On living through black dog weeks…

It’s been one of those dark head black dog kind of weeks. I haven’t had one for a while which is why I was surprised and somewhat annoyed when it came along. Right now there are shafts of light in my dark cave and I’m able to notice what’s going on and see the entrance again. This feels like a good time to sit and reflect about how I got in the cave and what is helping in the slow crawl out. As ever I’m writing this mainly to remember myself but in the hope it might help someone else or part of this might be useful I share it here.

Dear Kath.

You are probably here because of the intensity of the last few weeks. Pushing through whilst having a cold takes a toll on your body. It was right to push through when you did but it’s ok to notice the payback and go easy on yourself. You had a full few weeks and your body is catching up. You haven’t exercised much in this last week because of your cough. You are probably coming down from the endorphins swirling around over the last few weeks. Son2 has been particularly full on recently. It’s ok to be affected by that. It’s ok to notice you’ve absorbed lots of that in your body and soul. Being a container not a sponge is easier said than done and will probably take a lifetime to learn. It’s ok to feel this way. There is a lot in your head right now. It’s ok for this all to have affected you.

Notice what is going on. Be aware. Sometimes you just need to say. You are in the cave. It’s ok.

Cry. It’s ok.

Listen to music. Loud. Sing along. Fill your lungs. Go back to your default soothers. Martyn Joseph will always work, Snow Patrol’s Wildness album is working at the moment. Play the same songs over and over as they work their way deep in your soul. You are ok.

It’s not the end. It’s a place. You may be here a day, a week or a month. You are here. You are ok.

It’s ok to distract yourself for a bit. Numbing has it’s place. You aren’t the worst person because you numb the pain with your phone. It’s ok. Wait for the shafts of light and trust that you will have energy again to put the phone down when you can. You are ok.

Do some normal stuff. You aren’t a fake if you can smile and do joy at the same time as feeling like the world should end. Both feelings can coexist. Sometimes the doing the normal can bring you back out of the cave. You know that. It’s ok if it doesn’t.

Notice that your reactions might not be true. It might not be the end of your friendships, you might not be the ugliest person in the world. You might not be a horrible mother. You might just be doing ok. Maybe. Sneak those strong thoughts in the back door. The black dog will never notice. Maybe. Shhhh.

When the light shifts do some chipping away at the mountains to turn them back into mole hills. Only do this when the light shifts towards hope. It’s good to move the small when the weight has become disproportional to the reality. Examples. Thank you cards done. Glasses sorted. Haircut done. Now your head doesn’t need to contain the worry cycles about these things anymore. And they didn’t take that much time. Try and remember that. It’s ok if you can’t.

You are ok. You get things wrong. That’s ok. You are amazing. That’s ok too. Best of all you are loved. Held. Known. Seen. Always. And that’s more than ok.


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