Chasing the black dog

Support for those with depression


  • There's quite a bit of talk and web info about exercise as an additional treatment for depression (and anxiety). Probably it differs for different people and different depressions. one of our children is promoting it.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    I find exercise helps, but for me it is not enough. Come the night and me alone in my bed the thoughts come unbidden.

    It does help my sleep.

    I'd encourage all to try it. And, with everything, if it works, keep it, if it doesn't, change it.
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    Climacus, if we ever get signatures back, :naughty:, that phrase could well be mine! Thanks for putting it that way. If it works, keep it. If it doesn't, change it.
  • to that. Exercise is good, anyway, especially if it promotes a decent amount of sleep.

    Kipling had it right, though he wasn't (AFAIK) specifically thinking of depression:

    Cameelious Hump

    Yes, I do appreciate that this s not the whole answer, but, if it works, do it.


  • Sorry - I don't seem to have worked out to link yet.

    Try this:

  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Purgatory Host
    Before I clicked on that link, I thought it was going to be the poem which explains the hump on the camel.... :naughty:
  • It's supposed to be that poem, indeed - what did you find?


  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    Clicking the first link takes me to this thread again. Clicking the second gets to the poem. Somehow, my childhood did not include this. Thanks for sharing it. It is delightful and insightful. I shall have to get to work. I certainly have plenty to do but am not doing it.
  • O good - glad you found it, and that it was helpful!

    (Wanders off to practice codes, linkies, and other geeky stuff)

  • So that is where my Father got the phrase, "Climb out of bed with a frouzly head and a snarly, yarly voice." He used it a lot when we were young, and also adapted it to a going to bed phrase ("Jump into bed with .....")
  • Well, as I said earlier, Kipling did not have all the answers as to how to deal with Black Dogs/Slugs (delete as applicable), but ISTM he was on the right lines.

    :heart: for all those whose Dogs or Slugs are awake and stirring....

  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Purgatory Host
    Bishop's Finger, I thought it was going to be a rather dubious poem which explains the hump on the camel, and which I learned as a Girl Guide many, many years ago.

    I am still on the EMDR programme, though it's dropped to once a month. I continue to be both amazed by it and grateful to the NHS for providing it. It's not easy; the last session left me exhausted, but it is so worth it!
  • Keep it up, NEQ!

    (Any link to poem, by any chance? Purely for research, you understand).


  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Consult the lavatory door in Bannerman’s in the Cowgate.
  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Purgatory Host
    It's obvious you weren't a Girl Guide, Bishop's Finger! I've not got to grips with BBcode yet, but you could try googling "The sexual life of the camel Is stranger than anyone thinks"
  • This is the sort of poem BF, that makes me want to yell "all aboard for bed" and then jump in, waiting for mummy to read and act out the poem. Thanks!
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I am still on the EMDR programme, though it's dropped to once a month. I continue to be both amazed by it and grateful to the NHS for providing it. It's not easy; the last session left me exhausted, but it is so worth it!

    I am delighted for you. I'm in the middle of a course at present (not EMDR) that is really demanding, and I was whinging to myself about how difficult it is, then I caught myself and realised there are no magic wands, and that the work I am doing has already caused significant changes that the two people who know me best have remarked on.

  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    I remember telling my psych once I wanted to stop a programme and just have a good cry and wallow in self-pity and how horrid the world was. She was most sympathetic.

    Well done to NEQ and Huia on their perseverance and progress!

    enjoying the poetry.
  • Thank you, Firenze and NEQ. My friend Google came up with several versions of the poem, so I am now duly instructed.


    Keep pressing on, Comrades all, and full marks for perseverance!

  • So glad to hear the EMDR and your programmes are helping, NEQ & Huia. That is wonderful and brilliant stuff.

    I'm feeling much less low than I have been, but I seem to be having problems sleeping. What's really annoying is that I didn't think I was stressed or anxious last night but...not much sleep for me. I'm trying very hard not to worry about it, as I don't want the fear of not sleeping, which then makes going to sleep even harder. Bah.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    IANAD etc., but have you tried simple things like either a bowl of cereal or a hot milky drink before you go to bed? They usually work for me.

    Or a rather less pleasant remedy - catch the flu. I got it when I was back home recently, and it's made me so tired I haven't needed rocking for weeks. :tired_face:
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Oh dear Piglet. Hope it departs quickly.

    Hot milk helped me, Jemima. Sometimes. As does a hot shower at night. Apparently cooling your body down helps with sleep.

