The Black Dog…

Ok, so please go easy on me.

I decided to put this here – I wanted to do it yesterday, but it was April Fool’s Day, and this is not a joke. Depression is not a joke. In Ireland I’ve often seen it called the Black Dog. I get the idea that it follows you around endlessly but still …seems a little cruel on dogs. My depression sprang up like an aggressive weed six months after I gave birth to my first child. I think most people were surprised, thinking I was out of the danger zone for PND by then. I had an autumn baby which meant long winters stuck indoors at home with my baby and I was genuinely exhausted after six months and the reality of life being changed forever was really sinking in. I was grateful to God for my baby, don’t misunderstand me; I just went from feeling exhausted but happy, to exhausted but depressed; mentally paralyzed; numb; a crushing weight in my mind. It was like the tide seeping in slowly- ¬†wave by wave until you’re drowning.

It lasted about 5 months, and then it just slowly lifted. No medication, no formal therapy, just slowly trying to tell myself that I have to be better for her. I have to make a choice – to live or….Well let’s not finish that. And so I chose to live for love. It didn’t vanish overnight. It just slowly seeped out of me until I was free of its muddy grasp. I thank God that happened. It makes a surprise visit now and then; an unwelcome visitor that I have to fight back out the door.

Anyway, I’m no poet, but I wrote this just after I started feeling better. It has a lot of personal meaning. So please, go easy on me!

The Girl In The Door

At the kitchen table

Could you see what I see?

Out the glass door

I doubt it, really

I’m not looking at flowers

I’m looking at me

Or the reflection I see

Pretending she’s me

Where did my self go

I don’t really know

She’s so dull and so dreary

There’s no healthy glow

Her skin is like ash

Her hair is like rope

Her eyes are like stones

I can no longer cope

It’s hard to say that

I wish you could guess

How low my soul is


The blue sky is charmless

The world is a hole

I’m sinking so swiftly

Silently, unknown

My mind is like ice

Just frozen no thoughts

Please don’t tell me

To go out for a walk

I’m empty, a shell

Trapped and voiceless

In this paralyzed hell

My tea is gone cold

Milk films on the top

How long have I been here?

Time does not stop

Except in my head

It no longer exists

Just a black space expanding

And endless grey mists

How long has she been here

The girl in the door

She whispers back at me

That she’s not really sure

But it’s been a long time

And she’s tired, heart-sore

She doesn’t want to be with me anymore

Can I leave? she asks me

Her eyes dead as stone

I can see she’s in pain

Would be cruel to say no

But the baby is crying

Right here at my breast

And she needs me so much

That I just can’t say yes

Tears on my cheeks

How long I don’t know

A dam is broken

An endless flow

My heart rises up

I look down at her face

Now peaceful, now sleeping

Innocence, grace

I must try, try, try

to get strong for her

But I’m silently haunted

By the girl in the door

I hear you come in now

I feel bad for you

I know it’s not easy

To come home to these two

One is a shadow and one is a shade

And neither are keeping the bargain we made

Your hands wipe my tears now

Your kiss soft and warm

The look in your eyes is so fretful, careworn

I can see that you know now

And I don’t have to say

How hard it is

To get through the day

You hold me and hold me

And slowly I feel

The ice starting to melt

Am I flesh, am I real?

Your love says I am

And that you still see me

Through the ash, rope and stone

To me, to ME

Am I still worth loving?

Your caress says I am

Can I get my self back?

-Yes, one step at a time

I don’t know the steps

-Just follow my lead

I lay my head on your shoulder

-One day you’ll be freed.

Relief fills my heart

I want to believe

What do you see love?

I ask you to look

And the answer you give me

Lifts my heart up

-I see my beautiful wife

-And my daughter so fine

-And I thank God each day

-That He made you both mine

And where is she gone

The girl in the door?

I don’t know, I can’t see her

She’s not here anymore

She slipped away silent

While you held me so close

In her place is a picture

Of love and repose

The girl in the picture is finally me

And the girl in the door is finally free.







Dear Daughter


I’m sorry you’re not ok

I hate that you feel this way

My heart wrenches and wrings

When I see you scrunch up your wings

Those wispy ethereal things

That carry your fears away


I see your face fall with a frown

Your little body in fear hunching down

As the kids run around in delight

Saturday frolics and fights

Tumbling, tussling, laughing and light

But you are terrified now


What did I do so wrong

Your anxiety a melancholy song

My heart fills with tears

No hugs banish the fears

My kisses are leers

That laugh at me all the day long


Your screams and panic and horror

Mickey Mouse was a serious error

I don’t know what to do

I just love you

My heart is breaking, its cruel

To watch you drown in psychological terror


You’ve passed a mere forty months

Mostly you giggle and romp

Your wingspan so wide

No need to hide

Your mind is safe from the tide

Of the dreadful phantom swamp


Dear Daughter I promise you this

You are safe in my arms I insist

There’s no menace greater than me

To crush those anxieties you’ll see

I’ll fashion you wings with my love’s filigree

And you’ll rise and soar and be free