What we're about
This is a peer support group for men in the Seattle-area who are battling depression and anxiety. While women are welcome, the discussions will focus on the unique challenges faced by men with depression.
For many people with depression, there may be no "cure" per se, and so the key to living with the disease is to manage symptoms. Talk therapy has proven highly effective and as with other diseases it can be helpful to discuss not just with a paid professional but also with peers who are facing similar issues and challenges.
You may be wondering why I named this group "The Black Dog." One of my heroes, Winston Churchill, referred to his depression as a "black dog" that visited him periodically throughout his remarkable life. While at times disabling, it is possible Churchill's illness actually made him a more insightful, resilient and determined leader.
Most people don't know that Abraham Lincoln also suffered recurring bouts of depression, which on more than one occasion led him to the brink of suicide. It is remarkable that each of these men was open about their struggles despite the stigma that certainly existed in those times. One has to wonder if their "success" in learning to live with depression was helped by their openness with family, friends and colleagues. Many of us don't have a network of trusted friends and colleagues with whom we can discuss our struggles with depression. The Black Dog's objective is to provide a time and place to meet with each other in a safe and trusting environment where we can meet others facing similar challenges, share, seek support, and heal.
I started this Meetup group after looking for years and not finding a peer group focused on depression and anxiety. I've battled depression for over a decade and have tried all the treatments, some of which have been effective and some not. The one thing I have not tried is talking in a group setting, but in the past year I have opened up to friends and work colleagues about my depression, and I have found this to be helpful. I truly believe that a group setting if done right can be helpful to promote better understanding of our disease and provide a setting for discussing different treatments, coping mechanisms, impacts on spouses and family, among other things.
As we battle depression we also confront the stigma of a disease that remains not well understood. The more we talk about it, the more we broaden understanding among ourselves, our friends and loved ones.