    If I can ask, is it that horrid sleep where you wake up at 1am or 2am fully energised and not a bit tired? That impacts me. I went to see my doctor and needed help for a while with that via tablets. I hope sleep comes to you tonight. It is very frustrating.
  • Thank you both. Piglet that sounds awful, I hope you’re better soon!
    I often have a herbal tea before bed which helps with sleep. Part of the problem is that I’ve had a virusy thing and haven’t been able to exercise properly which also helps with sleeping.
    It’s not getting off to sleep that’s the problem. Better night last night, thank you. I just need to get better at doing all the things that help, and that requires quite a bit of self-discipline.
  • Not really an effect of the Black Dog (or Slug), at least at the moment, but I find that, after about 2pm, I really need a snooze for a couple of hours. This is partly due to fatigue caused by my anti-seizure pills, I gather.

    Alas, this is all very well, but it means that I wake up at silly o'clock (3am), and then stay awake until not-quite-so-silly-o'clock (6am), at which time I'm supposed to take my first hydrocortisone of the day. After that, I can usually count on 2-3 hours' more sleep, so not too bad.

    If I steadfastly resist the afternoon zzz, and go to bed at a reasonable hour (11pm), I find I can then sleep through to the 6am pill-taking time!

    <votive> for all whose sleep patterns are odd or chaotic, for whatever reason, especially those whose Black Dog (or Slug) is growling (or crawling slimily around) whilst they are awake when they don't want to be.



  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited March 2018
    Oh dear, BF. How horrid.

    Prayers for good sleep and good sleep patterns for you, and for all.

    Are the pills new (if I can ask)? Is there a settling in period where side effects may be more extreme?
  • No, I've been taking these meds for about 2 years now. Alas, the side-effects go with the territory, so to speak. They are liveable-with, IYSWIM, just a bit of a drag.

    Still, I could be dead.

    Or having frequent fits.

    Which I'm not!

  • JacobsenJacobsen Shipmate
    So glad about that, B'sF. I find that there are useful but quiet (for the sake of the neighbours) things which I can do in the wakeful wee sma's which give me a sense of accomplishment rather than wasted time. I once did my tax from 3-11 AM. Was pretty shattered for the rest of the day, but was buoyed up by that feeling of having done a task which I usually postpone or avoid till there's a £100 fine for late submission.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited March 2018
    Gosh. You are productive.

    I did once decide I needed to vacuum at 3am, but decided my apartment neighbours would not be impressed.

    A drag indeed, BF. I hope sleep comes at night for you.

    I had a bit of a tough day, particularly having to explain mental health issues during my performance review (to account for lapses that were brought up in my work -- not making excuses, I don't think at least: explaining). Speaking about them can make me upset and today it did.

    Oh well. Trivia tonight. That gets me out of myself for 2 hours at least.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    {{{{{all of us, and all others with similar problems}}}}}

    Re insomnia--

    IANAD, and this is from my own experience:

    --IANAD.. For me, night-time insomnia was helped by taking anti-depressants before bed. (With doctor's approval.) I still had some insomnia, but it wasn't as wearying or nerve-wracking IANAD..

    --Nature/environmental recordings on all night, usually at a fairly low volume. Ocean especially, without music. But there are many options. I used cassettes, back then. But YouTube has some good ocean recordings--some 11 hours long!

    --Radio all night keeps my mind from getting tangled in itself, when not sleeping, and helps me sleep. I usually listen to NPR (similar to BBC), which is at a fairly even volume and pitch. Sometimes a classical music station, instead.

    --Mentally reciting things (even the alphabet). Mentally playing word games (e.g., the sort kids play during long car trips).

    --Lights off in the bedroom, late in the evening. Sometimes, TV is manageabl.e. Don't turn lights on when you can't sleep. IME, not a good idea to leave the TV on all night--produces a different atmosphere than radio or audio recordings.

    --IANAD.. I'm really sensitive to meds. I have to start with the smallest possible dose, and work my way up. If I have a negative reaction, I need to back the dosage down, and work my way back up. I tolerated capsules and liquids better than most tablets. MAKE SURE YOU TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE DOING THIS!!!

    --IANAD.. If you use any detox teas/supplements *and* are on any kind of meds, be careful. MAKE SURE YOU TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE DOING THIS!!! I find the detox helpful for just-started colds/flu, and general health. HOWEVER, taking them for more than a day evidently affects the level of meds in my body, So I limit that to very occasional use. It did save me, one day, when I woke up with a bad reaction to a psych med that I was gradually increasing, and was half out of my head. I drank detox tea, and it knocked the problem down by about half, within an hour or so, and the rest dissipated over the rest of the day, IANAD..

  • Thanks, GK! Do we take it YANAD??

    Seriously, though, some useful suggestions. As Spring arrives (said he hopefully), I intend (DV) to do a bit more physical exercise - light gardening at church, outside painting of the Episcopal Palace etc., so that will doubtless help to tire me out in the best possible way!

  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory


    Sorry. Was a) afraid I might get yelled at; and b) wanted to make sure Shipmates understood the cautions.

