Black Dogs and mental shit in general

PINT of Stella. mate!

One Scotch & Joke
Dunno about you lot but I've had an eye on this whole Germanwings air crash tragedy and it now seems like the co-pilot was suffering from serious depression, following the discovery of torn-up sick notes and other evidence (they've not elaborated but I'm thinking an iTunes library stock full of Nine Inch Nails, Leonard Cohen and Elliot Smith maybe?)

Joking aside, I dunno if we've ever had a proper discussion on mental health- particularly depression- here on RB and y'know what? It's about fucking time we did because it's such an insidious pervasive prick of a thing that can affect almost anyone.

Obviously ending your despair by taking 150 people with you is a total arsehole move and its one that will no doubt raise plenty of angry opinions over the next few days across all forms of media but I still think there needs to be at least a proper widespread discussion on the matter that doesn't end with total castigation of the responsible party and instead maybe helps people to wake up to just how serious a problem it is.

First off, I'm going to declare a conflict of interest in this argument as I suffer from depression myself. I'm not the only one here either. There have been many Farkers and RBers over the years who have alluded to their issues on here and that's not surprising. Everybody gets a bit sad sometimes and it's not a binary "you're depressed/ you're not" argument. For some people it cuts closer to the bone regardless of how well they appear to be doing in life. Others maybe not but the seeds are still there and it doesn't take much for them to sprout. Anyway, it's a lot more common than you'd think.

I know we get Beyond Blue adverts telling us this every day and I can't fault them for that but it still hasn't seemed to have shifted the widespread perception that there is somehow a difference between often feeling down and feeling suicidal. External factors like unemployment, relationship breakdowns, drug and alcohol abuse etc are often looked upon as being causes rather than symptoms and I think that needs to be addressed.

Then we've got the frankly offensive stance that depressed people are often just seeking pity and suicide victims are taking the easy way out (or are attention seeking if they fail first time around)

I remember when I was a teen just after Kurt Cobain shot himself, Gene Simmons of Kiss had a rant about grunge music and how he just couldn't understand how Cobain who was a multi-platinum selling blonde-haired blue-eyed Rock God at the time still felt the need to take his 'tortured artist' persona to the absolute limit and blow his head off? As boorish and ignorant as Simmons views came across (and there's no doubt that that quasi-fascist knob was genuine in his disregard), I think he'd inadvertently hit the nail on the head
as Cobain literally had the world at his feet. The dude was a bonafide superstar at that stage, managing to be young, good looking and immensely successful without ever 'selling out' his artistic integrity.

Yet he still stuck a gun in his mouth despite the fact he could still have achieved immortality in the same way the likes of Bob Dylan, Bb King, Lou Reed, Paul McCartney and a whole host of other living legends who were as kicking around around at the same time managed.

If that doesn't tell you there was something fundamentally wrong, I don't know what will.

Anyway, "tortured artist syndrome" is something that effects only arty types, eh? Bollocks.

That shit can sneak up on you to the point where it seems normal and almost logical and no matter how supportive your friends and family will be, it can still be incredibly daunting to reveal your problems to them. Likewise you can make the big step and address your problems with them and they will be supportive and it will help but further down the track when everyone thinks you've gotten over it, that big black dog will rear its ugly head again and you may find it harder to express your concerns as you don't want to be 'that needy/depressing prick'


P<oh! quick rant> I reckon blanketing everything with the phrase 'depression' is a bit daft. It's like calling somebody 'Asian.' Everyone in the 2-3 billion people from Japan to Israel (via India, Indonesia and most of Russia) are technically Asian. Same goes for depression. There's feeling down, there's feeling chronically down and there's crossing the thin line where it can go to the loss of all rational thought. Thankfully most people will experience only the occasional bouts of it but the unlucky few who get into the chronic and suicidal stage need more help.

Fuck knows how we can do that as a society mind you. There's noone with a working crystal ball or Professor X powers but I suppose all them adverts for beyond blue, men's sheds and the like who stress the importance of talking out your problems can't be doing a bad thing. They are always there at the end of a phone line and I suppose fuck it, if there's one good thing we can do here as a community on Rotorburn we can give anyone who wants a public forum for expressing their doubts and insecurities under a guise of relative anonymity.

So yeah, I guess this thread should be an opportunity for anyone out there to discuss their own relationships with depression or any other mental health issues. Feel free to post whatever's troubling you. We're generally a good, supportive bunch on here. Alternatively feel free to lurk and just see how everyone else who posts here are dealing with things. You'll probably find there are people who are more than happy to chat on a PM basis if you're still nervous about declaring to the wider RB community that you might have issues of your own.

