The black dog of depression

As we crafted the pieces of our imagined lives, looking forward to our marriage, family, and beyond, my husband and I followed this idea of the perfect dog. His name would be Rufus, inspired by a back-bone slipping, soul-thrumming blues song about a hound dog by one Rufus Thomas. A shaggy, black, hulking mass, his own bark would be his calling card, “Rooof-us”. We pictured him playing with our future children, leading us down wooded paths, cozying up by the fire.
Ironically, we got just what we were asking for.
There is a black dog that lies at my feet while the children play; a dark shadow that trails my every step; even one who crawls in beside me while I sleep.
Only his name is not Rufus.
Depression is not the companion my husband and I envisioned accompanying us on our life’s journey. And I didn’t envision me as its sole caretaker.
It can be taught to heel. It can be kenneled or crated. But it is still a wild animal; a living, breathing thing. And like a wet dog on a rainy day, its smell permeates the air long after its left the room.

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