As a metaphor for depression, black dogs like Fido have been explicitly pestering people for a fairly long time. Roman poet Horace is generally attributed with first objectifying his mental ill health as a black dog, as did Samuel Johnson (who I’m surprised didn’t use more flowery language, but then I suppose he invented the dictionary, not the thesaurus). The most famous black dog was undoubtedly the one belonging to Winston Churchill; allegedly one of the reason’s behind all the cigars and whisky. They might not be a very good way for treating depression, but at least whisky and cigars aren’t so socially taboo as, say, prozac. . .
So, like it or not, I have decided to adopt the black dog, or more specifically my black dog – Fido – as a symbol in my personal quest to return to good mental health and to fight mental health stigma.
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