Anyway. Fucking peace out, yo!
 

johnny

I'll tells ya!
Staff member
Not long ago Rotorburn lost one of it's moderating staff to depression.

A number of us knew this person in real life, he and his family. None of suspected he was doing it tough, the first thing we knew was when we were contacted.

I don't know anything about depression and can't say anything other than I miss my friend and I wish there was something I could have done to help him though the hard times.
 
Last edited:

Bermshot

Banned
Tackling 'the black dog'
image.jpg

Churchill (the bulldog) was pretty chronic, amongst plenty that rise to such heights.

It is a known suffering amongst achievers that have a conscience, those same achievers without a conscience are..well.....you know.
 
Last edited:

Kingray7

Likes Bikes
Just a great post there PINT. Unfortunately I've experienced lots of this stuff and recall the very dark days all too well. Those who haven't been there don't appear to get it. It also seems to affect sufferers in so many different ways, so the solution for one may not be the same for another. So many things to discuss and could go on, but won't. The one thing I will say is riding bikes really helps me. And I mean REALLY.
 

Pastavore

Eats Squid
Good on you for sharing POSM. I certainly don't suffer from the black dog, mine is more of the playful scatterbrained puppy kind. But I have had a lot of friends and family with mental health issues right across the spectrum.

Having friends you can talk to and turn to is incredibly important, but so is seeking professional help when it is necessary. Getting the right treatment can make a huge difference.
 

link1896

Wheel size expert
Great post POSM. I feel there is a strong sense of community here at RB

Personally, I take 4 vitamin d capsules a day to keep me on an even keel. Has worked wonders for the last 2 years, even though the Mayo clinic states vitamin D use for mood control has "Unclear scientific evidence for this use". If I miss two days of vitamin d, I notice.

I could write a book about my wife's twin sister, and the situations we've been through for the last 5 years. She's the only person in Victoria to be diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, as in multiple personalities, in the last two years according to her primary psychiatrist. She also has extreme depression. Two of the personalities are suicidal. If anyone has seen the tv series "United States of Tara", it portrays the tangled web of personalities, but puts a happy Hollywood spin on so many of the antics, in reality its scary and challenging to everyone. Throw in a young child and a shattered marriage and it gets really messy.

What this sad situation has revealed is how fucked the psychiatric field, and the health system in this country is. Psych health is 20-30 years behind other fields of medicine. Electro Shock Therapy, Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is still considered the primary weapon of choice. Apply enough voltage to the brain to induce seizures. This is intended brain damage to erase memories and brake connections in the brain. Erases the bad, and good memories. It's barbaric, leaves untold damage, memories are eventually recovered and leaves the victim terribly confused, with the cognitive ability of a 12 year old. Due to ECT's resultant damage, no peer reviewed, published studies has been conducted where a non depressed control group have been subjected to the treatment for comparison. Ironic isn't it? Two years ago I spent a month digesting and understanding the most recently published ECT case study of approx 100 patients around the East Cost USA, and bombarded my SIL's psychiatrist (who's an associate professor at one of Melbourne's prestigious Unis). We had a 90 minute debate, he did appreciate how long I'd researched the paper and expressed his desire for his students to do something similar. :) Years prior to the SIL's brake down, the extended family would compete online via IQ tests (yes, odd). SIL before her brake down, she had an IQ of about 130. After ECT it would be <70 at best.



The public system is chronically under funded, there are no where near enough psych beds. Public hospital psych triage dumps anyone not a threat to the general community, and only a threat to themselves, back out into the community inside 24 hrs, 48 hrs max. Bring into the ED a family member, via the cops, who had one leg over the hand rail of the overpass on the freeway, be ready to collect them next day. Being a private health patient with serious psych problems is a mess because the private hospitals cannot make you involuntary, only the state can via public hospitals. An at risk psych patient, when in crisis, needs a 7-10 day period where they are made involuntary, but this is close to un-achievable. Throw in a 1000 meth junkies and the system is flooded. I witnessed a meth junkie go crazy in an ED to the point 4 cops, 2 orderlies and 2 ambos lost control of the situation. Meth is only going to make things far worse for the public health system. We had a meth junky jump the rear fence and loose his shit in the back garden, scared the shit out of the wife. My american friends were quick to cite their "right to carry" spiel. Maybe for the first time, I agree. Wife was unable to move due to broken legs, cops took 30 minutes to respond to a frantic phone call from a woman saying there is a guy trying to brake into my house whilst I am home yelling he is going to kill me.

