Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Black dog and the hobby

The black dog has been sniffing around again. He caught me unawares after some time away from me.
During such visits all my hobby efforts seem worthless and that which I have painted/imagineered/planned counts as naught. Does anyone else have similar experiences?


  1. Close enough to feel his breath but thankfully no closer. The threat seems much wider than hobby though so the hobby is collateral damage and neither cause nor cure for me. Take care.

  2. Luckily I don't suffer from it but know people who do - take care of yourself and lets hope it passes off quickly , cheers Tony

  3. It can seem utterly futile at times. Gathering troops, creating scenarios and never quite getting to play the games I want to play. All those books I will never get the chance to read. Very hard to deal with sometimes.

    Then I remember the camaraderie of the table, the joys of toy soldiers and the intense pleasure I take in organising and playing.

    Take a little holiday from it - then play a game with the stuff you have at the moment. I find actually playing a game, rather than preparing for one, is the best antidote.

  4. All the time mate......best to sit tight and the wretched beast will clear off, and the sun will shine again. One thing we seem to have in common is an inability to focus on a project long enough to finish it (or even start it), before drifting onto something else or having another great idea, leaving a trail of odd figures and incomplete designs....very depressing. Have a crack at a few figures from an existing project (maybe Middle Earth) then at least you will be a bit further on.

  5. I am with you in kind Alan.

    I haven't played a game in a year since I have been dedicated to raising a charitable donation in my recently deceased best friends name. I have been painting like mad though although sometimes I do wonder why as I am not in a mind to play as such.

    I will be up at SKELP this weekend so that might provide some motivation and then CRISIS the weekend after. Having your family and friends about will help enormously.

    Keep at it mate!


  6. Indeed, the black dog has visited me often... and I don't like it at all. We all get down on ourselves at times and we all compare ourselves to others too much and too often. I don't know of any cure for this. Sometimes I take a break from painting and then I soon get a hankering to paint... and I have to paint!
    I remember the words of a spiritual director I had a while back. He said "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly!" That sounds like a contradiction, I know. But if it is worth doing, it's worth doing no matter what.
    Send the black dog packing and get on with what you enjoy. (That's the key word; if you enjoy it, enjoy it!)
    All the best and keep going.
    John from Canada

  7. Yes, I am constantly chased and grounded by the Black Dog. He gnaws on my bones and leaves me rabid...

  8. Definitely - I often sit watching drivel on the gogglebox thinking "why dan't you get off your a**e and do (put a variety of jobs here). This eventually goes off, and I get a new burst of energy for a while.I haven't yet found a cure.

  9. Alan,

    Those mountain fusiliers I mailed to you today are guaranteed (really, I swear) to chase off the black dog and get you energized. Really, they will, really.


  10. Tradgardmastare,

    I know the Black Dog only too well. He paid me a visit some months ago and I am still feeling the after effects even now. When I have a 'visit', I try to avoid doing things that need concentration such as painting or modelling ... and work on simple things when the mood takes me. Luckily I have friends who I can wargame with who understand my limitations when I am not feeling 100%.

    You have lots of friends out here who will offer you moral support as well as practical advice when you want it.

    The 'visit' WILL end ... and hopefully it will end soon. Just take things at a pace you feel happy with.

    Good luck ... and my best wishes for a swift return to normal for you.

    All the best,


  11. One of the things that helps me is to watch some DVDs of inspirational films. For example, "Zulu" or "The Wind and the Lion" for Colonial -- and there are many films that will work for various periods.

    I find that they tend to re-charge me without my having to "work at it". So that might well be worth a try.

    -- Jeff

  12. I turn to movies as well, but usually not war movies--my primary spiritual picker-uppers are City Lights (Charlie Chaplain), The Music Man, and It's a Wonderful Life. I have seen them many times over the years, but they all still touch my heart and remind me life is indeed worth living.

    Best wishes and hopes for a speedy return to emotional optimism,

    Chris Johnson

  13. I too have the black dog occasionally and am just pulling out of a bout, but never as bad as in '99 when I sat in my armchair for four months weeping and cuddling a little black terrier. Eventually, I pulled out of it and later the damn dog bit me!
    Be well. It is not the end just the rest before a fresh beginning.
    For me, the secret cure comes in mild exercise with lashings of fresh air. I have to make myself do it but it works.
    I found the nhs counselling that the doctor referred me too an enormous help.

