Black Dog Called Depression.

Day 35 -Lent Challenge – Lead

This blog is acknowledging my life living with the Black dog called depression. The Black dog is not mine, it’s attached its self to my husband. It lives with us and is part of us. It’s real. That’s why it’s included in my 40 blogs.
I have written two stories, both true. For those that have not lived or cared for someone with depression, I hope this helps gives you some understanding as to what life can be like.

Recently some friends brought a puppy. It was a very much loved new member of their family. This golden ball of fluff arrived in their lives looking and acting like the perfect family pet.
He’s such a funny little character loved and enjoyed by everyone that visits them. When the family are at home he’s a joy. As soon they all get ready to leave him at home on his own things start to take a turn for the worse.
He gets anxious paces and makes funny noises. As the getting ready in the morning intensifies so does his levels of anxiety increase. Tension starts to rise between dog and owner.
When eventually they leave him in the quietness of the house he does what all young dogs do.
He’s chewed what he can. Pooed where he should not, and generally gets into terrible trouble.
The owners soon realise the dog’s behaviour cannot continue.They see their short-sightedness in buying a puppy and working full time. They love this dog and want to do all they can to relive its stress and anxiety. They arrange a dog sitter, friends and family help when they can. Dog sitting on evenings and on weekends so everyone had a good quality of life including the puppy. They consult an animal behaviourist. Learn signs of anxiety and take steps to eliminate them.They add routine to their day. Giving the puppy space to explore and play.
They no longer fear coming home. They no longer dread opening the front door.
They never blamed the dog for its behaviour they understood the reasons behind the behaviour and addressed them.

Reading the above story nothing surprises us. We know and understand that leaving a puppy alone for long periods of time is not good for dog or owner. With love time and patience they grow up and become the family pet we hoped and dreamed of.

I am going to tell you the story of the Black dog ( depression ) that lives with us.

24 years ago I feel deeply in love and married my husband. I walked down the aisle a young bride looking forward to married life. We looked the perfect couple. Young happy and in love.
The Black dog ( depression ) joined our family- it becomes attached to my husband. To start with it was more of a nuisance than a problem. With a few simple changes, it was manageable.
We learned to live with it. As we got older the dog grew up and got bigger. It would become a nuisance, causing embarrassment and upset.
It becomes so big that it forgets its manners, being rude, snapping and growling at all those who came near him/ us.
The tension in the house caused more snapping and growling. Going out without the dog become harder and harder.
We seek professional help. The Black dog refuses to go. The more tension I put on its lead. The more it bites and refuses to do even the basic tasks. The Black dog has imprisoned us in our own home. It refuses help. When the dog finally shows weakness, the help that we receive is difficult. The services are busy and overworked. They don’t have time to see past the growling. Each appointment we see someone new. This causes defence behaviour that looks aggressive.
Our friends stop visiting us. Why would they want to spend time with a dog that does not want to engage with them? A dog that does not wag it’s tail. A dog that does not play.
The hardest part for me is leaving the Black dog home alone with my husband. I fear what it will do. I fear it will take away my husband, that it will totally consume him to the point of no return. I fear its greed will be to much for my husband to cope with.
I fear opening the door. I dread coming home to the quietness of the house not knowing what it’s done when I am out.

The trouble with the Black dog it’s invisible. It’s not an imaginary dog it’s real. Because people don’t see it they fail to understand. I don’t blame them, but many blame and judge my husband. They see the behaviours but lack understanding.

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So how do I cope?
Pray
Prayer is my biggest way of coping. I pray when the Black dog is sleeping. I hold my husband first thing in the morning and pray. When it’s bedtime again I hold my husband and pray until God holds my exhausted words until sleep takes me too .
I pray that we can put a “lead” on the Black Dog. That it can be managed, disciplined and controlled.

Gratitude.
It’s being grateful for the little things and thanking God. It’s the littlest things that give hope; a hug, a smile, positive conversations.

Love .
Being honest and open to those that love us. That honesty also has to be respectful to my husband. I have friends that know and understand that life is hard. It’s so important for me to have a couple of special friends that I can trust. These friends are good listeners, they don’t judge. They love us and pray for us.

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Sharing Pain.

Day Five – Lent Challenge 2018 – Receive.

Today’s Lent challenge word is “receive and I chose to share and say thank you a wonderful person  that has helped me in many ways. This Person helped me realise it’s ok to receive/ask for help.
When life gets tough it’s easy to pretend everything is fine. Pull away from those that we love and quietly fall apart.
I used to think “ I can do this on my on my own”. Why would burden and expose others to my pain? Why share the pain? It seemed selfish to offload my pain onto others.