Thanks to the taboos around mental health issues that won't go away any time soon, people will do their hardest to hide their illness. It will have some significant implication to the aviation industry if its found to be the cause of the latest tragedy in the French alps.
 
Last edited:

John U

MTB Precision
Got diagnosed last year. Decided to go down the therapy route. Took some time but I was ready to finish the therapy by the end of the year.

Still have bad days but I can now recognise when I am having them more easily. I'm just not sure how to get out of the funk sometimes. Just hope that it'll pass sooner rather than later. Talking about it helps heaps. It is an ongoing thing. More bike riding, more exercise, has improved things.

Hardest thing for me so far was acknowledging I had a problem and going to see a doctor to talk about it when looking at my life I have nothing to complain about. Booking the appointment and then actually going to it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But it was well worth the effort.
 

ajay

^Once punched Jeff Kennett. Don't pick an e-fight
Then we've got the frankly offensive stance that depressed people are often just seeking pity and suicide victims are taking the easy way out (or are attention seeking if they fail first time around)
This.

I had to literally clean up a house that looked like it was part of a horror film after a friends "failed attempt". It was a terrifyingly horrific scene. There was no attention seeking in that, it was a deep seeded need to be away from the world that he lived in. He wanted out more than we could possibly have imagined but police intervention saved him, that time. Not long after, he was successful.

Previous to that, I had not seen depression in full swing. I learned in the worst way that it's a dark treacherous beast, and for some, there's only one way to escape it.

Beyond Blue, Lifeline, and all the other organisations do great work, but no amount of "are you OK?" helped. He had an amazing group of friends and family and we were all acutely aware of the situation. What could we have done? It's a question that has plagued me for years.

I'm not entirely sure why I'm posting this as the question is somewhat rhetorical... a bit of an 'unload' I guess.
 
Last edited:

Boom King

Wheel size expert
I lost five years wrestling with the black dog.

It was only through my incredibly tolerant, supportive and understanding wife that I managed to get some help.

In my experience, one of the hardest things is realising that you have a problem and then seeking help. The descent happens so slowly that everything seems normal, shitty but normal.

I chose to try methods that didn't involve medication and was lucky enough to have a psychologist that specialised in hypnotherapy just down the road. This worked really well but I would have explored more traditional treatment if it hadn't. She explained to me on my first visit that the brain becomes addicted to the dodgy chemicals it produces and craves them, rather than the euphoric type such as endorphins. The pattern needs to be broken in some way.

This is simplistic but made perfect sense to me. It's why things like regular exercise, good eating etc are recomended to keep the brain healthy.

That was seven years ago now. Whilst I consider myself to be in a much more healthy state of mind since treatment, I wouldn't say I'm completely out of the woods. I still have periods where I can hear that bastard dog padding behind me, sometimes even looking over my shoulder to see the smile in his eyes.

I'm not sure I'll ever be completely free although I look forward to it but at least I can now recognise triggers and have strategies to minimse the fog.

Looking back, I can clearly see three specific events over 2 years that compounded to send me spiralling but as I said, it was a slow and insipid descent that made how I felt seem normal.

There is no simple solution but we all need to be supportive of friends and family, talk to each other, LISTEN to each other. If we feel someone has a problem, tread gently but don't take no for an answer. It may take a very long time for them to realise but they have to or there is no escape.
 
Last edited:

Flow-Rider

Wheel size expert
Good on you POSM for bringing this up, I'm pretty sure that most people at some time in their life will be affected by some type or form of depression. Some people are very good at hiding it and it can effect anyone.
 

mtb1611

Seymour
In the first few years of this century I was a deputy principal at a very large primary school in South Western Sydney. At the time I was (in hindsight) embarrassingly ignorant of mental health issues; I'd never encountered it before (again in hindsight I now realise I had) and knew very little other than words like "depression", "bipolar" and "anxiety".

