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Anthony Meagher
I am very proud to announce that I have had 19 days straight (and counting) without once having an episode of depression; in fact I am doubly proud at that milestone achievement, as I have to also admit that this year (2019) has been quite trying for me personally.

Whilst I have fighting the good fight for over ten years now, the Black Dog seems to have won more bouts than I in the last 6 months, leaving me in many instances quite deeply depressed and firmly ensconced within a dark place. Looking back on this calendar year, I have not been able to go more than 3 or 4 days in a row without experiencing an 'episode', and quite literally 'gave up' many of my interests due to general apathy. I rarely wrote, even more rarely socialised, and quite literally hung up my guitars and had not touched them for most of that time. My self esteem has been at rock bottom, and some close friends of mine had even commented that I seem to be experiencing more depression more frequently than they have seen in me previously.

Over the years I have been able to determine my 'triggers' for depression. Therapy, internal reflection, more therapy and then practical experience allowed me to recognise the traps that lie before me, and even more importantly the consequences of failing to identify with them. And I thought I had them beat. Knowing what my triggers are for depression has allowed me, in most instances, to navigate around them, circumvent them if you will, and on the whole manage to not become ensnared within. Until this year. 

I did not know what was setting me off. I could only feel down, and of course, if you have experienced your own bouts with the black dog, you'll know that mental processes such as reasoning and memory are affected quite badly, so was not able to analyse the 'why'. All I could do was react to those dark feelings - I ditched social media, stopped performing as a musician and rarely made an effort to get out and see people. Its only now, after experiencing those blissful 19 days without once straying into the abyss that I have realised that what I thought were ALL of my triggers, or what I also considered was a FINITE list, was in fact incorrect. I have discovered that there are more.

Interestingly, the new triggers are exactly that; new, and I have come to understand that they are the product of my own evolution as a man. As we grow older we change, (new jobs, new partners, kids growing older, etc.) and it seems my new triggers have joined me because of it. But having identified with them, I can now navigate more clearly, and am hoping that the 19 days will stretch into something even longer. 

I guess the learning in all of this is that we can't rest on our laurels and expect that since we've done the work, we can now rest easy that we have this bloody thing beat. Clearly its not the case, or at least not for me, and I can only suggest that you be ever vigilant for those things that can trip you. Time doesn't stand still, and neither it seems, does the Black Dog.

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