Saturday, 22 July 2017

Black Dog

The Black Dog has been sniffing around of late but has decided to launch himself upon me now. I know a number of you are visited by him too. Any suggestions for how to deal with him?


  1. Are you depressed about other things or simply hitting a painting wall? If the former, depending upon how bad, you might need counselling. But if it's just painter's block" the cure is to take ust a few pieces that have been waiting on your ministrations. Start slowly - you don't have to paint a whole unit just a couple of figures will do. Jot down what colors, washes and brushes your using. Do it slowly and calmly. And don't force it. If you do you will become resentful of the whole process and get stuck again. Try putting on some favorite music to listen to in the background. Subconsciously you will associate the painting with the pleasure derived from the music. Most importantly do no look at your activity as work. It is a small joy and one, like sipping an excellent wine, to be enjoyed in the moment. And most importantly take joy in your completed work.

  2. The former Jerry but thanks for the other advice,most helpful,it will be filed away for another day.

  3. Luckily I'm not prone to depression but have a friend who is occasionally is and he resorts to strenuous walking to help , look after yourself , Tony

  4. As the Good Soldier says, "Exercise." Plenty of oxygen is a help as is positive thinking although either can be difficult if you badly 'down'.
    As you must know from previous experiences, it always passes.

  5. From my recent experiences, I would say that exercise is a great way to send that hound off. Sitting in front of your computer screen, I find, does not usually help unless it is to work on a project. And definitely stay away from your favorite on-line retailer - you might find some odd packages in the mail soon after, at least that is what I have heard, not my personal experience no sir... :)

  6. Hang in there young man, and as a Californian friend of mine said just last week 'variety is the spice of life'.

    Try something different for a wee while.

  7. Tradgardmastare,

    When I was still working, I was prone to visits from the Black Dog at the end of each academic year. Rather than finding the start of the break relaxing, the sudden absence of stress and the need to get up and go to work used to send me into a downward spiral into depression.

    For years I just lived with it, but after having sessions with a therapist I learned several things:
    1. Physical activity (e.g. walking, digging) helped me direct my energies into something positive rather than languishing in my depression.
    2. The depression will pass, and the more you try to resist it, the longer it will tend to last.
    3. It is better to avoid doing things that can be stressful. This includes any activity (like painting figures) that requires concentration and leads one to be self-critical of one's achievement.
    4. I tended to become clumsier than normal when I was depressed, and that doing anything that required manual dexterity should be avoided.
    5. Eat moderately, keep hydrated, nap if you feel tired, and don't lie in bed at night unable to sleep. In the latter case, reading a book or watching a DVD will occupy your mind ... and it's amazing how quickly you will fall asleep whilst reading or watching the screen!
    6. Spending time with close family and friends can be helpful if they understand that you might be a little crabby or irritable.
    7. Cry if the mood takes you. It will release chemicals into the brain which will help reduce your stress level and the tension that usually accompanies depression.

    I hope that the above helps ... but knowing that a lot of people out in the blogosphere are rooting for you and wishing you well may be even better for your morale than anything else.

    Get well soon,


  8. Bob, says it well, especially the last paragraph. Personally getting my hands in the soil helps most.

  9. To Bob's excellent list of suggestions above, and from personal experience I would add that therapy and medication can be very, very helpful - especially if things are getting really dark. My therapist is not unlike a priest and my meds are really no different than my glasses. Both are useful tools for living a better life and are absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

    The black dog seems to be common in our hobby. A group of more than 50, shall we say, "younger" wargamers with issues have created a private facebook group where one can talk with others with the same problems and the interests. As the grandad of the bunch, I find it helpful to talk to people who are in the same place as I, or who have been there. If you, (or anyone reading this), use facebook and think the group might be helpful, drop me a line and I'll get you added to it.

    You Are Not Alone! It will pass, and there are people in your corner ready to help if needed.

  10. Bob`s suggestions are all good. I know the issue is that you simply cannot be bothered. Try to remember that it will pass.

    What usually lifts me is get to church and belt out a good hymn

  11. That damned black dog has sniffed at my groin on more than one occasion. Remember that you have family who love you, and that all us silly buggers in bloggerland are rooting for you. Try to be strong and hold on 'til that hound slinks away.

