Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Black Dog and The Werewolf

There are two creatures that lurk to either side of me, wherever I go.

The first has to do with depression.

The other has to do with RAGE.

At night the Werewolf comes out. Not as much as he used to. When he shows up my mind becomes flooded with anger. Anger at the people that piss me off, anger at the people I work with, anger at past difficult situations, anger at my situation and anger with myself for creating the situation.

When the Werewolf is mad at somebody, all I can think about is arguing with that person, hitting him or her, harming them and unleashing my rage at them in the worst way possible.

When this happens, I can’t think about anything else. I can’t clear my head. It’s impossible for me to decide to think about something else, or to think about nothing at all. The rage always lasts until it’s spent and I am left mentally burnt out and hollow.

That’s the space that the Black Dog likes to live in.

The scary part is that I can transition from this rage to helping my son go back to sleep in the middle of the night, say, or lifting my daughter off the pillows next to her crib when she rolls off it and onto the floor, then lay back down myself and get right back on the rage train from where I left off.

That’s the kind of lock the Werewolf has on my mind: he’ll give me a moment to play house, then get back to the business of running wild in my head.

Something else that scares me is how I can’t show my anger at the people I’m mad at. It’s practically impossible for me to show annoyance, anger or frustration towards someone I’m raging at internally.

This is not healthy. And it makes me mad that I can’t find the middle ground to advocate for myself without feeling the fear that I will lose my temper.

That’s the thing: like everything else the Werewolf is rooted in fear. Fear that any conversation I try to have with someone that has to do with standing up for myself, or for my wife or my kids, will end in a fight. All it takes is one worry over ‘what might happen’ to spin my mind out of control.

This warps my sense of who people are. I think of them as the Werewolf sees them: an opponents, and not rational, thinking human beings that might just be willing to cooperate with me.

At night it’s the worst, because there’s nothing to distract myself with. Even the iPhone isn't enough. When I am alone with my thoughts I am hostage to them.

The human ability to imagine a scenario with a positive outcome is a very powerful and very useful tool.

My ability to do this has been hijacked by the Werewolf.