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The boy who didn’t cry wolf

Someone once told me that during his life, Winston Churchill would often refer to his depression as a “black dog” — a vile, loathsome creature that would shadow every decision and thought in his mind. But to me, it was not just a dog, but something more sinister and predatory.

The beast followed me in the same way that a lapdog would follow its master, though there was no doubt of who was in charge. Behind every thought, decision and doubt in my mind, the black dog would be not too far away, waiting for a moment of weakness. Feeding off my shame, regret and self-loathing, its hunger knew no bounds and it could smell the fear that seeped from my skin.

For most of my adolescent years, that’s what it was like living with my depression. Every day was a new trial for me to fail and a new reason to undermine my existence. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I worked, I would always come home beaten and shamed. I was constantly making mistakes and no matter how trivial they were, I always punished myself. Every transgression I made was a constant reminder of how worthless I was.

I never felt more alone than I did during those years. While my peers enjoyed themselves by going out, playing sports…