“Dog”

GravatarFor something different, I thought I’d share a personal reflection on a piece of music that has become quite special to me.

The song is called “Dog” (by Andy Bull) in reference to the well known Churchill euphemism for depression. I first heard it as I was driving home from work in 2010. The words of this song rang so true for me … and it was the beginning of the realization that there are people who understand how it is to be me.

So bear with me as I break down my relationship to this quirky little song verse by verse …

Constantly Hounded
I know how bouts of depression can sneak up on me … I am on constant mood watch to ensure the dog doesn’t get close enough for me to smell and feel. It’s tiring! But worse than that, I can’t even feel tired without worrying that I am depressed.

This old black dog is hounding me
It waits ‘round the corner and hides in the trees
I feel the chill of something blown in on a breeze

Feelings of Emptiness
My first Canvas post was about my frustration with the pretending required to hide the effects this animal can have on me at times. It is often easier to pretend, rather than try to explain what I am feeling to those around me. I sometimes do not even know what it is I am feeling, so how can I explain it to others. There is emptiness when there should be joy, emptiness when there should be anger, emptiness when there should be fear, emptiness when there should be something else … so I put on the mask that suits best.

In the light of a cinema screen I hide
Laughing I only feel empty inside
Crying means nothing, I’ve nothing to say
I wish I could kick this old black dog away

Learning to Accept : Trying to Understand
It is not physical or something I can blame others for. It is inside of me … it is a part of me. But even knowing and accepting this doesn’t help to fully understand how something imagined can be and feel so real!

And the worst part is knowing my part in it all
Yeah the worst part is knowing its nothing at all
Oh if I can pull myself together I’ll try
I can’t explain the tear that sits in my eye

Frustration
I have tried many tricks and will continue to try them. Chemicals, exercise, sleep, diet, sketching … but the mongrel just lingers and I can never really drop my guard or relax. If my depression could be embodied into a physical object, I would destroy it without a second thought.

I try to outsmart him but somehow he knows
Wherever I am, that fucking dog goes
I’ll kill him the next time I swear I won’t fail
I’ll kick in his ribs and I’ll rip off his tail

Dealing with Thoughts
My anxiety (so disproportionate to reality) is exhausting at times and makes me tired. In my tiredness the depression can come, so anxiety begins again as I try to differentiate between tiredness and depression. The cycle repeats so often!

And the worst part is thinking it’s something it’s not
Yeah the worst part is thinking it might never stop
Oh if I can pull myself together I’ll try
I can’t explain the tear that sits in my eye

Sharing
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy being part of Team Canvas and also interacting with other blogs and bloggers. I don’t even need to try to explain it to the folk here. When I do write, there is no response of “get over it”, “harden up”, or ignorant offering of a blanket fix. Just the knowledge that others (in their own way) somehow understand.

And the worst part is trying to explain it to you
The worst part is knowing there’s nothing to do

Victory in Silence
Over the years I have been so happy for friends and relatives who have fought and overcome terminal illness and life threatening injuries. Anyone who can muster the strength to beat a terminal illness and overcome life threatening injuries deserves and receives my praise and admiration. Sadly there have also been a few who fought just as courageously and lost.
Yet very few people know I have an illness that could kill me too. No one praises me for my invisible fight and for cheating the option of death.

If I can pull myself together I’ll try
Oh if I can’t pull myself together I’ll die

So just in case you haven’t been told it lately, I want to say it here. If you have a mental illness, you have my complete praise and admiration for all you do to keep alive. You have my complete praise and admiration for living your life as best you can each day, week and month of the year and with all my heart I wish you continued success in 2013!

© Lunch Sketch and A Canvas Of The Minds 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lunch Sketch and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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16 thoughts on ““Dog”

  1. Yes, music speaks so often where you can find you own words. I know this too well. There´s a special album of some special groups that literally saved my sanity earlier this year and bought me back on track. I will always be thankful to them! But it´s often that you find a piece of yourself in some excperts of songs. It helps to not feel alone with all this shit anymore, nowing that somewhere out there know the feelign AND can put in words. That´s a gift for boht sides!
    Mental illnesses are serious for sure. Just because you don´t see the bruise on the outside it doesn´t mean there is nothing. People should finally recognize that.

    • Hey Candra. Agreed! I love this song because even though the lyrics are quite depressing, the music is very cheerful and happy.

      It represents the best I can hope for in my journey. To be able to carry this illness, but find a way to still keep my joy and happiness as I go.

      … a work in progress 😉

      • That´s the way to learn, through the illness to still keep the joy and excitement for life. Wish you so much luck for that! 🙂
        BTW, I saw that you live in Brisbane, then you might know the Band I mentioned that helped me with their lyrics a lot. It´s sons of midnight and they´re from your city. Nice coincidence. 🙂

  2. Another amazing post. This certainly gets to the core of how it feels. So hard to try to explain to those who don’t know. Thanks again.

    • Yes. There is something nice about being understood, even if we are still broken.

      I heard this after a particularly bad week and remember pulling my car into a side street as the song ended. I parked and just stared blankly ahead for a time as I absorbed the reality of the words and bewildered acceptance that someone else HAD explained my feelings to me.

      Now as I only heard it on the radio, finding the name of the song and artist is another story … took me bloody weeks, but I was determined!

  3. Hmmm, I had never heard that song before. Never heard of Andy Bull either. But that’s not unusual. I stopped listening to the radio at the turn of the century. I think the last time I truly enjoyed current music was in the 90’s. After that, contemporary music and I parted ways.

    I am not sure I love the music (perhaps it’ll grow on me) but the words are quite something else.

    Thanks for sharing the song and your thoughts with us. Yes, no one praises or even acknowledges our invisible fight, our struggle. Except for those of us who are fighting the same fight, of course.

    • I enjoy a local radio station (Triple J) that gives airplay to independent musicians – folk who otherwise would not get a chance to have their songs heard by so many others.

      Kinda like Canvas for Musicians 😉

  4. Lunch Sketch your explanation sounds oh so very very familiar to me from someone very close but I wouldn’t want to say anymore than that .
    I do understand a little about the effects and fall out from depression . I wish you well with your struggle with the Black Dog ,and in finding an outlet in your sketching and music to atleast lessen its grip hopefully.

    • A big step for me was acceptance – almost 10 years ago now. As frustrating as it can be at times, I feel fortunate that I am now more self-aware when it comes to my moods and thoughts.
      You don’t need to say any more than what you have … but I really do appreciate you taking the time to read my post here and see another side of me.

      Thank you Poppy 🙂

  5. you wrote word for word how i feel always and in particular how I feel right now. my black dog has been hounding me relentlessly since after thanksgiving and right now it is at it’s worse and this is the worst time i can have this happen – not that there is ever a good time.
    i am happy i found this site – kimberly.

    • Kimberly. Sorry to hear you are doing it tough right now. Really am!

      I am glad you found this site and my post. Posts on here and some other mental health blogs related to depression and anxiety have helped me a lot … to not feel so alone or misunderstood when it comes to my illness.

      I do know what you mean about the timing. And as you said, I don’t think there ever is a good time.

      For me, I have found art is a good form of expression and a means of releasing some of that inner turmoil and emotion. You seem to do the same with your beautiful poetry. I look forward to going through some of your work 🙂

      Take Care

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