Monday, 8 March 2010

A Visit from the Black Dog...


"My Mum’s got the black dog!" Bog Boy announced as he trotted into Nursery this morning
Lorna, the nursery assistant looked a bit baffled and tentatively peered outside to see if there was a large black dog tied up there. I contemplated my next move; I did have a black dog and for the moment it was tied up – figuratively.
"It’s our way of explaining my depression," I told her blithley, I mean how else would you describe it?
Bog Boy seemed totally unfazed and prattled on about his smoothie and wanting to have honey on toast for hsi second breakfast - he has as sunny a nature as any Hobbit. For him my depression is a statement of fact, the ordinary, the normality of his life, no big deal.
Would that I could think of it so prosaically.
This morning I told the boys that Daddy would not be home until tomorrow and that it was very important to try and be good and not wind me up. Now this is a difficult thing for children, let alone boys, to do – it’s in their very natures; it’s not deliberate but when I am in an episode, when the black dog is visiting, it is difficult for me to remember how very little they are. I cannot deal with anything out of the ordinary. All focus is on the Black Dog.
I have known it was coming for what seems like weeks and up until recently have been able to keep it at bay. But a series of sleepless nights with ill children and various other worries has meant that this time the Black Dog will not just wait outside.
All the systems are in place, phone calls have been made, and plans are being followed. We are on Defcon 1. I am under attack and all my energies are focussed on containing the problem. There can be no collateral damage.
I know what I have to do, the things I need to get done, for the bills come in and the work deadlines have to be met over and above the day to day minutiae of my life, however crap I feel. There is no emotional slack for the unexpected, even the smallest of problems can spin me out of control; the car not starting, the boiler going blink, there not being enough cat litter, running out of milk…
Unfortunately, boys not doing what they are told, or complaining they don’t like what they are given to eat etc can equally set me off and that is something I have to be prepared for and so do they.
So on the way to school and Nursery, very matter of factly, I tell them what to expect from me for the day ahead. I dare not contemplate how long it really will last so I just brief them day to day. I tell them that the Black Dog is with me and that they have to help me battle it to send it away again. I tell them how much I need them to help me. I use imagery they can understand along the lines of knights in shining armour and beautiful queens with strange enchantments. It is easier this way and hopefully not so scary - at least for now.
I know that I will have friends over at tea and that Dear Charlie will be telephoning during the evening to see how we are getting on, that my evening with the children, before I put them to bed, is all mapped out and all bases are covered. It feels like a major military operation. I do not look forward to it.
Now, I write this when I would be preferring to talk about chocolate or how well my eldest son, The Boy, is doing at not wetting his bed and how he is looking forward to his first ever sleep over and of course his 7th Birthday. I just hope that the Black Dog will be under control by then and things will be back to normal – whatever that is.
Picture show: Cave Canem from the House of the Tragic Poet, Petronius in Pompeii, Italy

25 comments:

Kitty said...

Oh honey, I can finally say I know how crap it is, and have some empathy after being visited by my own black dog at New Year. I understand. I hope this evening isn't too eventful, and that nothing happens to rock the boat.

I'd love to know why they call it Black Dog, as my own proper black dog is the one thing that can cheer me up when I am truly down. And I've just seen a black rescue whippet, am desperate to get to the shelter to see him now...

Tattie Weasle said...

Kitty - Thank you! It seems barking mad to hope for nothing to happen. But I am crossing fingers. I think people use the "Black Dog" because it is how Winston Churchill described his. I always feel it is apt. Black being it's outlook and the dog being its menancing presence and the fact that like a dog it was tenancious.
Re your black dog long my it make you smile and inthe mean time I hope as I write you are dashing off to see the whippet...crossing fingers like mad for you too!

Expat mum said...

Oh dear. I hope you manage to weather the storm.

Preseli Mags said...

I take my hat off to you for such a frank and honest description. Do you find running helps? My black dog has been more of a black puppy recently, thank goodness. And yes, what is normal? I have yet to work that one out.

Potty Mummy said...

Thinking of you TW. This too shall pass. PMx

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

I'm thinking of you too. Hang in there. It will pass. xxx

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

hang on in there!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I'm thinking about you, hoping these next few days will bring some light and shoo away that black dog.

CJ xx

Linda said...

hey - sorry to see your black dog has come knocking, I hope he's not around too long, don't stress over what anyone, including your boys think - just concentrate on getting yourself well. I don't know why but my children's birthdays and Christmas times have had a disastrous effect on me in the past with me phoning the Samaritans one year in despair. My black dog has gone on his merry way now and I am sending you all the love and luck I can through the means of a computer screen. Thank you for writing this. Much love. xxx

blackbird said...

