I’m not sure I am sharing this with the world. There. That sentence allows me to write it. Here we go.

Depression is an old friend of mine. Why “friend” and not enemy? I know it too well; I am not one to keep my enemies close. Why “friend” and not acquaintance? Same reason. While anxiety is the annoying backseat driver that often reaches for the wheel (sometimes takes hold) depression is always sitting shotgun. Offering to take the wheel anytime I’d like, and constantly whispering about how I really ought to just pull over and sleep because we’ll never get there anyway.

Maybe it’s this especially dark and cold winter. Maybe it’s that my body is broken because of a medication side effect that overtook me like a sneaker wave. Maybe it’s that I retired my perfect Idgie from Agility in the fall. But depression, or The Deep Dark as I call it, is here.

And with it is the realization that maybe Felix isn’t here to be my Next Big Thing. Maybe he is just here to make sure I get up and walk every day. Maybe he is here to remind me to do simple things well, rather than big things poorly. Maybe he is just here to lay on my chest and snore and be deliciously adorable.

Yes, even in the snow and cold, I walk him because he demands it.

Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with Felix. This is a post about me. About how mental health can throw a monkey wrench in our plans. And plans, I had them. The running dogwalk I have always wanted, my last five years of learning and training realized, and maybe even a trip back into the Obedience ring with a flashy boy dog. But as I told his breeder when we were negotiating terms, when she was deciding if I was worthy, “he doesn’t have to do anything to be my beloved pet dog.” True, still. He could never get another title or ribbon for the rest of his life and he’d still be my angel. He’d still be the reason I survived Kelso’s death. I think what I am realizing is that I have to pay myself the same respect; I have to know it’s ok if I don’t achieve another thing in dog sports.

But I don’t know that yet. I’m too deep in The Deep Dark for that to be ok right now. And the next right thing is to accept that: it’s ok to not be ok.

So I made this little video for myself. It’s all about doing the next right thing and letting Felix’s smile be my guide out of The Deep Dark, when the time comes.