    Hope you find whatever will help you in your situation.
  • I think I understood your thoughts Golden Key. Better to be safe than sorry although most understand why the rules are as they are. Thank you for your post.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    Thx, Lothlorien. :)
  • Indeed! I wasn't trying to be sarcastic in any way, but grateful for the sensible cautions you expressed (hence the grin emoji).

    As it happens, the past couple of nights have been somewhat better, and a blood pressure test on Tuesday ('It's absolutely perfect!' in a superb Edinburgh accent) may well have helped!

    ISTM that we worry about things sometimes unconsciously, perhaps exacerbated by stress, latent depression, or whatever, which does not at all help ameliorate the growlings of the Black Dog, or the slimy slitherings of the Black Slug.

  • Woohoo for better nights, and for good blood pressure!
    Thanks for all your thoughts, GK.
  • It's been a while since I've visited this thread, but I really want to tell NEQ that she is one of the most insightful posters on the forums. As you were.
  • U R quite right.

  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Great news Jemima!

    And I love the imagery of the Black Slug, BF.
  • I have had a lot on my plate for some time now and the dog has been nipping as it follows. However, good news from surgeon on DIL’s ankle yesterday saw me wake up feeling much better than for a long time. Hopefully things may be on the improve also now in other matters.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Sorry to read, Loth.

    Hurrah for good news, and may the upward swing continue.
  • Climacus, I came up with the image of the 'Black Slug', after having been gently rebuked by a certain Shipmate for whom 'Black Dog' conjured up a much more positive picture (think 'black Labrador puppies) than a personification of depression!

    It's the slow, slimy, persistence of a Black Slug, as it slithers balefully towards its goal, which rather appealed, IYSWIM.

  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Purgatory Host
    Thank you very much!
  • JacobsenJacobsen Shipmate
    Does the image of a black spider ring any bells for people? There is a substantial example which lurks behind my loo cistern, comes out, and runs back behind when disturbed. My house tends to be spider hotel, as there are trees in the street, and the garden backs onto a recreation ground with more trees. Occasionally one runs across the living room floor. Even more occasionally, one skitters over me when I'm in bed! I can make a connection between that and the disturbing thoughts which can pop up out of the blue.

    We could start a black beast zoo of the different kinds of creature which exemplify the way depression can manifest itself. :hushed:
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited March 2018
    My house is home to the eight-legged fright-monsters too. A rather large specimen towered over me while I was in the kitchen getting a drink the other day. He/she seems to have disappeared after sitting there for a day or three. So my black spider does not scuttle away but hovers around, an image I can identify with.

    As with BF's slug. On Sunday I woke up at 3am needing to pee and noticed a slug crawling out of the shower drain to pay a visit. It was gone by sunbreak. Not quite the noon-day demon, but disturbing enough.

    That's ignoring the European wasps which set up home outside my door. Angry little buggers. That's me coming down off a high.

    A baby magpie in spring sat outside my door screeching for some worms. It never let up until mum finally came. Not sure I act like that when I want to talk: hope not!

    There are my 4 animals for the zoo Jacobsen. :smiley:
  • Hmm. I've always regarded spiders as rather useful and helpful beasties, playing their part in keeping numbers of other beasties down. They all - even the Black Slug - have their place in God's Economy.

    I think.

  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Purgatory Host
    I had my penultimate session with the clinical psychologist today. The final session will be a review meeting in 7 months time! As I won't be signed off until then, I can ask for another appointment at any time if I feel the need. So I have a safety net for the immediate future.

    Between now and the final meeting, she wants me to be more focused on "self-care" in the form of exercise, fresh air, etc. Plus, she thinks that the North East Man and I need to work on our relationship. She pointed out that our relationship has very strong roots, but we don't seem to be producing much in the way of fresh foliage, flowers or fruit. So that's a challenge.

    I cannot praise the NHS and EMDR enough. I have felt guilty that so many hours of EMDR were provided for me, when soldiers struggle to get treatment for PTSD, but she said that it is obvious quickly whether EMDR will work or not. I got such a long course because it was obvious that it was going to work for me.

    Since starting I have been able to increase my working hours (YAY!). The future is feeling slightly scary in an about-to-get-onto-a-rollercoaster way, which is so much better than the sort of scary it used to feel.

    Also, I feel that something has shifted / is shifting, faith-wise. For a long time, my faith in God was strong, but my faith in my own ability to discern God was pretty much non-existent. I was intellectually committed, and ticking the boxes, but shying away from anything more experiential. And now, well, who knows?

    (We didn't discuss faith at all in the sessions, btw)

  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    That all sounds wonderfully positive, NEQ - long may it continue!
  • Yea and Amen - well done, NEQ!

  • That sounds brilliant NEQ - I know a young girl who has been offered EMDR to help her overcome PTSD, and it has taken her a while to be ready to do so.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Thanks for sharing NEQ, and wonderful to read. Best wishes from Down Under.

    And thanks for sharing the faith side. I can identify with what you wrote.
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