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You know the old joke about the hammer...

Q: Why are you hitting yourself on the head with a hammer?
A: Because it feels so good when I stop.

It is like a metaphor for depression. Except we have no choice when the hammer comes down, or for how long.

I suppose many of you knew I have depression. I have been on antidepressants now for 20 years, more or less. They work for me, as well as such things do, which is to say most of the time. I am alive, I have a family, and I am able to write. I love some people and they love me. I am lucky.

I can see looking back that both my parents had it too. (My mother did not admit to sadness. She felt that rage was more socially acceptable.) And my own kids have been passed the same bitter genetic cup. Other things passed as well, of course. Good things, so there is that. I look at my son and he looks just like my dad who died in 1982. They have the same way of walking, the same hand gestures, the same way of wrinkling up their mouths when they are thinking. They never met, of course. My son was not born until 91.

So-- I had a few bad days there, earlier this week. No reason for it really that I could see. Nothing had changed from the previous week, or the previous month. But there is nothing to do but face into the wind and wait it out, push the ugly thoughts down, refute them. It always feels as if it will never end.

And I woke up this morning, and the hammer blows had stopped. I actually wanted to leave the house. I took Sabir out, and we walked with a slack leash making a smile shape between us. We smiled ourselves too.

He is turning out to be a fine dog. Once we got rid of the worms he began to grow tremendously fast. And he put on weight too. His bones are under a coat of muscle now,which is how it should be. He is the sweetest friendliest dog I have ever seen.

Hazel was loving and good, but there were things she did not like to see, people delivering packages and people in hats filled her with suspicion. And anyone in a motorised scooter or wheelchair. She did not do anything bad to anyone, but she growled to herself, and would not approach them. (She once saw a perfectly nice man in an electric wheelchair, carrying a package and wearing a hat. We had to go home...) And as she got older she had little patience for puppies. She also wanted to chase and kill rats and squirrels.

Sabir has none of that. He wants to kiss everyone, all the time. He loves little kids, and people in hats, and people in electric wheel-chairs. Packages don't scare him. Nothing much scares him, actually. He gets along well with the cats. He is a little rough with them, but it all about trying to entice them into puppy games. I have noticed they do not use claws on him. They will give him a clawless punch if he gets too rough, which hurts his feelings. They have places in the apartment where they can get up high if they want.

Last night Alexander took him to the Coney Island Boardwalk. It was bout 4 am. They had a good long walk in the subzero wind by the beach. I would not have wanted to do that, and I would not go there alone at night anyway. But virtue was rewarded-- they saw an opossum. Interesting to see the difference here between Sabir and Hazel. Her mother was a southern fiest. Hazel had no doubt that opossums were for chasing and treeing and then eating. Sabir just wanted to play. He dropped to his elbows and waggled his rump. Opossum declined to play however, and hurried off.

So I am feeling better, and the day has snow, and dogs, and somewhere out there is an opossum who is probably asleep.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 15th, 2016 07:39 pm (UTC)
So I am feeling better, and the day has snow, and dogs, and somewhere out there is an opossum who is probably asleep.

Happy to hear it!
Feb. 15th, 2016 09:11 pm (UTC)
Glad you're feeling better, my dear. Depression seriously sucks.
Feb. 15th, 2016 11:59 pm (UTC)
The best medicine is a loving animal.
Feb. 16th, 2016 08:10 am (UTC)
Glad to hear you're feeling better.

Sabir sounds so adorable!
Feb. 16th, 2016 11:21 am (UTC)

Glad to hear the hammer has ceased and lovely to hear about the opossum.
Feb. 16th, 2016 03:06 pm (UTC)
Though you have the tough, depressive days sometimes you also have had fruitful life. You have your own family, good friends, and you write beautifully. These things mean really a lot, and you know it. So just leave your depression come and pass when you can't help it :)

It's good to read when you write so positively, I love the story of your Sabir and opossum :) Sweet boy!
Feb. 20th, 2016 06:05 pm (UTC)
You're right, the only thing to do is sit it out. Dogs help though!
Feb. 21st, 2016 11:10 am (UTC)
Everyone here says it - even when writing of these tough things you write with a beauty that most of us would only aim at on our best days..
Sabir is such a great addition to your family - but so are all of you to his

and you, my dear are an ornament to your online 'family' and I am so delighted our paths crossed

looking forward to this pm's Skype :)
Feb. 22nd, 2016 12:14 am (UTC)
Sorry the hammer was falling, but glad it's stopped. I hope it stays in the tool box where it belongs.

It's strange the way family traits skip generations and reappear. Toot's red hair is the most obvious case in our family.

Sabir sounds like an absolute delight. He is exactly the kind of dog I adore meeting when I walk through the park :) I'm sure he brightens up everyone's day!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )