I Had a Black Dog His Name Was Depression

Depression - The Silent Attacker

 Just because you cannot see it doesn’t mean it is not there!

In this article

When a person is experiencing depression, it can often feel very difficult to express or articulate to other people. It can also be challenging for other people who do not realise what is happening if they are not familiar with depression.  This can often cause confusion as to why a person (going through depression) may be acting erratically or holding themselves back in life.

As a personal note, I had depression myself for many years and even though on the outside I had a successful career, friends, relationships, an active social life and many hobbies…. BUT many times through the day, I just felt like hiding away. This caused quite a lot of confusion to the people around me.

What is depression?

The term depression is often a miss used phrase. If depression is to be understood and therefore worked through, we need to understand what is actually is…

Depression is an effect not a cause.

Depression is the end result of the mind and body being in a permanently active state of overwhelm of anxiety and stress.

When the physical body and emotional energy reserves are running extremely low (or hyper stressed / burnout) the mind will try to protect the entire system.
It does this by retreating to reserve as much energy as possible.
The purpose for this is to recover and restore the physical energy.
The reason for doing this is the body is trying to survive. If the energy keeps being used without restoring, the body will become ill.  

“Depression is not a cause…it is an effect!”

So what causes depression? (Anxiety)

As mentioned, depression is an end result of the body using too much energy and then not having time to recover. What is causing the body to being in a heighted state (or high stress) is anxiety.

Please refer to the other articles I have written on anxiety for further details. But in short, anxiety is a negative pre projection of the future created in the imagination or the internal cinema screen of upcoming event.

An example would be if a person has a fear of rejection from their friends, (this may not be true) but if their mind assumes it is then they will trigger the fight or flight reaction in their body. This then releases adrenalin into the body causing them to use physical energy at a higher rate. If this higher rate of energy use is not lessened or rebalanced, the body becomes exhausted and the person will retreat in an attempt to recover.

Very often though this ‘retreating’ is unconscious and the person will just assume they are tired and want to rest. Unfortunately though when the body is trying to rest a person can use negative self talk, such as “I’m weak and pathetic”, but they are not…they are just exhausted. Very often people assume that depression is the issue, but in reality it is the anxiety that is the cause of their exhaustion.

How to recognise depression

Although this is by no means a full list, here is an outline of some f the things people can experience when in the grip of depression

How you may feel

  • down, upset or tearful
  • restless, agitated or irritable
  • guilty, worthless and down on yourself
  • empty and numb
  • isolated and unable to relate to other people
  • a sense of unreality
  • no self-confidence or self-esteem
  • hopeless and despairing
  • suicidal

How you may behave

  • avoiding social events and activities 
  • self-harming or suicidal behaviour
  • finding it difficult to speak or think clearly
  • losing interest in sex
  • increased smoking, drinking or drugs
  • difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • feeling tired all the time
  • no appetite or erratic eating
  • restless and agitated

VIDEO...I had a black dog

A picture says a thousand words and a video says a thousand pictures. When researching the term depression, I came across this extremely well made video on you tube which explains depression very well. 

Sometimes having depression can make a person feel they have the weight of the world on their shoulders, and in many ways they may have. Not only that, they may have to hold down a job, look after children, socialise, exercise or many times even getting out of bed and putting clothes on can be a huge chore.  


To conclude this, maybe start to use the term ‘exhaustion’ when thinking of the term depression. Depression can often feel elusive and sinister, but exhaustion is an effect of a cause. Sometime just knowing this can remove a great pressure.

Depression is a serious concern! Although many people are starting to understand the symptoms in themselves and others there are still many people who see it as a weakness.

Also there are other people who do not understand depression (or maybe do not want to) understand. Depression can sometimes appear to come and go when it pleases…. but it isn’t random. There will always be a trigger! Something will have happened (sometimes even apparently tiny triggers) that will have set off an emotional reaction.

Please remember…..depression is your mind trying to cope when there is internal conflict…..you are NOT insane or weak or weird…..YOU ARE HUMAN! Trust me on this as I have been there and worked through it, so be cautious of people telling you to ‘smile’ or be happier as its not that easy! There is a way through it all but you need to know the strategy.

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