Isn’t she pretty? My relationship with Nina is deep and visceral, something that people who do not “love dogs” will not understand. She has been my sounding board and “Go-to-Gal” for all manner of situations in my life. Since I was 25, she has been my constant companion and her easy manner and wise ways have been a mainstay of my world for so long that as she comes to the end of her life, there is an ever-tightening knot in my throat around how I will fill her void when she is gone. I am so familiar with her presence that it just seems unbelievable that she soon will not be here.
As for my other black dog, for the avoidance of stereotyping let us call her Depression. If I am totally honest (which is something I have struggled in my shame to do), Depression has been part of my life for at least thirty years. Long lived indeed. I don’t love her but I know her very well.
She/he/it, depending on the form it takes, is a bit of a shape changer and hence very hard to tame, and this mutt is not a very nice dog at all. To be fair, I have let her stay around, so I am not sure I can fully blame her. She (let’s call her she for this post, as currently “she” is taking the form of a sort of “Maleficent” type character in my life, although perhaps not as beautiful as Angelina’s portrayal) is what you might call a familiar frenemy.
For those of you who read my semi-regular blog postings, you may recall me mentioning “the coat of melancholy”. Well, literally speaking – the coat of melancholy was woven from the hair of my second black dog. No wonder it chafes.
For these past few weeks, as I have struggled with my feelings of shame and humiliation over a forthcoming event, my second black dog has been an all too familiar companion. She keeps me from focussing, sleeping, and seeing past the date of my doom to beyond. She scares me, my second black dog, as she does not like me to have hope in my life let alone redemption. I have not slept at night for almost a week now because my second black dog seems to want to sleep on my chest, which makes me struggle to breathe – which thankfully (or not) wakes me up. For anyone who suffers from insomnia, I am sure that you will agree that it is after the first week that it gets a really hard to take. After all, there are only 24 hours in the day and the eight that are “business hours” seem to fall smack bang in the middle of the time that you are the most tired.
The well-known quote from Stephen Fry is an appropriate one to finish this post – as I make a coffee to try to keep awake today so I can make contact with those beautiful friends of mine who have reached out to me. You know who you are.
I love you and I am grateful.