The other day on facebook I mentioned I’d got a bad bout of darkness – there was a black dog at the bottom of my bed – depression I guess you’d call it. It’s the message above. He’d been there a few weeks. Days later I took the advice I was given. I exercised , I called friends and I ate properly and drank water. I am not a weak person. The oppostie. At sixteen I couldn’t leave the children’s home by daylight for fear of being seen. My skin was burning. A psychologist diagnosed depression – the black dog – and I’ve had it in bouts ever since. It is debilitating. On leaving the homes, and entering adult life, alcohol added to depression while pretending to take it away. Clever trick. I stopped drinking a year ago and gained life. The onset of depression is a distant rumbling. Can no one else hear it?. I look at the sky rain’s coming can noone else sense it? The next day rain clouds from horizon to horizon. A mountain appears just outside of town. How come noone else has mentioned it? Wherever I go the mountain’s the same distance away. There’s going to be a storm and then a mudslide. I try to warn people by going Silent. it has all the effect of a cloth school bell. That night there is a terrific downpour. See see. I stand by the window Thunder and lightening. it lights me like an xray. I run to bed and wait for the mudslide to smash through. And then it is here. it is upon me and within me. I’m stuck. Only my face is above ground covered in dust. There are teams of workers digging for survivors. I’m here I croak. I’m here. But they can’t hear. I see them talking but I can’t speak. I can’t speak.
I should end this article on that word speak but I can’t can I. Presently I’m in good health. I have some good close friends and some incredible distant friends too. They reached out. My one regret is that I didn’t attend Jumoke Fashola’s warm sunshine evening gathering at her home. I really wanted to be there cause she’s special but I couldn’t get out the house that day.
Right now I am taking in the sun. That doesn’t mean there’s not challenges in any given moment right. It means the black dog has gone and the mountain is a dissipating cloud in a studio ghibli film. I just wanted to say thanks for your kind comments and suggestions.
B & W Photographs by Benji Reid