s sort of like whistling for the Black Dog to come to papa, but the idea behind it is sound. I figure if I can fall into a blackness hard enough and get moving downward fast enough, I’ll bounce when I hit the bottom of the well and get a higher purchase to start clawing my way back up.
In my experience, the worst kind of depression is the one that comes on gradually. It’s like being the victim in a horror show so intent on looking behind her she fails to see the Black Dog lying strategically in front of the well of sorrow and trips over him to fall slowly to the bottom. Then Chien Noir hops on into the well with you and makes sure you’re going to be there for a nice long time.
So tonight, I’m falling. It happens. It was worse when I was a teenager then in college because I didn’t fully grasp what was going on. I thought I was supposed to pet the Black Dog; I thought he was my boon companion. Amazing what drugs and therapy can do. I will say this though, back in the day when I wasn’t taking meds and self-medicated and played my own therapist, I could write a whole lot more and a whole lot better than I can now. I suppose that’s part of the reason all the greatest authors and comedians seem to have some kind of abuse in or around them. It’s a great muse, but she’s a needy, demanding little bitch too.
This doesn’t feel like it’s going to last a long time. I’ve actually been expecting the Black Dog to rise up at some point sooner or later because it’s October and in my life, most of the tragedy, pain, and outright craziness for some reason or other has managed to occur during October. I’ve said to people before that if Mama had died in October, I’d go to bed September 30th and get up on All Saints’ Day. Pretty much the only good thing I know of happening in October happened back in 1978 on October 27th when Deuce came screaming into the world. Other than that though, not so hot.
That’s the way it is here tonight. I’m typing with a Black Dog gnawing my leg. I’ve been here before. It didn’t help that I could hear the Woodmont High School football game through the trees in the front yard. Brought back too many memories too fast. Songs figured into it as well, as did some other stuff. Right now, things could go either way. If the Sun stays out tomorrow and I get out and soak up some vitamin D, I’ll probably kick ol’ Blackie in the chest and pull out of the mire. If it rains all day . . . well, we’ll see.
Anyway, it is what it is.
Love y’all and keep those feet clean!