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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

From Black Dogs to Greyish Puppies

I know many of you are assailed by black dogs in various forms, sizes and shades... I am too and have been medicated against such canine visitors for quite some time. However, during pregnancy I have to cut down - in fact I put my two miscarriages down to the fact that I had not reduced my medication. I've done fairly well considering, but as I come to the last few weeks of pregnancy I've started seeing signs of the black dog's return - a bone here, a distant howl there. Much of this is due to the fact that I'm so damned frustrated at my inability to do what I want to do. There are jobs and tasks that I cannot physically do, things I have to do that sap my small reserve of energy, and things that I just don't have the energy to do, no matter how much I want to. And being at home now I'm all the more aware of what I'm not doing. To the ordinary person it would seem that this is a phase that will pass.

To me it is a sign of my inherit failure to be and do all that I should.

I'm totally aware of the folly of that statement. I found it beautifully described recently in Romulus, My Father by Raimond Gaita, speaking of his father's battle with mental illness:

My father's strength of character had much to do with his recovery, but it could not have been only to to that. Stability in character goes hand-in-hand with a capacity for steady judgment which insanity undermines. The terror of insanity lies mainly in the fact that one cannot overcome or even properly confront it through any direct application of thought and will, and so one feels desperately helpless. Often the will can only be exercised indirectly, supported by medicines or by psychotherapy, but the resolve to persist in these supports itself is constantly undermined. And often one cannot rely on one's mind because that too has been at least partially lost to the illness.

His father was obviously a very sick man. But the bit that resonated with me was that 'one cannot overcome or even properly confront it through any direct application of thought and will'.

I don't know that there is any point to this post, except that I hope in writing it down that I may accept this is the way it is for a little while to come, and this illness does not define who I am.

Beyond Blue
Post and Antenatal Depression Association Inc (PaNDa)
Black Dog Institute


Bells said...

Hey Naomi - sorry to hear you're struck down. Really sorry. I imagine the last days/weeks of pregnancy are hard enough without the dogs as well. I can only just say that I hope writing it down helped and that you're able to have some family support and to be kind to yourself.

Michelle said...

Hi Naomi,

What Bells said, plus a lot of love and thoughts your way.


Georgie said...

Very sorry to hear things are tough right now.

As Bells said - be kind to yourself, and if you need or want anything, you only have to yell.

Hugs xx

gilda said...

hello... things must be really hard. i'm sorry to hear it. take care!