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Battle of the Dog…

Question is...are you?
Question is…are you?

I think everyone has them.

A TSN Turning Point.

I’m currently gearing up for a part-time, online, program at our college, and I’m pretty stoked at my goal-setting and bat-shit crazy endeavour.

Thing is, it comes with a heavy ”remembering.”

It’s Frosh Week around the city…most cities, likely.

I missed my Frosh Week…and I missed it because I was preoccupied with me being required to have my mother committed to the psychiatric ward of the local hospital.

Let’s talk about mental health.

Let’s talk about mental health as it pertains to a woman currently struggling with the less-than-stellar on a daily basis.

Say that woman is ”Me.”

Let’s talk about how a woman endeavours to keep on keepin’ on in spite of the weight of her Black Dog.

Depression is our family’s ”Uncle Joe.” The relative who you *have* to invite for Yule dinner but really wish he’d up and leave for Vegas and never come back having had his junk caught in a roulette wheel.

My mother had it.

I have it.

My eldest son has it.

I remember, in my rememberings, as I watch the future generation of youth canvass for donations, wear funny attire and plaster themselves (and their livers, much to many parents’ chagrin, I imagine) with smiles in the hopes of their impending brighter future…

I remember slamming a hypodermic needle onto a nurse’s desk yelling how stupid I thought it was that someone who couldn’t manage to brain-function was left beside a gods-knows-what’s-in-it needle the size of Ontario.

I remember telling my mother to own her shit or fuck off. I remember the social worker running out into the hall after me to grab and hold on to me.

I remember lying to my relatives when they’d call to ask for her because she’d asked me to. I remember having to tell my dad, who was in Africa on military business, that, no, he didn’t need to come home because there was nothing for him to have to do while she was inside the joint.

That’s what it felt like to me. A prison. Watching my mother so drugged out, she looked like a head shot from a scene in The Walking Dead.

After sitting with doctors and social workers, I remember signing on that dotted line (it was solid, actually…) because I was 19 and legally able to have my mother committed for psychiatric assessment because I’m an only child and my dad was on the other side of the world. Such a grand accomplishment of my new-found “adulting” abilities, dare I say. #notreally

I remember my mother asking me through tear-stained eyes why she couldn’t go home.

I’ve had my own fair share of babysitting the Black Dog. I currently struggle with mental health issues. Big ones. The remembering brings back the guilt. A lot of emotions spent years trapped inside the deep crevasses of my mind. 22 years ago this week. That’s a long time to fester with soul-burden heart-sad in the throes of my already made-for-tv-movie chaos of my reality.

I deal with my perceptions of mortality on a daily basis and, honestly, there are days where the outlook of living with this kind of constant pain and uncertainty brings me to tears. Some days I wish I could return to the Cosmos from where I came.

I dabble in deep emotions as I reflect on a journey that has taught me strength I ordinarily would not have learned. I strive to apply that strength to my life as it is now…and some days, I kick some pretty good ass at it.

Other days, I sit and cry on the kitchen floor just like I did when I was a 19 year old missing Frosh Week and my mother sat in her mental cocoon…sending out an S.O.S. to the Cosmos from the very bottom of my soul for Scotty to beam my ass up…

And yet, here I am.

I think it important to illustrate the effects of depression with those who struggle with health issues, especially, because, unlike a snotty office manager or a late city bus, this shit just doesn’t end. The requirements of daily living add a burden that some are not able to manage at all. Suicide rates for those in the chronic-condition community are staggering. Look them up in your geographical location, if available.

Medications meant to keep some of us alive contribute exponentially. Look at the side effects of any of them. Most people that are on medications have had to be assessed for the proverbial, “Is the chance of her running into the river less than her heart stopping or kidneys failing? Yes? Well, then here’s your script.”

Sure, I’m on medication to help manage my chemical balance and yes, it was after being assessed that the risk of me running headfirst into the river was actually moreso than my heart imploding or my kidneys giving me the proverbial middle finger salute.

I can’t commit to activities, and the invites decline.

Sorry!! I choose not to commit to activities because I want to be able to stay true to my word if I say I’m going to do something. So, saying nothing at all is simply a reflection of my reality. I don’t know what I’m going to feel like in four hours, let alone four weeks.

I listen to my body a lot better now, and I don’t like what I hear. At all. I’m trying to push my tasks and chores to others like a dealer of All the Things. It’s so frustrating. SO frustrating. Inabilities eat away at my confidence like a gangrenous bacteria.

I have my #gladitude. I need it. It, on some days, leaves me ridiculously exhausted in my search for those small things that would have otherwise gone unnoticed in my day.

I live transparently. My life is an open book. For no other purpose than I wish I’d had someone’s words to read when I was at my very worst, watching my mother’s zombie journey through darkness, crying on the kitchen floor while my father was on the other side of the world.


Of course I have it. I don’t Eeyore and I sure as shit don’t Whine-1-1. My dark is a balance to my light. I recognize the effects of depression while living with this ridiculous disease, and I mightily attempt to kick its ass every chance I get.

That’s being honest. One has to start somewhere, and being honest about what you’re living with in your own made-for-tv-movie kind’o’life is a start to finding the ”You.” that will overcome it all.

Let’s talk.

Because, you matter.


  1. Rya Cowperthwaite

    Once again you bring tears to my eyes with your words. I say this as a compliment of course. What you said about choosing not to commit to activities so you can stay true to your word really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing. <3 *huggles*

    • Brynn

      That means so very much to me, my beautiful friend. <3 It's an ongoing conundrum, of sorts, isn't it? The lesser of two evils to choose from...committing or word? xoxo Love you.

  2. Heidi

    Speechless….. understanding….. tears…..
    Sending hugs and hopefully you know I am here in anyway I can be , and that I understand more about what you wrote then I would like to admit.
    Thanks again for this… you will never know how much and how many you help.
    LOVE you!

  3. Pollen

    This, all this. This is how I feel. I remember sitting in a snow bank 15 years old crying and begging the universe to take me back, to help end my suffering. I still feel like that sometimes, I won’t lie but I sure as hell try to fight to stay alive. I fight to get out of bed and take care of myself every day through the physical and the emotional pain. It can turn on a dime, one minute I’m so ready to go out next minute I can’t breath without being in excruciating pain. Sometimes the chronic pain is crippling and I can’t get out of bed but I’m still here.

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