Grey Dogs


I know it’s supposed to be “black dogs”, for depression, but grey dogs match all my clothes.

I’ve had the uncooperative brain chemicals going on for more than a decade now. These days, they mostly show up in the form of general anxiety. It’s often manageable. It occasionally spikes, and freezes me in place for a while, but I’ve grown used to shifting my life around it, and avoiding its more prominent jutting edges. Those of you who have that perfectionism thing, will understand me when I say that the worst of it is feeling like you are always waiting for conditions to improve, just a little, before you can finally start anything. It’s so easy to develop a false nostalgia for some vague period of time when life seemed relieved of its weight, and everything just came easily. And It’s hard to shut that down – the tendency to create a misery of the present by an endless series of fictional comparisons. It’s one of those human things.

And for the most part, this is actually OK. I mean, I’m terrified of my email inbox, and I have to approach people gathered in groups like I’m being forced to run some do-or-die flesh gauntlet. But this is my normal. It’s well enough, and there is always pie.

Just lately, though, I’ve been in a rougher patch. And things like ever doing laundry, or changing my clothes, or walking to the grocery store (fuck a grocery store!) feel too challenging to contemplate. I know it passes – I do, at least, have some perspective on this. But frankly, it is balls.

I’ve been avoiding Hchom posts because, yes, what I said about putting things offs, and what I said about wearing the same clothes every day (they are quickly becoming a different kind of impossible). And even more, because I fear drawing attention to myself in this state. But it’s important to speak about depression openly, and I have that unfortunate artist’s tendency to feel stifled and miserable unless I can bare-all (which is frustrating, when combined with my reserved introvert desire to bare-nothing, ever).

I don’t want to make any false forecasts of immediate improvement – that comes as it comes. I also don’t want to give an exaggerated impression. I’ve been in that place, where I can’t be bothered to get out of bed, much less leave my dwelling, and I am definitely not there. Rather, it really is like my opening image: I have to go about my normal life, hefting this wilting lump of grey dogs. I get used to them, but they are a heavy, drooling deadweight.

So for now, I’ll hoist those dogs around with me, and maybe in a slightly wider circle (but still not to the grocery store – hissss [luckily, Brandon appears to be ok with fetching things for me, so it all works out]).

In this spirit, I have done as I once threatened, and started a tumblr. And I’ll leave you, now, with the first post. (It hasn’t rained in an entire month, and I am starting to have Vampiric sun-destruction fantasies.)



Filed under Hchom

15 responses to “Grey Dogs

  1. Brandon

    Mariannn, those grey dogs.

  2. I hope your recovery goes well, whether it’s medication or treatment. I have had depression/cyclothimia for over five years now, and I know how terrible it is to not want to let go of those short periods of goodness (or not-so-badness).

  3. I relate to this. I get down pretty easy, even after days of being good. Brains are tricky. I think I’ve been having a better year than previous years, though. I hope you can shake those dogs, even if they are so handsomely drawn. Also, I am excited for your posts on tumblr.

  4. regis l

    Good luck. You are a good egg and I am glad you are sharing this with the world – it’s so powerful just to be open about it.

  5. Oh lawd, it’s ENNUI-NIE. Look at it up there, perching, syphoning, weighting. Tsk tsk tsk.

    I would like your Sol-death fantasy to see fruition; brightness, heat and stifling humidity have been plaguing me of late. Make it so!

    I hope wellness finds you, or you it, or some practicable combination thereof.

  6. Snippety Giblets

    I love your description of general anxiety – spot on ! I hope your dogs run away to the happy hunting ground soon. Meanwhile I offer you a flesh-free virtual hug made of baked goods and shinies :) looking forward very much to enjoying your tumblr.

  7. A fist bump of solidarity to you. I feel those heavy, drooly (yet oh so colour coordinated) grey dogs hanging on. These are some good, hearty, eloquent words on the matter (as always). I wish you some rainy weather and many delicious treasures bought to your door.

  8. miakoda

    And somehow, even under the dogpile of misery, you’ve managed to make at least one follower smile at the dachshund of doom atop the pile. Thank you.

  9. Sandra

    I found your ability to describe what you’re going through really comforting. Maybe because I’ve often felt similarly, yet haven’t known how to reason through it, much less explain it to others. I feel a little less crazy seeing that it can actually be done, and done well.
    Thanks for that.
    I can’t say I know the person you are in the world, but the one you are on the internet is awe inspiring.

  10. I’m visiting your site after having discovered Beast in our library. It has clung to me every since. Having dealt with depression and anxiety for most of my life, I appreciate your frankness in this blog. Thank you!

  11. Tess

    What a wonderful description. I am plagued with a mix of anxiety and depression and can relate to your passage so much. I admire your art and hold it to such a high degree in my mind, so it was a blessing to read your personal notes on depression. For such a talented person whose art I look up to has a shared illness to me, makes me feel a little better about myself. And yes, they are some adorably drawn dogs. I followed your Tumblr as soon as I could!

  12. Kim

    Marian, yer effin’ metal. If I was local to ya I’d leave gluten-free muffin gift boxes on your doorstep with bags of shiny rocks and fancy tea. Okay, so maybe more like if I was local and had met you already. Point is, reading this makes me have supportive thoughts and I’m dumb at words.

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