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Sunday, May 22, 2011

That Dang Black Dog

The majority of the posts on this blog are related in one way or another to addiction and the fact I was sexually assaulted at age 12. Naturally there were a slew or emotional and psychological issues as a result of this events taking place in my life.

One of the then psychological and emotional issues that I have dealt with as long as I can remember is Depression. I borrowed a phrase that Winston Churchill used to describe his bouts of Depression: My Black Dog. I have referred to my "downer" moods in general as "My Black Dog" for years now and it's a fitting nickname.

I'll freely admit I have not done much study or research on Clinical Depression. I just know what I was told while I was in the Hospital after my suicide attempt and what I have just picked up over the years. I know to this day I struggle w/Depression. And I can sense that Black Dog almost all the time, it just effects me differently each day.

It's not always a powerful, negative feeling of sadness like I thought Depression is supposed to be. Other times, it most certainly is. I can be having a typical day, getting things accomplished, feeling really good physically and just having a darn good day...and the bottom drops out. I feel instantly like all the dogs that I have loved and owned in the past all died at's a very powerful negative feeling.

I really believed when I got sober and more comfortable with my sobriety, living a different kind of lifestyle that I would not feel depressed anymore. I was woefully a lot of ways those feelings associated w/Depression got worse, much more intense and harder for me to understand and deal with. Being sober took my method of coping away: Drinking/drugging to oblivion!

Today I do not treat my Depression with medication. Don't get me wrong, I have taken anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and other psychiatric medications while I was in recovery and there is nothing wrong with doing so as long as you take them as prescribed. I made a choice at about 9 months sober to get off the Meds and try to live a spiritual based life and see how that impacted the Black Dog. That has proven to be the appropriate and correct choice for me....

Awareness, meditation and my spiritual beliefs, FOR ME (and me alone, this is my personal CHOICE) have provided me with a level of consciousness and awareness that I am able to live with my Depression but it takes a lot of hard work to keep things on an even keel....

This blog is part of that process actually because sharing how I am is critical to my well being. If I begin to isolate from others, I am in big trouble. That is just a well proven fact for me and I now know it. As long as I'm am interacting and sharing with others and working my recovery program of service plus living a spiritual life, I do pretty well.

I have low times, no doubt about it but I have learned that I cannot wallow in those seriously negative feelings. I also avoid the spikes in my emotional condition where I am too UP, too happy, too cheerful and not realistic with whats going on in life. Again experience has been a hard teacher: whenever I get too HIGH emotionally, reality will often insert itself into my consciousness and I will CRASH, hard. And that is dangerous for a recovering addict/ me I see people with years sober go out one night and drink/drug themselves into a very negative situation. They use and sometimes before they find their way back to sobriety they DIE. It's happened to several people I was close to just in the last 3 years.

That is what failure to stay in recovery can bring an addict: DEATH. So I have to always be on my toes and be aware...Awareness is critically important to this lifestyle as is honesty, openness and willingness to change of course.

I freely admit that discussing this subject and some others makes me nervous because I fear that someone will read it and think to themselves: "thormoo stopped taking his Meds, I'm going to as well"...and then they go and hurt themselves or others.

What I write here applies to me and me alone. Perhaps an idea may work for someone else and they try it and it works, that's great. But I am in no way saying that my way is the only way. It is NOT, it works for me. When I went off my Meds, I did so with input from my therapist, my doctor and the Psychiatrists who prescribed the medications to me in the first place and diagnosed me in the hospital. We were all in agreement that I needed to try and treat the addiction first with complete abstinence and then we would react from there is meds might be needed to help with anxiety or depression, etc. We never saw the need for them...

I had all those people helping me find the right way to pursue my goal...and the transition was a bitch, let me tell you. I didn't know what to do with myself. I was so fidgety and full of energy, I couldn't sit still, I couldn't sleep and I seriously contemplated taking drugs and drinking on a couple of occasions but I managed to make it through those tough times....and remember I was still in active therapy twice a week at the time.

So today it's OK but I do have my moments. For me at this point in my life, what happened to me today is typical. I'm feeling fine, going about my business and all of a sudden as I'm taking a walk around the island, I am completely overwhelmed with sadness. I didn't think I was going to be able to walk home...I meditate/prayed as I walk, asking my Creator to guide me in whatever way he sees fit and I just try to think positive thoughts and let feelings i was having just flow through me and it slowly diminished until I felt OK again.

That was a fairly minor situation for me but enough to get my attention and it would have been dangerous enough for me in the past to really screw me up. Today, openness an honesty usually prevail and it worked out that way today as well...

I really am going to try and encourage readers to please feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, feeling, suggestions and ideas, etc here in the comments section. If any one would like to guest post I would be open to posting it here on the blog if it fits in to the general vibe of this blog. It's a pretty wide spectrum of acceptance so don't worry...