I’ve been reading Roddy Doyle’s Brilliant over the past couple of evenings, with a view to reading it to our kids, M and Em. We’ve been looking for ways to explain the Black Dog of Depression to the kids, especially after the events of the past year. The book is as good as its title boldly states. It explains the effects of depression from the perspective of the kids whose parents, or family, are suffering from it. I won’t lie: it made me cry, because it struck a real chord.
But the message hit me literally, too. I’m not a Dubliner, and I’ve not really attached much significance to the word, “brilliant”. But I am a geek, and I’ve lived in the geek community for the past couple of decades. We picked a word to express brilliance. It was “awesome”. We used it to describe things that were great; we used it to express joy. We sort of wore it out. Then we became jaded. “Awesome” became a derided word. It was used sarcastically. It was used to dismiss things that really were awesome.
It’s hard to remember whether I stopped using the word ‘awesome’ because it became jaded, or whether I stopped using it because the Black Dog had taken hold. Honestly, looking back, I still don’t know when the Black Dog took over, but it’s been a feature of my life for years, now.
I want the Black Dog to fuck right off. I want ‘me’ back. So, in the hopes that it works just like the book, I’d like to say:
If enough of us yell it, and believe it, I hope we can chase the Black Dog away.