Arrgghh. I wish it weren’t so, but for the last week or so I’ve felt very down and out. My depression comes in waves, sometimes I’m working at full speed, and you would wonder if there was anything wrong at all. Then other times it’s all I can do to drag myself out of bed and start my day. ‘Black Dog’ was a term coined by Winston Churchill, who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 for his depression. He helped lead Britain to victory in the Second World War against Hitler’s Nazis. I didn’t realise this before now, but there is some contention about Churchills famous ‘Black Dog’ quote. It’s been argued that he didn’t have a mental illness, and it was just a normal up and down mood that we all experience from time to time.

Roller Coaster of Thoughts and Feelings

Anyway, I am moving away from that controversy and onto why I’ve decided to write about this topic. As my psychologist can attest to, when I’m up and when I’m down, boy am I down. What does that look like? It does depend on the day, but I like to think of it as standing in dense fog, not able to see anything around you and not having a clue which way to go. The brain fog is the worst aspect for me, as it prevents me from being able to do what I think are simple activities. Example: I’m wanting to convert my book manuscript that I am working on into a course for others to try and assist them with their mental health. I could have been doing videos for this, or working on the course outline, but honestly, I just can’t right now.

Before I started to realise what I was facing, I used to think it was a motivation issue. I’m just not adequately motivated to do what needs to be done. If only it were that simple. I wish that those who have not experienced depression would realise that their “thoughtful” words of encouragement are not that at all. Yes, you might think that my life is perfect, and there is no reason to be down when compared to another’s life. Why does it matter that somebody else might have had different experiences to me? How does that change what I am thinking and feeling?

Perceptions a Bitch

So what exactly is perception and why should we care about it? Perception is “the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses”. Your five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell) send coded signals to the brain where they are interpreted and turned into what we experience as reality. The thing with perception is that you can put two different people in the same room and subject them to the same experience, and their perception could be radically different. What is terrible for me and causes undue mental stress and anguish, to somebody else might just be a drop in the ocean. My stored memories are used as part of this process, and possibly I’ve had something similar happen before, which resulted in a bad experience. These are included in the mix, making things seem even worse.

So What Does That Have To Do With The Subject

Nobody has said anything at all even remotely bad to me during this depressive wave or episode. I haven’t imagined anything terrible happening, so really what gives? Why am I feeling so down and out? Sometimes, no matter how much you analyse yourself, you’re never going to have the answer. Just like right now, I can’t tell you why I’m feeling this way today or even why I’ve felt this way all week. For somebody who is very logical and thorough, it’s very irritating and annoying. But it’s something I’m just going to have to accept and keep moving forward. I’m not always going to have the answers, and neither are you. Set small goals everyday, goals that are very achievable and just continue to do your best.

Thanks for reading my post, and if you have a mental illness or know somebody who does and would love to know more about mental health illnesses, download my free ebook ‘Mental Health De-Mystified’. You can find a link in the top menu under the Free eBook button.

Until next time,

Craig Marchant