  14. stop feeling sorry for yourself

  15. I never thought I did, but I do tend to get into a sort of doldrums during the long hot summer here (which isn't quite over yet, but starting to fade finally). I do manage to chip away at things occasionally, but then days (and sometimes weeks) seem to go by with nothing happening, just work and sitting in front of a screen (tv or computer). Best wishes and I hope the ebon canine is sent packing soon!

  16. I don't know who 'Anonymous' is ... but the comment seems to have been made by someone who does not understand how debilitating this can be. I only hope that they don't ever find out ... because then they will realise just how crass their comment is.

    On a personal note, I found comments like 'just pull yourself together', 'learn to live with it', and 'stop feeling sorry for yourself' just made me angry ... and that - coupled with my depression - made me dangerous to be around. Unlike most people, my reaction was to 'fight' not 'flight'.

  17. "Anonymous" is a troll - ignore it.

    I think most of us get a rank whiff of the Black Dog at times. In my case it's often because I have too much to do, both in the hobby and out. It's best to complete one project, complete and entire. That way you get a sense of accomplishment which goes a long way toward lifting the spirits.

  18. I had an encounter with this mutt in the summer. I am in a different place now and I know there is no silver bullet, or quick fix. One thing I found to help was to give myself the same consideration and compassion as I would give to others without even thinking about it.

  19. Take it easy on yourself Alan. You've been thru more than most.
    Spend time with the family - that's all that matters.

  20. I have caused offence and I am sorry for that.

    I have been suffering from moderate to severe depression for 10 years. I am better now - partly from medication but mostly from forcing myself to have a positive mental attitude. The medication helps but it is not the whole story.

    I was fortunate enough to have a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This eventually led me to the conclusion that negative thinking was the root cause of my problem. You think that you are worthless and therefore no one would like you and therefore there is no point in anything. This is particularly bad when you are in bed and cannot sleep - negative thought just roll around your head all night.

    I am now on medication which I do not think has any great effect on my depression, but does allow me to sleep for at least 8 hours a night. This has been of the greatest benefit to me. I f you wish I can tell you what it is.

    After the CBT I realised that I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and break the cycle of negative thinking by positive action, by which I mean physical activities.

    Go for a long walk.
    Join a gym and improve your fitness.
    Go out some where new.
    Buy a funky new shirt.
    Go to the bookshop and buy some books( my favourite).
    Count your blessings (I think you have more than most).

    I could go on. But I still think that stopping feeling sorry for your self is the first step. Other people can feel sorry for you - but you should not! Fight it!

    2 members of my close family have died due to depression. I shall say no more that that. Look after yourself and go the he doctor if you need too.

  21. Yes indeed. I've had mental health issues for, well, ever. And yes, the BD does sometimes suck all the vitality out of me. I've learned to manage the thing but it still gets out of its secure kennel from time to time.

  22. As suspected this is not a 'rara avis' but a more common bird altogether. I actually work in mental health and that gives no immunity! It may give a better awareness of what treatments are available, but does not change symptoms. However most of the respondents here have moved on from despond, with time, help, and meds (if needed) so while the journey might have bumps we mostly seem to arrive at happier places in the end.

  23. Hello

    The "Black Dog" is never far away for me, unfortunately. Over the years I've found there's not a lot I can do about it - none of the usual "solutions" seem to work for me! Sooner or later it drifts off though...until the next time, of course.

    Anyway, there've been times in my life when all seemed pointless and aimless that your blogs posts (and those of others commenting here) were actually just the ticket. Not too taxing, not long to read, just enough to generate a flicker of interest in a very depressed bloke and pass a few minutes distracted from my own thoughts. And, when I've been feeling a bit less battered, they've provided me with ample trains of stimulating thought, not to mention opportunities to explore new books, games and miniatures.

    I know there's nothing I can write that'll make you feel better - if only it were that easy! - but I do hope that dog turns tail soon.


  24. Been in three wars, I have a service dog for combat stress and I recoil at the thought of all the bloody meds I am issued. Ears ring at night, but I see black dog too, my service dog really helps keeping black dog at bay, but my mates are still getting ill and dieing of this that and whatnot. I paint and collect Crimean War, that helps, but I look at my 8 grandchildren and I find myself hiking up my knapsack, shouldering Brown Bess, and slogging on. Comments like get over it are thoughtless selfish and cruel. Try commands and colors Ancients solo, that tends to cheer me up as well.