Adrift with the Black Dog: We Are Wild Ones

Depression is a common mental health issue and is one of the greatest illnesses that we as human beings can battle with on a daily basis, yet it is still so invisible in our society and has claimed so many lives to date. There are many things that can cause depression from chemical inbalances in the brain to hormone changes. It is more than ordinary sadness and often works alongside anxiety, OCD and many others. However, it is treatable and I encourage anyone who needs support to reach out. You’re not alone.

It’s never easy to talk about the dark days that threaten to consume you, much less put them on the internet. When the ‘black dog‘ of depression starts barking in the corner and the need to escape becomes overwhelming, it can be powerful in its force which in that very moment you cannot possibly attempt to challenge it. It can be difficult to put into words. Its not an easy topic to talk about but Patrick Cotter has done just that.

Some time ago, I stumbled upon a Youtube series that, originally for me, was just about seeing new sights in different cultures that had been documented on the road. This changed when a notification on my phone led me to a new upload. ‘Lost to the Archives’ was uploaded several days ago and it still has me muddled in my own feelings today. In his video, Patrick Cotter discusses his own battle with mental health and that need to escape the ‘black dog’ during a short break away in Thailand, but he did it in a creative artform. I was so inspired by the creativity used in discussing his own battle with mental health and I found myself wanting to reply but in my form of chosen creativity:

 It's the black dog isn't it?
It's sitting there in the corner watching, barking at you
It follows you during the day
and it follows you through the night. 
Sometimes you cant see it, but its always there,
Lingering in the background.
And the dog's name was depression.

Pat, thank you for sharing your story, it’s never easy but the way in which you expressed your truth now has me contemplating mine. Over the years I have battled with the loss of my creative outlets; my voice and my art. Watching your video has given me back that sprinkle of creativity to use my voice once more to discuss real life topics that affect everyone, not just in your country or mine, but around the world.

Your video left me in a state of shock, because in my own battle with mental health I did the exact same thing as you. Over the course of several years I ran to various places over the world in the search for peace and tranquility whenever the dog started barking and the cloud became thicker. My own attempt to escape took me to the same place that you did. The airport acted as a portal of disconnect from the world, but it was in the sea that I first attempted find my true peace. Adrift, surrounded by the silence of being underwater and I pursued it to the deepest depth that I could go. For me it was a blessing and a curse, it made me stop and enjoy the silence without that damn barking dog, but at that time in my life I couldn’t operate in the silence that the ocean allowed. It was the threat of the return that stopped me from living in that moment.

I didn’t think it was possible to cry while underwater, somehow I managed it though.

Over time I have managed to put a leash on the dog and restrict his access to me. I am not always successful, there are days that are still dark and the barking is uncontrollable. Instead I have chosen progression and acceptance. I know now that it is okay to be vulnerable, to have those days that feel dark, because we all have them. Now when those days of darkness come and I feel myself adrift, I choose kindess instead. The kindness can be small or it can be big, it depends on the day, but in so doing I am being kind to me and the dog that follows behind.

 It's the dog isn't it?
It's sitting there in the corner watching, 
It follows you during the day
and it follows you through the night. 
Sometimes you cant see it, but its always there,
Lingering in the background,
but today I decided to give it a new name, 
And so the dog's name was kindness.
Now I am adrift in the silence of the ocean, 
 but I am not afraid for I have found peace. 
In this moment  I am A Wild One.

Thank you Patrick Cotter for sharing your light.

If you, or someone you know is in need of help, its okay to speak up:


Samartians 08457 90 90 90

HopeLine UK 0800 068 4141


Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

The Trevor Project (LGBT) 866-488-7386

HopeLine (800) 442-4673


Lifeline Australia 13 11 14

Mensline: 1300 78 99 78

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