Dear Tattie, How wise you are to share this with your sons in such appropriate ways. Imagine a world where everyone and anyone suffering visits from the pack of black dogs would be greeted with understanding and support.

I'm thinking of you and wishing that I was close enough for a hug.

(I don't think that my son managed a successful sleep over until he was 10 and he's off to Europe this summer with some friends. There's always hope.)

Nicola said...

Oh Tattie. I hope the black dog goes for a very long walk (on his own) in the next day or two. I hope you also manage to get a load more sleep - because my 'fog' typically descends when I am tired and every single little thing in my life is overwhelming to the extreme. I am thinking of you - and in deep admiration of both your awareness and also your battle tactics. xxx

Jude said...

It sounds a really tough thing to have to deal with. It's not something I have too much experience of myself thankfully - my black dog is more of a puppy, and doesn't usually hang around too long. Hope you come out of it soon.

It may seem a little inappropriate, but there's an award for you over at mine - I wasn't sure if you've already had it.

Ladybird World Mother said...

I so feel for you. Right now you will be dealing with the evening, and I hope that you are coping. You are so matter of fact about your black dog. I have one too, (we ought to name them.. !) who is mercifully Away at the moment. And how brilliant to share it with your boys in such a way that they can understand. Might do that myself. I tend to concentrate on coping, but not let anyone in to help... and then feel worse. Oh, its all a pain, isn't it. Hugs anyway. xxxx

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Your strategies for coping sound brilliant and I wish you a speedy recovery . Good luck !
Sonata .

Cait O'Connor said...

I hope you will soon be feeling better. Spring is not far off, that may lift your spirits.

Glowstars said...

One of the things I find it difficult to get my head around is that things like the boy acting up can make things ten times worse in only a matter of moments. It seems that because other mothers can deal with it so easily, I should as well. That, of course, then makes me feel even worse.

It's a difficult fight we have to kick the dog back into the corner but fight we must. Hope it's all going well.

muummmmeeeeee...... said...

Oh poor you...sending you a virtual hug and the wish that it passes quickly x

the mother of this lot said...

Sorry about the black dog. Hope you'll feel better soon.

Lou said...

Many years ago I boght a magic wand in Africa from a man who clearly believed in magic/voodoo etc...at the time I thought it was a bit of a 'larf!

I found it yesterday, it is carved, wooden, about a foot long and bright red.

Picture me now in my kitchen waving it about, Potter-like I'm hoping to magic away your noir poodle.

Thinking of you. xx

Humdrum Mum said...

I've just looked at your blog, and am amazed. Amazed at how open you are about your Black Dog (I hope he isn't visiting for too long) and how supportive the comments are. It's lovely to see that in a world where technology has a bad rep (Fakebook friends etc) that cyberpals can really offer support. Take care x

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Tattie Weasle said...

Firstly abject apologies for not responding to everyone before now! The sun is shining this orning and it shines within as well... a bit of a relief all round!
Expat mum - Storm weathered; sun shining!
Preseli Mags - Running should be prescribed!
Potty - It passes...
Brit in Bosnia - Thank you; knowing people are thinking of me really helps...
SmitoniusAndSonata - hung on now hanging out!
CJ - Thnak you Black dog well on the weay to be shooed right out!
Linda - it's good to know the black dog can be well and truly banished. I try not to dwell on what others think; it's hard. Boys seem unaffected but to them it's normal. In case they forget I always tell them I love them at the end of the day so no matter what happens and how often we fall out they know before they go to sleep that their Mum loves them.

Tattie Weasle said...

Blackbird - hwat a wonderful thought that one day it will be accepted with understanding. I have great faith in humanity that that will be so. Thank you.
Nicola - sleep or the lack of it is a trigger with me too!
Jude - thank you for the award when I read about it it really brightened my day; so not inappropriate at all!
Ladybird World Mother - I'd probably name mine Alan after Alan B'stard! Such a pain in the proverbial!!!! Thanks for the hug.

http://reluctantmemsahib.wordpress.com said...

"For him my depression is a statement of fact, the ordinary, the normality of his life, no big deal." This struck a chord: for my mother's became as such to me. And I am glad, for had she not articulated her pain as she did, our confusion as children would have been exacerbated. I salute you for your honest deliverance of your Depression to your children. They will be stronger because of that. And they will love you harder for it.

Iota said...

I haven't been to your blog for a while, so I'm reading this a month after you wrote it. I hope it's passed.

Go on you know you want to...

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