The Black Dog - My Depression Story

I am not sure if I have ever mentioned this in my blog, but I suffer from depression and anxiety. Mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety are major issues, and affects so many individuals and families around the world. In light of the terrible passing of Charlotte Dawson, I thought it was high time I did my part to shedding light on depression.

I thought I would share my story in the hopes that others may help themselves understand that they are not alone. I am going to span it over a couple of weeks so I am not bombarding you with a wall of text to read. I hope that’s okay.

Please note, I don’t want these post to be a sad or ‘depressing’ posts. They’re happy. I am very much in control of my ‘black dog’ and he rarely visits anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way ‘cured’. I just feel much more secure and open about talking about these issues. And he still visits, although I’m happy to say that he doesn’t nearly affect me as much, and I can shoo him away fairly quickly and effectively.

I first came to realise that I might actually be depressed in 2012. I was finding myself crying, panicking and becoming reclusive, and not wanting to do anything. This went on for years (it’s scary to say that!) but thought this was normal ‘down days’ that everyone has. I think it began in 2008, when my beautiful, strong sister lost her baby at 38 weeks. The grief of that experience just never really went away. After four years, my (still current) partner of nine months said it probably wasn’t okay that I felt shit all the time, and suggested I talk to someone about it.

Once he said that, it kind of became clear. I was seriously not even aware that it could be a possibility. But it was. I will specify here that while I did suffer from panic attacks during times of stress, I relate more to being ‘depressed’ rather than anxious. I had spiralling down days, not able to get out of bed, not able to be motivated, and unfortunately, some thoughts of ending it. It’s not a great thing to talk about, and while I am not ashamed to say so, I am just so thankful for the help that I’ve had from friends and family.

After about a week of umm-ing and ahh-ing of seeing the doctor, I finally bit the bullet and booked myself in. I saw a lovely lady GP and poured my thoughts out to her. She was so understanding and was able to refer me to a psychologist, and started discussing the possibility of going on medication.

Taking this first step for me was crucial.

She gave me a lot of information to research, websites to do surveys on, and a trial of medication to try. She was very understanding, helpful and I believe that if I had not had such an awesome GP, I might not be here where I am today. In the past, some GPs have been … traumatising…to say the least. I owe a lot to this lady.

I am going to leave this post here, and reach out to those of you who suffer from depression, anxiety, or any kind of mental illness. I have to say, it wasn’t easy to put this in print. Although I am lucky to have so much support and nothing ‘bad’ essentially happened, it isn’t easy to put yourself out there!

Please leave a comment if you feel comfortable. I’ll be back later with a new post if you’d like to hear more about my journey, and what the next steps were.


If you need help right now, please call Beyond Blue.


23 comments on “The Black Dog - My Depression Story
  1. K. I’m so glad to see that you actually had the guts to talk about your “issues”? Well, lovely girl, we all have them - I’ve had been struggling for quite a long time with eating, I’ve never been diagnosed with an ED, probs because I’ve always found a way to just make myself “get better” at least for a while..I really dont know why…

    With you - well, in contrast to me you were willing to go check out what was going on with you and actually take a step towards getting better (and that’s already A LOT).

    You are a bold girl for sharing your story and trying to help others throughout the process, though I’m pretty sure you were struggling at first with that decision…

    I cannot wait to read your next post..and about the dog - well, maybe it’s time for you to try and lock the door so that he won’t be able to come anywhere near you :) !!!

    Lots of love,
    and positive thoughts.

  2. Such a brilliant post. I’m sorry to hear you suffer from this horrible plight. I have had depression problems myself and I think it’s very brave for you to be putting yourself out there and sharing your story. It will definitely be a help to others so well done. X

  3. Great post! I love the metaphor of the black dog!

    I think it’s so important that we can be open about menal illness and stop stigmatising it as a society.

    I used to have depression but am fine now but have issues with anxiety.

    It annoys me that people dont have the knowledge of just how crippling anxiety can be (I used to get so worked up I couldn’t get off the floor of the shower some days). Im much better tgan that now though thanks to medication.

    If people were more knowledgeable and kind to one another it would be much easier to be open able these illnesses.

    Lots of love

    • Thanks Kristen :) Medication isn’t for everyone but it helps so so much (in my instance anyway). There is so much stigma with mental illness, and we are moving in the right direction to removing the taboo, but more needs to be done. Thanks for sharing your battles as well. Xoxo

  4. Wow, thank you for being so open and honest, Kate! I can’t wait to read more of these posts. I’ve mentioned it briefly on my blog as well, but I’ve suffered with and still suffer from depression as well as a few other mental health problems. It’s a challenge to realize anything is “wrong” in the first place, it’s a challenge to take that first step to getting help, and it’s definitely a challenge to try to stay on the path to wellness. But, like you said, the more we share about our struggles, the more potential we have to help someone :)

  5. I’m glad you made this post. Depression sadly still has that bit of a stigma to it which is why so many people don’t discuss it. If more people did what an amazing support network everyone could find in each other.

    I too have suffered from depression in the past but have been ok/off medication for the past seven years. (like you, I’m hesitant to use the word ‘cured’) I’m always terrified of it returning.

    Well done on posting this, it can’t have been easy to do.

  6. You are very brave to share your story, Kate. It mustn’t have been easy, so thank you. It really helps to know that you’re not alone. I have suffered mild depression and still suffers from anxiety time to time. I used to think it was just a phase and I can get through it on my own. But talking to someone about it helps dramatically :) x

    • Thanks Natalie. I completely agree! Even if you aren’t able (or don’t want/need) to go on medication, the therapy was so helpful! And the main thing is to keep trying. Finding the right person to talk to is half the battle. <3

  7. I absolutely love that you have written this post. I can relate to the feelings you’ve had 100%, and although we both have had different causes it’s nice to know your not alone. Also so brave talking about these issues, I know when my black dog was hanging around all the time I never wanted to talk about it and was even ashamed and embarrassed to have depression and expect ally anxiety!

    It’s nice to see the perspective from someone so others who have not been effected by mental illness get an idea of what it’s like for someone who has.

    lots of love and hugs,
    Erin xx

    • I can definitely relate. I was so ashamed to admit it to anyone, even family members and good friends. But everyone was so understanding and willing to help. I imagine it can be difficult for those that aren’t affected by mental illness to understand it, heck I have a mental illness and I don’t understand it all the time! Thanks for your kind comment Xo

  8. Great post, Kate. Well done for being strong enough to keep the dog at bay, and having the courage to talk to us about it. It’s a big deal, and I’m sure anyone would agree, it’s inspiring that you’ve chosen to share your story and increase awareness of mental illness.

    Huge hugs

    Faith x

  9. You are wonderful! Thank you for writing such an eloquent post. It’s always hard telling people - and I can only imagine how difficult it must have been writing all of that down and actually hitting the button to publish it - but I really appreciate you sharing your own story. You are such a strong, positive person - and you are definitely so much more than your depression!

    I’ve been on meds for 10 years now due to anxiety, and I’m so amazed at the changes I’ve seen in that time. People are beginning to understand mental illness, and I’m SO glad the stigma seems to be falling away. You have made a little difference of your own by writing this - so I’m totally sending you a virtual high five right now!


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