Of course, you all know, Lupin is not black.
Lupin is the most luxurious chestnut light brown you can imagine.
But right beside her is the black dog. The one that lopes along, mostly hidden in Lupin’s shadow, the one that leaps out now and then, without warning.
You’d think it might have got tired of dogging my footsteps by now.
You’d think I might have learned to shut it away, lock it up, kick it up the arse.
But no, ever so quietly, it lopes along.
I was at the Alzheimers Show in London two weeks ago. A medical expert gave a talk about dementia. And the bit that really struck me, and stuck with me, was the fact that dementia (brain disease) causes an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.
A high proportion of people living with dementia also live with depression. They don’t have enough acetylcholine in their brains. Or seratonin. Or something.
Well, I’m one of them. If I get my depression meds wrong I am a mess. And I do. And I am.
And then I get the old black dog leaping out. In my face. In my head.
And everything annoys me. And everyone annoys me.
Today I went shopping in the local little town supermarket.
Well first, there were loads of cars on our narrow overgrown lane, half of whom could not reverse. Once is fine. Twice is painful. Thrice is a bashing.
Then the supermarket was busy and bustling. People chatting, kids, well, being kids. And the checkout boy holding a conversation with the next one up, about some idiotic family argument or something.
Oh my God. It was just overpowering. I felt like I my head was encased in a pudding basin of noise and interference.
(Without the syrup sponge or spotted dick to enjoy.)
Yesterday my wife took me for a surprise to Manchester, to the Halle Orchestra. It was a one hour concert of loud, lively, orchestral and choral works. And it was fabulous.
But all through the journeys to and from Manchester I could not hear what Jane was saying, and needed repetition and clarification every time.
Guess what? When I went to bed I found that I had not turned my hearing aids on.
F..k, f..k, f..k.
How one earth could I forget that?
I hope the black dog will have hidden back in the shadows tomorrow.
Because I hate shouting at the brown one.
I think we should all be very aware of the depression that overtakes many people living with dementia.
If you’ve got a chemical imbalance you need meds to correct it. Or you drive yourself mad. Or worse.
It’s not bad to be on anti-depressants if you need them to function properly.
It’s not something to feel guilty about.
Any more than taking donepezil, or any other medication, is intrinsically wrong. No, it’s right.
There are people who will read this and think (and possibly write) that I should use alternative remedies, relaxation techniques, faith…
Well sorry folks…give me the pills. I haven’t got time to try things out which have no basis in evidence.
So I’ll continue to walk Lupin and stay on the sunny side as long as I can.
And hope the black one stays hidden away, in the shadows.