I Have a Black Dog His Name is Depression

I Have a Black Dog His Name is Depression, And You?

I Have a Black Dog His Name Is Depression

Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness.  When you have chronic, or major depression, normal live disappears.

Watch this short video written and illustrated by Matthew Johnstone, in collaboration with WHO to mark World Mental Health Day. In this film, Matthew talks about overcoming the “black dog of depression”.

Published on Oct 2, 2012

I Have a Black Dog His Name Is Depression

Depression can be a frightening, debilitating condition. Millions of people around the world live with depression. Many of these individuals and their families are afraid to talk about their struggles, and don’t know where to turn for help.  Recognizing depression and seeking help is the first and most critical towards recovery.

Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness.

MY Personal Experience – My Black Dog Named Depression

I share this with you today because I suffer from major, chronic depression, and have had to deal with this my whole life.  I Have a Black Dog His Name is Depression A lot of people do not understand this, nor do they understand that I can’t just “snap out of it.”  Even on good days, it is still always there, simmering below the surface.  People say happiness is a decision, and I understand that … I even agree with it.  But I also have to say, “I wish it were that easy for me.”  I envy those who can be happy simply because they have decided to be happy.  Oh, to experience the pleasure of that …

I was diagnosed with Major depressive disorder, or major depression, almost 20 years ago.  This type of depression is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally. Some people may experience only a single episode within their lifetime, but more often a person may have multiple episodes.

Now, I don’t go around moping around day in and day out.  I don’t walk around hating the world.  In fact, if you didn’t know the truth of it, you wouldn’t even know that I suffer.  But I do take medication and probably will for the rest of my life.  If I don’t?  My problems get much more serious, in a VERY fast and scary downward spiral.  It’s not all in my head.  It’s not because “something happened.”  It is a physical disorder that can be measured, and it is genetic.  Just ask my siblings.

I Have a Black Dog His Name is Depression

My Black Dog Has Reared its Ugly Head Today

I said earlier that I am writing this today because I suffer from this disease, but what I should have said is that I am writing this today because I cannot find anything else that even vaguely interests me to write about.  There is no funny video, no laughing baby, no cute puppies … no loving story, no interesting tidbit of information that can move me out of my doldrums today.

In other words, I’m having a bad day.  It happens.  All I can do at this point is wait it out.  Tomorrow should be a better day.  😉

I asked for suggestions on Facebook on what I should write about, and a friend suggested I write about how I feel.  Perfect.  Especially considering he didn’t know how I was feeling.  So here I am, writing about my black dog.

At this point in my writing, I’m asking myself if I should go on, if I should keep describing what it is like to have a depressive disorder.  Maybe you don’t want to hear it.  Maybe you do.  Every now and then I run into someone that needs to hear, for whatever reasons of their own.  

You tell me, please, in your comments below.

For more information about Depression check out National Institute of Mental Health

To get help, go to WebMD, Depression Help Center


I hope you have learned something from “I Have a Black Dog His Name is Depression

MY QUESTION FOR YOU TODAY:  Your thoughts?  Can you relate?

You might also like to read, How Nervous Illness Can Bring About Other Diseases, Anxiety, Depression

*** Please leave a comment below and remember to share. ***

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As always, thank you for taking the time to visit my blog.

Jeanne Melanson



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Jeanne Melanson

Owner at Animal Bliss
Born in Nova Scotia, I moved to the United States 20+ years ago.I am a dedicated lover of animals and fight for their rights and protection.I love people too, of course, and enjoy meeting folks from all walks of life.I enjoy philosophical discussion, laughing, and really odd ball stuff.I hope you enjoy my site.Leave me a comment to let me know you were here!Peace out.
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48 thoughts on “I Have a Black Dog His Name is Depression, And You?

  1. I loved your post! And by ALL MEANS, keep on writing about it! If it helps just ONE person, it will be worth it.

    I believe that I DO suffer from some sort of depression. However, when you are unemployed and have no insurance, it is SO hard to get the help you need.

  2. Great post, Jeanne! And man, can I relate! Like most members of my family (including extended), I also suffer from lifelong/chronic depression. Luckily, I first sought treatment at a pretty early age and my meds have literally saved my life (more than once!!)! Because I have done lots of research on the subject, I know, like you, that I HAVE to take my meds, most likely for the rest of my life. Some people are lucky and just have one or a few episodes of depression in their life, but for people like us, it’s a physical and genetic condition, as you say. We are wired differently–our neurotransmitter levels (predominantly serotonin and dopamine) and functioning are essentially all f*cked up! Some people just don’t believe in meds, but that’s just ignorance and stupidity, in my opinion. I mean, would you only treat a diabetic with insulin for a few months? No, because then she/he would probably DIE! Well it’s the same for all legitimate physiological disease, including “mental illness,” a term with stigma built right in, don’t you think? Ok, enough venting–sorry about that! Have a better day tomorrow! 😀 xo
    Asia recently posted…10 Reasons Annapolis, Maryland Is the ULTIMATE Dog-Friendly CityMy Profile

  3. Thank you for writing about a topic our society is afraid to talk about. So many people think we can control our lives and blame us if we can’t. Depression is a chemical problem in the body that effects the brain. I have had it for 45 years. It runs in my family from grandparents aunts uncles cousins etc. It was not learned. Even relatives who grew up away from us had it. Right now my youngest son is battling it. That has been the hardest part of depression for me-seeing his suffering! Recently I went through a weight loss program that balanced my hormones and detoxed me. I lost 35 lbs that I’ve been carrying for 25 years. I found that eliminating all sugars and simple carbs was making a huge difference. I even started a jogging/sprinting/ walking program. I felt amazing. Then I wound up in the hospital for a stomach ailment. Pain meds and illness brought it back on. Like one of your readers I too took on meditation, and staying away from people who are toxic to me. It still simmers below the surface. I’ve had a fantastic counselor who recently retired. I’ve explained to my son that he has a brother with asthma-he has to manage it, he has a brother with ADHD-he has to manage it and he has a brother with joint type issues (knee shoulders) he has to manage it We have to learn to manage this by taking care of ourselves in a big way mental, physical, spiritual etc. It’s a life long thing. But I know when I am in a room with people who are supposedly not depressed they claim to be happy I seem to have the heartiest most genuine laugh. So who is to say who is really happier?

    • That’s quite a testimony, Rosanne. Clinical depression runs in my family as well, and I have a brother who is manic depressive. It’s really awful. Like you say, it’s always simmering just below the surface. I truly don’t know what real happiness feels like because what happiness I have is medication-induced. People will never understand they suffer from it as well. A lot of us suffer in silence. All the best to you and your family, Rosanne. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and leave a comment too. Peace.

  4. Hi Jeanne,

    I applaud you for your honesty. It takes a special person to talk about such a sensitive topic. You are in my prayers. We all have been there and some have not gained the courage you have to speak about it. I am sure you have helped many with this post. I thank you so much for sharing.
    Nathaniel Kidd recently posted…Save Money on Your Grocery Bill Without CouponsMy Profile

    • Thank you for your comment, Nathaniel. I honestly don’t know how to help people in this same situation, except that it helps A LOT to know that you’re not alone. There is someone who understands. Peace!

  5. In my younger days, I battled a lot of depression. It’s so difficult what you are facing but you’re doing everything you can and sharing your story can only help others as well and they know they are not alone.
    Salma recently posted…Getting CreativeMy Profile

    • Thank you, Carolyn. Yes gaining understanding of self is so important, especially when inflicted with this horrible disease. I went years and years without knowing that there was a physical, chemical explanation for it. It needs to be talked about and people need to know that there is help out there. Take care!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Jacs. I know that sometimes people just need to know that they’re not alone. That’s why I share. I’m glad you stopped by and hope you’ll come again. Peace.

  6. I take the black dog for a walk quite often and I know the pain of those who don’t understand or refuse to understand that those with depression can’t just snap out of it. One thing that helped me tremendously was gaining a better understanding of myself. Before I understood that I was introverted I tried to force myself to be an extrovert and each time I failed I got more depressed. I now understand that my introversion is a part of me just like my eye color. It’s natural and nothing to be ashamed of.

    I hope you get your black dog to sit, heel, stay!

    • Awesome feedback, Nicole, although I’m sorry to hear that your black dog is so active. As for being introverted, I’m so glad that you realized that there’s nothing wrong with that. It must have been awful trying to force yourself to be otherwise. Being an introvert simply makes us deeper people. More introspective is good. I love being an introvert, love being alone. Thank you for visiting. I know it’s your first time here. Please come again, okay?

  7. Hi Jeanne, I saw your link over on G+. I’m popping in to cheer you on and give a virtual hug.

    I have a black dog. He is on a chain and in his kennel. I’m fortunate that the last 2 years or so he hasn’t taken over my life although I am aware he’s still there lurking. That’s not to say he doesn’t try and escape sometimes, but I’m on to him!

    I won’t say I “suffer” from depression. If it wasn’t for my depression, I wouldn’t have walked from my job and wouldn’t be doing what I do now.

