The ‘Black Dog’

It’s hard to know where to start, or what to write, but I need to express myself. I’ve taken myself off of social networking, deliberately, and have no idea if anyone will read this, or even if they are bothered. This is more of a purging exercise, as far as I am concerned.

Everybody experiences things in different ways. For me, it’s like being in a tunnel. It’s dark, it’s lonely, and it appears never-ending. When I think I see the light at the end, my mood switches quickly, and can swing to the complete opposite. That’s when I find out that light is something coming at me from the other way, something with the potential to totally crush me. Having dodged it, I then find myself back in the darkness.

I say it’s a lonely place, and some will say that I make it worse, because I will withdraw. In that dark place, I can’t see anyone else. I know they are there, but if I can’t see them, then it’s no good to me. Hearing things is just noise. I don’t like the noise, and I just want to shut it out. There is no point in telling me what you think I need to hear. Logic has gone out of the window. Do you think I want to feel this way about myself? If it was that easy to ‘look on the bright side’ or to ‘count my blessings’, don’t you think I would have done so already? I cannot control the way I think, the way I feel.

Some people react adversely to change, but for me, stagnation is worse. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes change is not a good thing, but it’s often brought new challenges, new beginnings, positivity, and exciting times. When I’ve been trying to move on with my life, and cannot change things, it brings on frustration, and eventually despair, and a sense of hopelessness. Eventually, I start to blame myself; why haven’t I achieved? What am I doing wrong? How can I change things? 

It’s all my fault.

Social networking just makes things worse. It’s constant noise. I’m guilty of using my profile to rant, rave, share thoughts, and useless info, but I’ve not missed it. My absence is self-inflicted, as part of my withdrawal, and it’s my longest break to date. Facebook, in particular, has been annoying me. Too many people are sharing far too much of their lives, for a start. I don’t know when to reply, or when to leave things alone, with some people. I don’t like living my life in public, and I am not comfortable seeing other people doing just that. It’s a fine line, and subjective. I might be less tolerant than others, who don’t have a problem, or some might say that I’m as bad.

I don’t like that Facebook also insists on making my presence felt, or broadcasting my whereabouts. If I want to tag myself at a place, I have to turn on ‘location services’, but if I do that, I have to remember to manually prevent it from saying where I’m posting a general comment from. It’s just not relevant. Does it really matter if I’ve moaned about bad driving from the comfort of my home? Or the supermarket? Really?

I hate the way it insists on telling people what I’m looking at, or if I’ve commented on something. I’m pretty sure that my parents don’t need to know that I’ve commented on a colleague’s post. Or that I’ve liked someone’s picture. I’m sure some people take huge comfort from seeing who has looked at their photos, but I don’t care. Read my posts, look at my pics, or ignore them. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t see why everyone else needs to know what I’m doing all of the time.

Yes, I’ve adjusted my privacy settings, but the app is updated so often, it has been a weekly task just checking. It shouldn’t have been, but Facebook kept adjusting things, and changing those settings. I shouldn’t have to do it, though. If I want to post something, or like, or comment, I want to be able to do so, without having the world know about it. It’s not that interesting. Is it all about extending networks? No. No, it’s not. It’s just nosiness. Ooh look, I didn’t know they knew them! Blimey, I can’t believe their mates are in Dubai right now, wow! One friend isn’t going to add another, just because I’ve liked something. Not everyone I know like each other, and really don’t need to see certain people cropping up in their feeds. Besides, the platform has ensured I’ve got too many contacts for everyone to know everyone else. Six degrees of separation? Three hundred and sixty degrees of irrelevance. 

Does it make me come across as paranoid? Probably. I don’t care. I just value my privacy. Too much information is being broadcast, I just need to control mine, without some platform taking over. I don’t think anyone has missed keeping tabs on every minute of my dull, uninteresting existence. 

Then there’s also all the other rubbish. Social networking used to be a place for people to connect. It was an easy way to share holiday pics, catch up with friends and family, and perhaps share interesting articles, music, or whatever. Now, if you don’t like/favourite and share a post or tweet, declaring [insert family member/friend type/pet] is the bestest ever, posted by a generic profile designed at guilt tripping users, you quite obviously don’t care. Not one jot. Motivational posts, that mean bugger all until written over a scenic picture, or accompanied by a minion, are meant to kick our arses into action. It’s just trite and irrelevant. As for having bad luck if I don’t share a pic of an angel, or rainbow, or a shamrock, on my wall, what a load of garbage. A Facebook post is not going to get me to where I want to be. There’s only one person who’s going to do that. Me.

And don’t get me started on Britain First, and the like. 

Then people wonder why I’ve no interest in Facebook. Twitter has been no better, but I can filter irrelevance out, if and when I decide to return. I’m not ready to cope with the noise yet. The end of the tunnel is nigh, but I don’t know which way I’m supposed to turn when I get out. All I ask for is a sign. Let that glimmer be hope, not more disappointment.

The only thing that has kept me going has been my running. I’ve found some off-road routes close to home, that have fewer people out and about. I’ve enjoyed the fresh air, and the tranquility. Well, as much as a person can when at a low point. Mostly, I’ve enjoyed the solitude.

So, what brought it on? It had been bubbling under the surface for months, the signs were there. I think I was hoping to ride it out. That something would change, and flip me out of the hole I was descending into. Sadly, something triggered a crash. It doesn’t matter what it was, at the end of the day. If it hadn’t have been one thing, it would have been something else. That’s the nature of the beast.

I entered three races before Robin Hood Half. Even though two were run as training runs, I was still disappointed with my times. My knee had worsened, but I have a diagnosis, and a program of rehab. It affected my training, though. I had the time on feet sorted, but not the speed work. I had no hope of getting my club standard. In the end, I surpassed my highest expectation, not just getting that standard, but doing so with a comfortable run (and it was far quicker than most runs this year, especially over distance) and with no adverse affect on the knee. It was my first negative split half marathon, and it was run that way on purpose, as I intended to take the first couple of miles steady. I had a mini-hyper, I have to admit.

I don’t know when I’ll write again. I don’t know if anyone cares. I feel that I need to apologise to people for my behaviour. But I’d also like to thank those who persevered. They know who they are, and I hope they know that I appreciate it, even if I’m not good at showing it.


3 responses to “The ‘Black Dog’

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