One of the teachers I supervised was one of the most beautiful women I've ever met - tall, pretty, amazing body, always looked immaculate, just incredibly attractive. She was funny, intelligent and easily one of the school's best teachers. One morning a student came into my office and said "Mr Matthews, Miss % is in the storeroom, she's crying and she can't get up". So I hurried over, thinking she'd had an accident and there she was on the storeroom floor in the fetal position, sobbing uncontrollably. I ushered her class into the next room and had to physically pick her up and carry her to my office. We called her sister, who said she'd meet us at the local Mental Health Centre. I took Miss % down there and she was eventually discharged (I picked her up because her arsehole husband was "too busy" - rest assured he and I had words and he never came near me or the school again), returning to work a week later. She came to see me and told me she had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and asked me to be her workplace support person. At the time our twin boys were 4 months old so I was pretty snowed under but what could I say?

To cut a long story short whilst the whole process was incredibly emotionally draining it turned out to be the best professional learning exercise I've every undertaken. It taught me a hell of a lot about mental health issues, how prominent and common they are, how indiscriminate they are and most importantly just how very real and debilitating they are. Miss % presented as nigh on the perfect person yet truly believed for a time that if the ground opened up and swallowed her no-one would miss her and that the world would be a better place without her - made me realise in a very confronting manner that if someone as amazing as her could genuinely believe this then yes, mental health issues were very real and very debilitating.

Fortunately she's great now, she's married, has a child, is still teaching and we're still close friends. Mental health issues are very real and something we all need to educate ourselves on. I'm now a principal at an even larger primary school in South Western Sydney and child mental health figures quite prominently, to the point that most of our Student Welfare Team's work revolves around mental health - anxiety, suicidal thoughts, societal and parental pressure, pressure to succeed and so on - yes, in a primary school. One of the three strategic directions of our 2015-17 School plan has as its focus student mental health and resilience and a large number of my staff are shortly attending KidsMatter professional learning workshops which they'll then run with the rest of staff - teaching, support, and ancillary.

Information is out there and easily accessible in easy-to-read language so that we're all better informed and therefore better equipped to look out for each other. The lack of funding all governments - state and federal, all parties - direct towards mental health is an utter disgrace and barely even qualifies as lip service.

Great topic POSM, thanks for raising it; given my experiences and occupation (have also lost a couple of friends to depression-related issues) it's something very close to my heart.
 
Last edited:

PINT of Stella. mate!

One Scotch & Joke
Thanks for your responses so far folks.

In my case I've found lethargy and apathy to be major symptoms. It tends to hit me more when I'm on leave rather than away at work particularly if I'm at home for a long time. I had it bad a couple of times last year where everything seemed utterly hopeless. After the last time I went to seek some help from my local GP. He referred my to a psychologist. Unfortunately in my typical half-arsed fashion I never followed it up - I had to go away back to work and that actually brought me out of my slump. Since then I've not had it anywhere near as bad but I know it's probably waiting in the wings.
 

stirk

Wheel size expert
POSM, lovely post mate. I can relate. I spent 5 years in a drug and alcohol self induced coma after separating from my first wife and daughter. Still to this day have issues and guilt but thankfully have turned the corner.

This forum certainly lifts my spirits!

I don't personally don't know any of you on the forum yet but gain so much from our online interactions.

Thanks guys!
 

mtb1611

Seymour
POSM, lovely post mate. I can relate. I spent 5 years in a drug and alcohol self induced coma after separating from my first wife and daughter. Still to this day have issues and guilt but thankfully have turned the corner.

This forum certainly lifts my spirits!

I don't personally don't know any of you on the forum yet but gain so much from our online interactions.

Thanks guys!
Good to hear that the dark days are behind you stirk; and we all encounter issues and guilt, perfectly normal. Except remorse, I feel bad about never feeling remorse..... ;-)
 

slowmick

Eats Squid
My wife is from the country. she has seen her fair share of family and friends be brought down by the black dog from the hard life of wokring on / running a farm. She laments the loss of the pub culture for young fellas. Guys her dad's age used to get together after work, have a few beers and actually talk. time for boys to be boys and take a moment out from the world. She is a big fan of me and my friends going for a ride together. Go out and talk with your mates. Say all the stuff you don't want to say to your wife. give the guys without partners someone to talk to. We try to keep everyone riding. speed is set so that no-one feels like they are not welcome. Rotorburn is an awesome community with a lot of genuine people. real life contact is important too though. big props to anyone who is wiling to say that they have problems with the black dog. the less it is hidden, the more chance we have to help people.
 

stirk

Wheel size expert
Good to hear that the dark days are behind you stirk; and we all encounter issues and guilt, perfectly normal. Except remorse, I feel bad about never feeling remorse..... ;-)
Normal is expected.

Is anyone normal?
 
Top