  12. "all us silly buggers in bloggerland are rooting for you." Hear! Hear! :D

    Take care of yourself and let others take care of you, too, if it helps. Best wishes!

  13. Sound advice from all above. Hang in there and I'll remember you in my prayers.

  14. The Black Dog has come to see me at times as well. I don't like it. It often passes quicker if I talk to a friend for a time. Helping out someone else also helps. For me, a nice bowl of chili is a good auxiliary, but you should do a small indulgence in what you enjoy. I also recommend a good belly laugh, such as a favourite comedy movie. You're not alone. The One Who Made All is there too. Don't forget that.

  15. Exercise of any sort. Good company, and no finding reasons to avoid company. Daily routines help. When you're doing better create a list of things that make you happy and pick something from if when things aren't so good.

    If all else fails give the girls another challenge like the biscuit box building battle.
    Remember things will get better.
    Best wishes, Peter

  16. I can't really say much more than all the helpful advice from your friends above. FWIW I can lapse into black moods if I'm not eating enough, or if I feel I've got too much on and can't get anything finished (this only applies to the hobby btw, but that is a major part of my life). If you feel as if you are being overwhelmed by all your ideas for games...choose one and sweep the rest into a box to be visited later. Also, bear in mind that however crap life can feel, it always get's better.
    All the best

  17. I've been a silent reader of your blog for some time and would like to thank you for the pleasure this has given me. Amongst other things, you introduced me to DM Cornish's books, which I wouldn't otherwise have come across, and enjoyed greatly; and more recently a passing post you made reminded me how much I enjoyed the George Gush WRG renaissance rules and set me off on my most recent wargaming project (a medley of early 16th century stuff). So, as I say, thank you.

    I have also suffered from depression, off and on, for a good few years now. It's horrible. But it does pass, and in the depths of it, I try to remind myself of that. I also try to remember that the feelings I have about futility, worthlessness, wasted opportunity & potential and so on and so forth are not objective assessments of anything at all but the effects of my brain chemistry being temporarily out of whack.

    But mostly, as the man himself said, it's just a matter of KBO - keep b*ggering on. Get through the day. I find chilis in whatever form are helpful. And crying, if I can (there are a couple of literary cues that usually help). And routines - do the next thing.

    Lots of good advice above also. I suspect exercise is key though I can never quite face it... And, to quote Abbot Chapman, Pray as you can - don't try to pray as you can't.

    You have my sympathy, very best wishes, and prayers.

  18. Tradgardmastare,

    How are you feeling? Hopefully things have improved somewhat over the past few days.

    We are all still rooting for you.

    All the best,


  19. Alan, I hope you are feeling a bit better (end of term / year is always ripe for coughs, colds and General Listlessness) and hope tha you soon feel like doing something as wonderfully pointless as "playing with the tiny men" as it is known in my family. I (thankfully) have no experience of the Black Dog (who seems a formidable opponent with no doubt an impressive Battle standard) but there are many wise words above and lots of well wishers and support from your blogging friends. Many many best wishes, Mark Man of TIN

  20. Feat Alan, Like anon mouse above I have been an avid reader of the delights that you share. I have pretty severe depression and my heart goes out to you. It is a lonely , miserable and sadly humourless place to be. All of the thoughts and expressions offered concern are, I hope, helpful. There are times when all you can batten down the hatches put on your tin hat and ride the storm or pass through the doldrums. For me the toys and the joys of blogs such as yours help. However there are times when the toys don't work and the numbness takes over. Depression is lonely and frightening. You are , however not alone as the responses above indicate. Your warmth and humanity shine through your words and pictures. Treat yourself ! I would hate to state the obvious but see your Dr. It can be a start and a way of accessing other help. Our depression and our lived experience of that diagnosis is as individual as we are but outside help and medication can help. My best thoughts are with you and your family. I have depression but my family suffer from my experience of it. Dogs are good - very therapeutic. All the best.

  21. I agree with Chris Platt - it's very individual.
    As tempting as it is, I find alcohol does not help. Tedious rhythmic exercise on the other hand can be beneficial (I go out and cycle). Hope you're feeling a bit better. You are not alone, not that that is much consolation.