My Depression Won’t Stop Chasing Me

The dream begins the same way each time. I am being chased. No matter how hard I try, I can only move in slow motion. I struggle to breathe. The black dog gains on me, closer and closer.

I try to scream, but no sound comes out. I think, “Where is everyone?!” I am alone and terrified in the darkness. Panic begins to set in. My heart is racing. The black dog gains on me. I can hear his growls, and there is nothing I can do. The pounding of my heart now drowns out everything else.

I am frozen. No one is there to help me. The black dog jumps on top of me. Smothering, crushing, darkness. I would say I wake up, but it is not a dream. It is my life. The black dog is my depression, and it is only a matter of time until he comes for me again. When he does come, I can’t outrun him. I can’t scream for help. I am alone in the darkness.

While I know I do not have to fight the black dog alone, he always manages to isolate me each time my nightmare begins again. Even though I know better, I run from my black dog each time I encounter him. I avoid the painful emotions he brings and shut myself off from the world.

This is almost always how it starts. It works for a time, and I think, “This time I won’t let the black dog win.” If I just avoid the feelings long enoughIf I just avoid everyone… It never works.

Once I am isolated, the black dog begins to suffocate me. He fills my mind with the same loop of tape, “You are a failure. You are worthless. You are a burden. They would be better off without you.”

Alone in the darkness, these lies make perfect sense. They grow louder and louder until they drown out every other sound. The weight of them physically takes my breath from me.

The black dog is standing on my chest by now. I begin to panic. I know what he wants. I am alone in the darkness, trapped and frozen when he whispers this time, “They will be better off without you.” I know he is right, for I believe his lies. My heart pounds. This is my last chance. I must act now.

Using the last ounce of strength I possess, I reach out for help. My family takes me to the hospital, and I slowly wake from my nightmare. The black dog fades toward the background and my life resumes, until the next time depression comes for me.

Image via Thinkstock.

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