Sunday, 13 April 2014

A visit from the black dog

For the last thirty years or so I have been prone to bouts of depression ... or as Churchill used to call it, the black dog.

Mine started when I had a breakdown due to over-work and stress, and after treatment that lasted over a year I was able to return to full-time employment ... but the depressive episodes returned every so often. The big difference was that when they did, I knew what strategies I needed to adopt to get through them.

Over time the black dog has 'visited' me more and more infrequently, and the intensity of the episodes has decreased. Since I retired I have had a few minor episodes. They were all brought on by something stressful that I had to deal with ... such as my father's death. They generally lasted a few days - a week at most - and then they passed and my life returned to normal.

Last night I noticed the first signs that an episode was starting:
  • I developed a headache that did not respond to normal painkillers
  • I had difficulty concentrating on anything for more than a few minutes
  • I felt very tired but could not sleep
  • I had difficulty focusing my eyes and my peripheral vision decreased
  • My physical coordination went to pot and I seemed to become very clumsy
Overnight the symptoms have not improved. I have therefore decided to forgo blogging and any wargame-related activity for a day or so until the black dog leaves. With luck this will not be a long break ... but what I do know is that such a break will help me get back to normal all the quicker.


  1. Bob,
    Have a well-deserved break from everything and send that black dog packing!
    Get Well soon,

  2. Sorry to hear that Bob. Take care of yourself and we'll see you when you get back.

  3. Best wishes Bob. He's not the most confrting companion to have, I hope his visit will be brief.

    Always a seat by the fire for you here.


  4. Depression is not an amiable companion; take the break and hope you feel better soon!

  5. The black dog visits me too...
    I hope he doesn't stay with you too long.
    Take care and take it easy.

  6. Thank you for sharing that you suffer from depression. I had a bit this winter after a stressful semester. Take care.

  7. Make sure you take the time you need and get on the mend.

  8. Bob
    The black dog is not a welcome visitor. Getting off line is a good idea - I suggest a long walk wife your wife.
    Take care PD

  9. Best Wishes Bob

    I hope this Black Dog disappears soon, to help try thinking of a CoW instead ;)

    CoW =
    Conference of Wargamers for the uninformed ;)

  10. Sorry to hear the black dog is visiting you. Take care of yourself! We will be waiting for you when you feel up to returning.

  11. Never a pleasant visitor, but at least you have the strategies to cope. A break from the net is always a good idea. I hope it is a short term visit for you.

  12. Hope you are back on form soon Bob. All your friends will be waiting here for you when your spirits have revived.

  13. Hang in there, Bob. The sooner you can get the Black Dog neutered, the better! I've managed to keep mine pretty much penned up for awhile now, thanks to some meds, and the support of friends. Know that we are all keeping you in our thoughts.


  14. Do fifty push-ups or walk five miles. You'll be so god-damned tired you'll pass out and feel better upon waking. Pretend you're a U. S. Marine for five minutes.

  15. All the best, Bob, look after yourself.

  16. Echoing Jubilo's comments, I always find exercise (usually a gentle walk down the river is enough) might help. Whatever you do, hope things pick up soon.


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