Hello, Black Dog

Hello Black Dog.
Painfully faithful old dog.
Stubborn, relentless, familiar old dog.
I knew you were on your way.

I heard you sniffing around, felt you scratching at the gate.

I tried to keep you out but you found your way in, as you always do.
Now you’re sat on my doorstep, taking up space, growling at visitors, stopping me from going out – you like to isolate me don’t you? Keep me tucked in your shadow.
Hello black dog. How long will you stay for this time?
Just today?
This week?
The rest of the year? I wish I knew.
Your constant howling keeps me up at night, stops me sleeping.
The smell of you makes me nauseous, stops me eating.
Your presence makes me tired, stops me working.

I wish you’d leave me alone. You make my bones feel old.
You remind me of bad things. You make my heart so heavy. Your judgmental gaze tells me i’m not worth loving. Tells me i’m not good enough. Tells me i’m weak. Whenever you come to visit, I feel so lonely. Whenever you’re here, I don’t feel like myself anymore.
I’ve tried so many things to keep you away. I’ve followed all the advice. I’ve tried to learn everything about you and still, you continue to show up on my doorstep for no reason at all. I don’t think i’ll ever be rid of you. Even though you’re familiar, you still take me by surprise.

You bring darkness with you – yesterday was so bright. The sky was blue, the air was clean but now you’re here and the world seems to have lost its colour, the air is thick. I feel like I cant survive here, with you. I don’t want to go out into that colourless world, no, I think I’ll stay in bed.
If i’m staying in bed I don’t need to brush my hair. If its just you here to judge me, Ill stay in these pyjamas. I wont answer those calls. You win. Ill stay here and keep you company while you tell me the world out there doesn’t need me.
But old dog, scary old dog – if there is one thing you have taught me, in all these years we have known each other, its that eventually you will get up.
When your thick black body lumbers off my doorstep, the world will start to seem bright again. Ill see colours and the air will become clear again. Ill be able to get out of my door again. I’ll become part of the world again.
And so old dog,
tiresome, old dog –
don’t get too comfy there.
Go away, black dog.

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