Today was a tough day.

I woke up, after a fairly good night’s sleep, and felt heavy. Like a weight was being pressed on my chest. I know this feeling, I have been here before.

The black dog is back.

Depression is often referred to a battle with the black dog. It comes without rhyme or reason, and sits on your chest. Dragging you back as you try to move forward, drawing all the energy, creativity, and obviously joy from your body.

It sucks, to say the least. It’s difficult to explain, which is difficult for your partner, which makes it even more difficult. Today was supposed to be great, I have many speaking engagements, which I love, and the first copy of my book is coming in the post today.

And I feel like crap.

You are not alone in your depression.

The reason I started talking, and writing, about my battle with the black dog, is because it is often kept too damn quiet. It’s seen as shameful, or weak. I wanted other people to know, that they are not alone. It helps me greatly to know that I am not alone. A friend of mine bravely posted a shot of her antidepressants on Instagram the other day, so I did too:

@chanelvdmerwe you are not alone. #depression

A post shared by Pierre Du Plessis (@pierreduplessis) on

Winston Churchill battled the black dog, did you know?

winston

Winston Churchill, probably one of the greatest human of the previous century, suffered from severe manic-depression. The black dog would hold him down for months at a time. He for example never stood on the edges of buildings, or cliffs, or near the edge of the train platform. Knowing that it would be easy to just take a step, and escape the black dog forever.

Ludwig van Beethoven experienced bipolar disorder, as documented in the book “The Key to Genius: Manic Depression and the Creative Life.”

Marlon Brando, the greatest actor of all time, experienced chronic depression throughout his life.

Funny man Jim Carrey openly discussed his depression and use of anti-depressants on television in 2004.

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway’s suicidal depression is examined in the book: “An Intimate Portrait of Ernest Hemingway by Those Who Knew Him” by Denis Brian

At least we are in the presence of greatness.

The Black Dog needs to be trained.

The black dog can be trained, and must be trained:

  1. Take your meds, if you have to (I did), even if you feel they don’t work.
  2. Go exercise (I dragged my depressed arse to CrossFit this morning)
  3. Get up. Call a friend that understands, go have coffee (I did today, thanks Pieter).
  4. Open up the curtains, switch on the lights (all the lights in our house are on as I type this).
  5. Share. You are not alone.

I hope this sharing, and this strange dog that binds perhaps me and you, helps you (or someone you love), it helps me very much.

Thanks for reading.

Your Turn

Here is a challenge, share your struggle with mental health, or your struggle of being in a relationship with someone who suffers from mental health issue with a close friend. Post the story in the comments below.