Tag Archives: black dog

Way Down A Hole

Anybody seen a white rabbit? Neo? Morpheus? Courtney Love? Anybody?

Anybody seen a white rabbit? Neo? Morpheus? Courtney Love? Anybody?

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!

Wasn’t Always Like This


Oh, don’t worry . . . . I’m not going anywhere, LOL.
I’ll be around for a long, long time yet!

I haven’t written much in several months about my fights with the old black dog, but he has hung around the entire time nonetheless. This last month or so has been one spectacular fang and claw deathmatch after another and today hasn’t really been an exception. I came perilously close to a complete and utter melt-down in my local Bi-Lo today after the bank teller wouldn’t cash the check Mama gave me to replace what I’d used to buy a radiator for Rob’s truck so none of us would have to make umpteen trips back and forth to Simpsonville burning $3.33 a gallon gas.

The whole thing seemed simple enough. I bought the part and took to Rob when I picked Mama up for her doctor’s appointment. Mama gave me the check, the truck was fixed, I went to cash the check because it was after 1:00 and SunTrust Bank — which used to be CCB, which used to be American Federal, which used to be Southern Savings and Loan — holds any funds deposited after 1:00 until the next business day, UNLESS you deposit the funds in a “grocery store branch” in which case they hold the funds TWO business days. You can get around this rule by cashing a check and depositing the cash. If you do that, the funds are available immediately.

So that was the plan, but it didn’t work because the new “assistant branch manager” of something that technically isn’t a branch wouldn’t cash the check because I didn’t have enough funds in the account to cover the check and she didn’t care that the reason I didn’t have enough funds was because of the parts I had bought for which I’d been reimbursed by the check in her hand.

I just didn’t need this today because it’s already been a bad week. I felt the top of my head float away like it does at times like this and I strangled my words to keep from saying what I really wanted to say. I deposited the check and picked up some stuff for supper, went back to the counter and DIDN’T bite back what I’d wanted to say after all. Then left as she was doing that sickeningly sweet “hope you have a nice week, sir” to my back.

I just walked on when what I really wanted to do was whirl around and say, “No you don’t. You think I’m an asshole — mostly because I am — and you couldn’t care less if I win the lottery or die of an onslaught of necrotizing fascitis; in fact, if I were killed by a lightening strike in the parking lot seconds from now, you’d probably point to my demise as proof of divine justice being real and immediate and dance a little jig around my smoking corpse.”

But I didn’t because I was too angry and not at her but at me. Once upon a time, I didn’t live like this. Once upon a time, a little thing like this wouldn’t have held me up for a minute and I’d probably had something witty to say and we’d all have just laughed it off. Not anymore. Incidents like this cause a fury to engulf my emotions that I can’t really adequately describe.

Let me try to analogize. If you’ve ever had a very sore finger — severely jammed or even broken — you know that finger seems to become a magnet for door jambs, counter tops, and jumping dogs. No matter how hard you try, that finger gets bumped and banged and every time it does, the pain shoots through the finger and up your arm to explode behind your eyes in a rainbow of agony. Well, mostly lately my entire being is that sore finger. I find myself in a rage or else near to tears for absolutely no apparent reason. Sometimes, there’s no reason at all, apparent or otherwise.

Stress makes it worse which is even more infuriating to me because, once upon a time, I could eat stress for breakfast. I had adapted to the point that I thrived on stress and last minute stuff. Somewhere along the line, though, and I’ve pinpointed it to about nine months after I was fired from my high school teaching job ten years ago, I lost the stress handling mechanism and now, stress of any kind sends me into the stratosphere to paralyze me with anger or apathy depending on the caprice of the black dog’s whim. It’s gotten to the point that I just want to stay home and a lot of the time, that’s exactly what I do.

Truthfully? This mess just isn’t much fun anymore.