The term the black dog has been used throughout the centuries before being made famous by Winston Churchill’s chilling account of his own battle with the black dog of depression in the 1930’s.
We quite often find ourselves in times of self doubt, self pity, hate and uncertainty that we seem to focus more and more of the negativities in life and forget about the positives. I myself discovered I was suffering depression due to family abuse and break up dating back as far as 1976.
I had grown up in a family affected by sexual, physical and emotional abuse with both a father and a step-father that had unfortunately left me psychologically and emotionally scared to the point that I trusted no one. I inherited this self destructive behavior from my own family, and for years found it hard to communicate and even deal with people.
I ended up homeless on the streets of Kings Cross Sydney in 1985 at the age of 15 where I was surrounded by street kids, bikie gangs, drug dealers, sex workers, drag queens, transvestites, corrupt cops and extreme violence.
I had gone through life working jobs short term, this isn’t because they were short term jobs, this was mainly due to my attitude. I would work for months and sometimes years with no problems when all of a sudden, out of the blue something would go wrong and I would not let it go. I would always blow it up to be bigger than what it was. I would attack not so much other workers but senior employers, I would challenge them, talk down to them, intimidate and often fight them.
I could see that I was putting my loved ones through hell, particularly my wife. In April of 2017 I wrote a short 15 page story to myself about my life and some of the things I had been through to see if I could make any sense of my life. After quite a bit of soul searching and internal conflict I decided to let my wife and my mother in-law read it. My mother in-law cried while reading this as she had always seen me as this hard person and could now see why.
My wife convinced me to expand on this as she knew there was a lot in this story that I had not said and she believed it would help me to understand everything I had been through a lot better, both the good and the bad if I wrote it down. I decided to do this and I was blown away by, not only how much I remembered, but how much detail and how all these situations made me feel, even just thinking about them. I grew up feeling alone whilst in my family, I felt scared, overwhelmed, anxious, angry, hateful, but mostly I felt hurt. Not because of the abuse, I grew used to that, but I was hurt that I had absolutely no protection from any of this at home, not even from my mother. She would constantly tell me that this was all my own doing, that I was bringing this all down on myself.
I know there are a lot of people out there that know exactly what I am talking about from their own experiences, but there was one thing I could also see by doing this that it wasn’t all bad times, there where some good times as well, and although I may not have been able to help what happened to me as a child I now see that the negativity I was so focused on while growing up certainly dictated where my life headed as an adult.
Everything we do in life, every decision we make is based on emotion, how we feel about a situation or someone, previous things that have happened to us. How we react to these situations determines the direction our life will go, once we understand this basic principal we can make the fundamental changes within our lives needed to achieve positive outcomes.
Everyone is different when it comes to the amount of abuse they have endured or the amount of time spent suffering from depression, My hope is to help people discover that although life may not be going your way at this point in time, and let’s be realistic here, things are always going to go wrong from time to time. We don’t have to stay stuck in that moment because of our emotion towards a problem. As Tony Robbins once said, a problem is merely a question that hasn’t been answered yet, If you can’t find a solution to a problem, ask better questions.
You certainly don’t need to beat yourself up about it, acknowledge what has happened by seeing it as it is but not worse than it is and allow yourself to move on, at the end of the day the only thing preventing any of us from being happy is ourselves. I will share with everyone the tips and techniques I have been using to stay focused via blogs, links and apps in future publications.