About a week and a half ago I was sitting a few feet away from Winston Churchill. Well, Churchill being played alongside Helen Mirren in The Audience. And I think his portrayal of an ancient prime minister bossing around a young Queen Lizzie was excellent, if impossible to judge based on accuracy.
Churchill was my MP. Wanstead and Woodford Green as it was arranged back then, and apart from a few brief stays in other places (Liverpool, Ilford, Barcelona) I’ve lived my entire life in first one and then the other. Stern, black statues adorn the greener parts of the areas. As a beginning-to-lose-it teenager whilst wandering past his image in Woodford I partially expected the deceased PM to hop to life and bellow at me to put that joint out at once, FOR ENGLAND
He never did. He did however cause me to drop my biro. Indirectly, and in history class. I looked up when told he suffered from clinical depression – a thing that despite being exposed to a lot of of Churchill information, I hadn’t heard of. But the drop came when I was told he referred to it as the ‘Black Dog’, or ‘his’ Black Dog.
I’d been referring to my low points as the same, I think soon after they started. My black dog. The black dog. The black fucking dog. Alongside the others, the black cloud, the thing that won’t go the fuck away. It was MY black dog. But seemingly his first.
A fascinating coincidence, you say. Well no, it’s not. I may very well have heard the term before, semi-forgot and used it as original. I don’t think so, but no, it’s still not. And I only speak of it because it’s back. Curled up on my lap, stirring occasionally to lick my face or sink its paws further into my stomach. Rolling onto its side in the ‘flat’ position, dreaming smugly of what an elaborate metaphor it can be.
The Churchill link I don’t find that interesting at all anymore, but I knew it would be a way to get me writing. I’m withdrawing completely. I start getting upset when I realise that I need the toilet or a glass of water, because to get out of bed is horrible in itself. I return, with an empty bladder and/or a less parched throat, and want to cry with exhaustion. I lie there, hoping I can sleep again – usually an hour or two after waking up. And if I’m lucky, I can. And if I’m not, I don’t.
And my main social interactions outside of things in my head and the Great and Metaphorical Canine One involve lurking invisibly on skype and trying to build up the courage to talk to my closest people when they’re announced in the bottom right corner. Despite growls that I shouldn’t bother.
And then…well, I don’t know. Upset rant terminated.
Bark bark, motherfuckers.