Confessions.. Uncoated. Uncut. Pass the Twinkies.

I wrote this blog post a couple of weeks ago. Then we had the floods in Houston and then Prince died and then Ozzy was diagnosed. The timing just wasn’t right to share it. But I circled back this morning. I think it’s too important and was really a foreshadowing of what was to come in my life. On some level I knew there was bad stuff lurking.

Something tells me that a lot of animal rescuers will be able to relate. So I think it’s important to talk about this topic and if it helps people, then I don’t mind disclosing my personal experiences.

I am depressed.

It happens. It’s hard to get out of bed. It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last. Depression and anxiety have been a part of my life for many years — even during the time I worked as a psychotherapist, if you can believe that.

I know if you asked 20 depressed people how depression feels, you’d get 20 different answers. I can only give you my thoughts.. It feels dark. Hopeless. Helpless. It’s difficult to concentrate and remember things. I overeat. My nights are restless. Or I sleep too much. I fear the worst. I worry about my future. It feels like I’m living inside someone else’s body.

Anything can bring it on if your genetics have the biological propensity for depression. I’ve been on medication for years, but sometimes it just spills over and the meds aren’t enough. That’s where my life tools need to come in.

I know this is temporary because I’ve been through it before. Oftentimes, it’s the lead-in to something really beautiful. It’s the dark before the light. It’s a time for me to be quiet, isolate, and reflect on my life. I pray. I ask the Universe for the things I need and want. I just take it one day at a time. But part of the challenge of isolating is being in my own head too long. Because a lot of this is really an illusion.

The illusion that my brain chemicals have created. So I suffer through it. Each time it makes me smarter and stronger than the last. Go figure.

Rescue work is a breeding ground for depression. I meet a lot of people who are clearly depressed but they probably aren’t aware. I can tell from their demeanor, their words, their attitude, their communication. 

We aren’t machines. We have feelings, hopes, and doubts. We hurt when the dogs we are trying to help hurt. How could we not? But we aren’t born with the ability to express these emotions. It’s a skill that develops over time if you work hard at it.

On some level we may identify with the dogs we help. We have lived through traumas too. Have you grieved those events? Have you taken the time to understand them, forgive, move on? Or do you unconsciously react when those trauma buttons are pressed?

I’m not going to lie. Addie’s and Jewels’ deaths took a toll on me. I wasn’t ready to just be happy and positive and move on. They deserved more of my quiet time. To honor their lives, make them not in vain.

I don’t have all the answers for sure. But putting things into perspective today was healing for me on some level. It’s not something we talk about. There is a ton of shame in it. But it’s fucking REAL.

I am blessed to have a few good friends I can talk to. They reached out this time when “I got too quiet.” LOL.

What to do? Get help. Talk to friends. A therapist or counselor or psychiatrist for medicine. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, it’s imperative you get help immediately. That’s called a crisis and it can go from bad to worse quickly.

This chart came to mind as I was writing. I think it illustrates the tough cycle that we experience in rescue. I’m certainly guilty of getting caught in this storm. Thinking I could have some guest blog posts soon on the topic. There is so much more to say..

Bringing you these dog stories takes precious time and resources. It's important to me, and I'll do it no matter what. But your small donation — even $1 or $2 — goes a long way toward helping me maintain my website and continue to invest my time and energy into helping give voice to these animals who so desperately need one.

robyn arouty