The reality has God created us with a need for help. Asking for help isn’t admitting failure or a sign of weakness. It’s recognising the way God made us.
This means our need for help is not shameful, or equal to failure. God built into us a need for help from the very beginning.
Learning to reach out to others has given me the strength.  It’s ok to receive help and admit the truth that I cannot do this alone. I can turn to my friends. I can cry out to God.
I can ask for help and prayers. In doing so I have formed friendships and realised their is strength is asking for help.
We are week unable to survive alone. God is strong and with his grace and help, we can do what might seem impossible.
So Thank You for helping me break the isolation of thinking I can do this on my own.

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Galatians 6:2 Good News Translation (GNT)

 Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.

I love Because Its The Only Way Forward.

My head is clear and the need to cry has almost gone. I can concentrate on work pray without sleeping and feel truly blessed to be alive and live in this beautiful word and follow Jesus.
I feel so calm and ready to move forward, amazed at the changes in myself and they are all positive.
Grief is a roller coaster and I might just be on a up, I do feel it’s more than just a up before the down.
But I only have to look a few feet away and the changes in my husband are not so positive and the depression and situation is taking its negative toll.
He is so angry inside and full of negative thoughts. He wants to blame an individual the hate he feels is so strong.
He can seem positive and at times over excitable and irrational. But he is on a roller coaster of emotions often saying hurtful things without knowing it or caring. The nightmares the panic he experiences are so powerful at times he wants to end his life as the pain is just to much to cope with.
He can’t understand why I won’t be angry. His mind is controlled by his depression which leaves little room for faith and love .
Having Gods beautiful unconditional love is the reason I function and will continue to love and pray and not be destroyed by past events.
I feel so under skilled to help my lovely man. I will of course love him and pray for him but feel so helpless and have so little understanding helping someone with mental health issues .

Romans 5:4 – perseverance, character; and character, hope.

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Lost Art Of Conversation.

When my world feel apart and I was distraught I spent over 24 hours alone crying shaking and confused by what had happened.
It was only when someone else involved saw my distress understood I was in desperate need of help and that I should not be alone that help was called for and provided by God.
It has made me think about how we communicate in the modern world and how busy our lives have become that we don’t even know when our friends are in desperate need of a hug or a chat we think an email or a text is all that’s needed to keep in touch.
In the last six weeks, I have received texts from friends asking if I am ok. I text back a yes and a smiley face at the same time I have tears pouring down my face unable to share with them what’s going on.
The same with emails I can appear happy and coping in an email but the reality is I am unable to string two words together.
A few Sunday’s ago I was having a bad few days and was in desperate need of some help but I did not ask and thought I could cope but deep down the reality was that I was not coping.
I sat in church the first words spoken to me where are you ok, and I answered honestly with a NO and explained my worries and help was provided before the service ended.
God knows my weakness and once again provided me with help I was so in desperate need of. Face to face conversation can never be undervalued or replaced.
If the same person had emailed or texted me that morning and said are you ok I might have sent back a yes and smiley face or just answered it when it was to late to help.
I must be more honest with myself and ask for help when I need it. I often don’t ask for help as I don’t want to burden others with my problems. Feel others are more in need than me and that I should be able to cope.
Their is no replacement for conversation it’s what makes us people it’s what makes us care and it made me realise how removed we have sometimes become from each other and think and text or an email to make sure a friend is ok is all that’s needed. But a hug and real conversation and time is what’s required.
We a walk around looking at little screens seeing what everyone’s up to on Social media. liking pictures and telling the world what we have been doing. We often don’t realise we have not seen or spoke to our closest friends for a long while.we are often too interested in what’s going on in everyone else’s life instead of looking at own and the people we care about most.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

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Destination Unkown.

I have started seeing grief as journey with signposts along the way.

Stop: A place to cry and fall apart.
Wait: A place to discover myself, seek comfort, allow myself time to heal.
Go: A new destination where I find forgiveness and acceptance.

It’s almost like God is saying to me I need you need stop. It’s ok to cry and fall apart, rest if you can and I will hold you in you grief. I will understand you pain and feel it to.
Understanding that the pain will make me stronger and that it has a purpose is hard and difficult to comprehend. I am in scary dark place but I trust God to be with me in my pain.
I need to accept the journey I am on. Trusting God is the only way I can do this. Praying and listening to that inner voice will allow myself to follow the right path and await my GO sign and a new destination .
I trust and believe in the path that has been chosen for me, that I will reach my new destination as a stronger person that can help others find Gods love so they to can see this beautiful world.

Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.