What's in a name?

Saturday January 11, 2020

I have a black dog. Well, she has some white on her, too, but her predominant colour is black. She is kind, funny, protective and a constant companion that greets me with a smile. Tessa came to me when her previous family admitted they didn't have the time to train her or give her the affection she needs and I am so grateful to them for having the strength to do this. My life is richer for her presence.

Whenever I hear someone speak of their black dog, I wonder if they also have a Border Collie that brings them joy and then I realise that they speak of a different black dog... a black dog that follows them around and sucks the joy from their lives. How can this be? Is it not like claiming that a black cat is unlucky? Even when the evidence proves the lie? Is this a sign that we, as humans, try to hide something that we find uncomfortable to discuss?

These days, there is still a stigma attached to confessing (as if it is a dirty secret) mental illness. Depression; anxiety and PTSD are all too often whispered in conversation. We seek answers from distant friends or social media and seldom share the information with others.

We don't hide the fact that we need glasses to read, or a cane to walk, so why the stigma attached to mental illness? Why fight against treatment, be this medication or therapy, for a mental disorder? These are the very things that can help us best. A good therapist can help you make sense of the monsters that visit at night. A good doctor can identify a missing chemical and help provide relief (and release) in the form of medication.

Mental illness can't be cured, just as a gimp leg can't be cured. We learn to live with it and work around it. Perhaps it is time to see mental illness in the same way.

My name is Cyndi and I have PTSD.

A Moodscope member.

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