Dealing with the Black Dog

Host: Southhampton
Written by Kylie Savidge – Owner, Southampton Station.

Lastly I would like to talk about depression and my journey with it, not because I like talking about this but because I feel that if I talk about it and just one person reading this gets help then I think it is worthwhile to open up.

In August last year I went to the local GP and told her that I was feeling like I was in a glass cage. I could see what was happening outside and around me but I couldn’t feel anything; I could understand what was going on, just not feel anything. And by feel I mean emotions, I didn’t feel sad or happy, just did not feel. I was diagnosed with emotional burnout and reactive depression due to the seasons (drought) and what was happening in my personal world.

I did not want to acknowledge I had depression. Depression I felt was for those not as strong and as capable as me. Emotional burnout I could accept but depression???? And talk to a counsellor and go on antidepressants?? HELL NO!!!

I came home in shock. This couldn’t be happening to me, I was just tired that was all and being tired was understandable as I was juggling children, schooling, the property, Brian working away, and life in general.

After talking to Brian and a couple of very close friends, I went back to my doctor and was put on an antidepressant and given an appointment with the counsellor. This I felt was a waste of time as what the heck was I supposed talk about? I wasn’t going through anything that anyone else wasn’t and it was to be expected that I would feel like I wasn’t doing enough. I couldn’t make it rain, I couldn’t be everywhere all the time and I felt like I was failing – failing my kids, my family, the cattle who depended on me, failing my husband – and it was like spiralling down into a darkness that I wasn’t sure I could get out of. I would get very wound up and anxious trying to make everything perfect for every occasion. I got out of bed every day firstly because of Jack, Ben, and Meghan and secondly for my horses. I was surviving and I knew that when it rained properly I would be OK; just wasn’t sure when that was going to be.

I reluctantly went to see the counsellor (who is just the loveliest person) I told her how I felt and why I thought I was feeling this way. She shook her head at me and told me that what I was feeling was rather normal and not to be so alarmed about things I could not control. You cannot worry about the weather or what people do and/or think. These things are beyond your control. Worry about what you can change. I am sitting here now shaking my head wondering what more I can write?? What can I say? I really do not want this to sound like a ‘poor me’ story. I have kept this battle very private with only a select few friends who have been privy to it.

I have learnt that depression can hit anyone in numerous different ways and it is still a “one day at a time” journey for me. Most days are better days, some are not and I don’t really have a strategy for dealing with this – more a “just get on with it” attitude.

If this touches a chord with you or you think, “Hey that sounds like so and so”, please don’t be stubborn or too proud to say to somebody you trust that you need help or to ask that person if they are ok and can you help. A simple gesture like dropping off a warm meal because they have been late getting back to town for the school week, a phone call, an invite to have coffee or having the kids for the afternoon can mean so much to someone.

Depression can hit anyone at any time and be disastrous. My world didn’t quite collapse but it very nearly did and as a result of this, coupled with a few tough years, my marriage did not survive.

I am moving forward slowly and taking my time and hopefully by the time it comes around to write again I can say that I have made progress in the right direction. Some wonderful people who are the best of friends and who have been there for me all the way, before I even plucked up the courage to talk about this need to know just how much I appreciate their love and friendship so I want to say Thank You.

Last but not least my kids, who are my world, I love you to the moon and back!2015 photos 529 copy

I would also like to thank the Central Station ladies for the opportunity to tell our story and also my editors, Jenny and Tempest, who patiently read through my babble and gently critique and fix punctuation.

Over and out.

053 copyBeware of the black dog, it’s not always the one you can see coming.

If you are experiencing depression or are suicidal, or know someone who is, help is available.

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

Mindspot: 1800 61 44 34

Men’s Shed:

Suicide Prevention Information for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people