My Black Dog is called Fred


Meet Fred. Fred is my Black Dog. Fred follows in my shadow. I hate Fred.

I cried in my car on the way to work today.

Getting out of bed, showered and dressed took everything I had in me to give.

Not quite like being flung into hell when I wasn’t watching.

More like waking up to find myself in a black void of sorrow.

Like every nerve ending has been scrubbed raw and the slightest breeze has me curling over in pain.

Rationally, I know how irrational it is.

The thing about anxiety and depression is that it is utterly irrational.

Logically, I know that one day soon I’ll wake up and it will be gone and the sun will warm my skin and the birds will sing.

Right now, it just feels like I’m a drowning person futilely grabbing on to a straw to keep from going under.

I should have seen it coming.

When I had to cancel a party I’d been planning for months, because just thinking about it made me want to vomit.

When I couldn’t make plans on Tuesday for Friday, because I was scared that by Friday I might not be able to look anyone in the eye.

When people around me are dealing with big issues with grace and strength and I fell apart over groceries.

Something so small and insignificant.

Something anyone else would have brushed off.

Something that broke me.

It broke me because it showed me how not okay I am.

That all the time and energy expended on pretending to be a normal, functioning adult was for nothing.

I couldn’t take the tears out of my daughter’s eyes when she lost her race.

I forgot to put water in the car.

I parked like a nana.

I bought the wrong groceries.

I gave the wrong person the wrong boxer shorts when I did the laundry.

Such small, stupid things.

So, what the hell is wrong with me that they made me cry?

That they made me question everything, that they highlighted every bad thought I have about myself.

That I’m a useless person.

That I’m a terrible mother.

That it would be better if I just disappeared.

42398940_1110502119100777_4640356143706551906_n“How are you?” asked my husband this morning.


Honesty is not always the best policy.

Because what should I have said?

“I’m not okay. I’m falling apart. I don’t know what I’m doing. I want it all to just go away.”

How would that help us when we have real challenges.

Real mortgages and debt and kids and a failing economy?

When homeless kids are going to die on the streets?

When people who have nothing are doing everything they can to eat tonight?

And I can’t put my shoes on.

And it doesn’t really matter, because I know I have depression.

But nothing really seems to matter right now.

Because it doesn’t matter how I feel.

I still have to function.

I still have people depending on me.

I still have bills to be paid.

I still have a job to do.

I can’t afford to hide in a cave and sleep until this passes.

And the kind looks, the “Are you okays” just make it worse.

They just shatter what’s left of my defenses.

And I reply, “It’s nothing. I’m just coming down with something.”

Because it’s easier for other people to think it’s the flu.

Like depression is something contagious.

But it will pass.

I know it will.

I have to believe it will.

If I can just get through this one hour at a time, things will be fine.

And when someone asks I can say, “I’m fine” and not be lying through gritted teeth.


largeI am not alone.

Thousands, millions of people just like me are not alone.

We’re not freaks.

I am not a freak.

And if by sharing how I feel today, it makes just one person feel a little less alone, than at least something good can come out of this.


6 thoughts on “My Black Dog is called Fred

  1. God you are brilliant, more brilliant than I can remember. Your writing is beautifully, brutally honest and as I was reading, it felt like someone was writing down my feelings.
    You’re not alone, apparently neither am I.

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