    Until someone experiences depression – true depression, not just a down day or so, they can never understand just how debilitating it really is. I rarely left the house for over 2 years. Getting up in the morning and getting a shower was like climbing a mountain some days. In fact I’d lose days, even weeks, when I just didn’t bother.

    Oddly, meds made me worse. I felt nothing, I cared for nothing. Everyday…

    I made the decision to not change the meds (again) and just stop. It’s not something I recommend, no meds isn’t the right path for everyone. I personally would rather feel something than nothing at all – even if that “something” was total despair sometimes.

    Depression is a journey – I wish you all the best on yours. One day you will find your own way of keeping that black dog in his kennel most of the time.
    Jan Kearney recently posted…Combat WordPress Comment Spam (Akismet Alternative)My Profile

    • I absolutely love this comment. You should write your own article about it. (Or guest post on mine!) Thank you so much for stopping by and giving me that virtual hug. I do feel better today and appreciate all the comments I’ve gotten so much. It is true that unless you have experienced this total, debilitating depression, you have no idea what it’s like. It’s impossible to know and impossible to describe. I love your support and do really hope that you’ll come back again for another visit. Peace to you.

  8. Hey Jeanne,

    It’s not like my opinion matters as I am a young lad, I didn’t know you had such a disease and I am sorry to hear that. I don’t even know what to comment, but this wad definitely an interesting read even for a young lad like me.

    • Yes, nipping it in the bud is very important, Sophie. I do that too, try to turn things around. Usually I succeed, sometimes I don’t. I’m glad you came by for a visit and took the time to leave a comment too! Peace.

  9. I suffer from depression too. Even take medication for it,but if you ask my partner what’s wrong with me — he will respond “nothing” that I can see. She is fine.

    That’s the problem with depression – most people don’t understand it (even when you explain how it works) because they have never experienced it at a level we fight with every single day.

    Here’s to hoping your mood (and day) improve!
    Bonnie Gean recently posted…Video Blogging Challenge – Day #20My Profile

    • Bonnie, I can relate to what you’re saying exactly. No one in the whole wide world can understand, unless they experience it too. It’s frustrating to hear people tell me, or anyone else, to just change this or change that. They don’t understand how many times we have tried this and tried that. It’s not a matter of moving to a different place, or changing your job or hairstyle. It’s much deeper than that. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience on this, Bonnie. Kindred souls. Peace

  10. I am sorry you had to go through that today sweetie, I didn’t realize it until I read this. I knew that you were experiencing lots of pain in your back, shoulders, neck, and head, but I was to self absorbed in material matters to see your plight. I am sorry Jeannie, I need to be more observant. I know you deal with depression each and every day and I don’t know what to do to help you, it is exasperating! I will do better. I love you baby. Jon

  11. Hi Jeanne
    Thank you for sharing such a personal thing. I could totally relate to ”happiness being a choice,” and wishing it was that easy. I too, have suffered with feelings of depression for a lot of my life. I have done a lot to keep it at bay, but I do feel on some level my brain is a bit ”broken,” and I will always be contending with this ”darkness.” Be strong and keep doing what you are doing. Speaking your truth will inspire others to do the same and not hide in shame.
    Kelli recently posted…3 Tips for Purifying Your Mental DietMy Profile

    • Kelli, I had a feeling that you would be able to relate and understand this as well. I fully understand what you’re saying about feeling that your brain is broken and that you will always content with this darkness. That is the way it is for us. We can’t just fix that. A chemical imbalance is a chemical imbalance.

      Deciding to be happy instead … I don’t even know what that would feel like. My ‘happiness’ now is based on my medication. I have no idea what true happiness feels like on a deeper level. I’ve never felt it.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thought on this, Kelli. I truly appreciate it. Peace

  12. Sending my positive energy Jeanne 🙂 I know how tough being depressed can feel.

    I was depressed for many of my 39 years on earth.

    I conquered it by:

    – Spending time with high energy people
    – Chasing my dreams
    – Letting go all old ways of living
    – Letting go negative influences
    – Meditating
    – Embracing uncomfortable situations

    My depression was cloaked in comfort, and in resisting change. When I dived into my new, freeing, but sometimes scary way of living(going broke, having 4 cents, but setting the framework to travel the world, what I’m doing now), I became more of who I really am, which is unlimited awareness, unchecked, totally immune to the feelings which are its objects 😉

    Hope this helps buddy 🙂

  13. I have a black dog too! I’m so glad that you aren’t in denial and take your meds. I hope tomorrow is better. Sometimes when we wake up it just is 🙂 Keep me (us) posted <3

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