I was at work recently, and a colleague from another library commented in passing, how much she loved my 'black on black'. She was referring to my black cat brooch (from the fabulous Paws and Effect) against my black top. It made me smile. What a great phrase. More than just because my brain went instantly to 'Back in Black'. It has been floating around the recesses of my mind, as great phrases and words are wont to do.
However, in the last week or so, it has come to be a label in my mind for what has been going on in life. Last May I wrote about depression, and I remember how nervous I felt admitting to the world that I was having a hard time of it. I still find there are times when tears well easily at mere thoughts. Our little home has been dealing with a few mental health issues and perhaps it would have been more fitting if my black brooch had been a dog. Peter has been dealing with stuff, I've been dealing with stuff, and we've been dealing with stuff between us. Black on black.
Don't fret. We're ok. It's just that life is full of ups and downs. Being with someone who is the love of my life does not guarantee plain sailing. In fact, I don't know that there is anything that can assure that in life. Perhaps that thought is a comfort. I guess the skill is doing something about it. Being proactive, getting help, talking to someone. There's no point hiding or just hoping things will get better. I should know. I spent a lot of my 30s doing just that. The reality is, that it will get you in the end. You can only dodge things for so long. There are many people who may be able to deal with things themselves. That may explain the amount of 'self help' books on the best sellers lists. But I really think it's useful to talk to someone impartial.
I caught up with a dear work friend last week who has been dealing with issues of workplace bullying. We both chatted about what was going on with us, and she looked at me and said how strong I was. Of course, I then had a teary. Luckily I was not alone, as she joined in. Coffee, tears, conversation and hugs. Not your average workplace. At times of weakness I never would have imagined myself as strong. It's strange to see yourself through other's eyes. I then had lunch with another work friend I've known for years, and haven't seen in ages. She told me of a male friend of hers who has had an emotional breakdown. We discussed how her doctor said Zoloft should be put in the drinking water!
All this reminds me that life can be hard for so many of us. I don't know if we're becoming a more medicated society or if we're choosing or needing to work through our issues with professionals more. Maybe we're just talking about it more openly. When I think about all the people I know and how widespread either antidepressants or psychological counseling is, I'm truly amazed. We are a community trying to do our best to cope, and seeking help. This is the healthy option. When you consider that 1 in 5 people in Australia will experience mental health issues during their life, the reality is it's either going to be us, or someone we know.
Some days are crappy, but overall life is good. The black dog is still grey in my eyes and for the most part, it's on a leash. The good thing is that I have fantastic friends and a loving and supportive husband. Being able to talk to my partner rather than bottling things up is a huge change for me. A change for the better. Having things out in the open, no matter how difficult, can only help solve things. The road may be rocky sometimes, but all steps forward are, well...steps forward. I'm glad people open up and talk to me, and it's nice to know the favour is returned. In doing so, I have a deeper understanding of my friends and husband, and a more honest and close relationship with them. And that is quite a wonderful thing indeed.