The Blackest of Dogs

by Chris Harris

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1.
Bright and sunny disposition Won't admit that something's wrong Always take the same position: There's no problem, move along Gonna keep it sweet and light Might be down, but you'd never tell Hold the darkness out of sight I've learned to hide it well On the outside: blithe and blissful On the inside: screaming Inner voice is dark and dismal Hard to keep on dreaming Gonna keep it sweet and light Might be down, but you'd never tell Hold the darkness out of sight I've learned to hide it well Got to keep things ticking over Got to keep it real Never, ever own up to the way things make me feel Blundering from day to day Always feeling ill Try to keep the blues away Through sheer force of will Gonna keep it sweet and light Might be down, but you'd never tell Hold the darkness out of sight I've learned to hide it well
2.
When I'm on the road And I'm safe inside my car That's when I start to think about What makes us who we are It's all "black and white" It's all "us and them" Everything is personal; Going way back when Every day's catastrophe Tomorrow's harder still This unhelpful thinking Is what has made me ill Why do I do this to myself? I know that it's hazardous to health When I'm in my bed And I wait in vain for sleep My thoughts have found a rabbit hole And I've fallen in too deep Jumping to conclusions Obsessing on the past "I must be" and "Should have done" Are coming thick and fast Focus on the bad times Ignoring all that's good Don't want to make things better Even though I know I could Shut the door Sit down and breathe And that's the first step taken Realise What I believe Is actually mistaken Breathe in Feeling my heart slow Breathe out And start to let it go
3.
Dreary Days 06:06
The days spent grinding at the coalface The rain is pounding down outside Our gaze is blinding in the workplace All fun resoundingly denied Alcohol the common answer Pass the hours in a haze Boredom creeping like a cancer Through the dreariest of days No inspiration here worth finding Imaginations fail to spark Memories not worth reminding The briefest flicker going dark We long for any brief distraction Joining in each mindless cause But our thoughts can't find the traction To escape these dreary days Sleep provides its futile soothing The rain outside is falling still Tomorrow sets about removing Any last remaining thrill One day we'll manage to remember When life would set our minds ablaze We'll light a fire in deep December And we'll cast off those dreary days
4.
Monochrome 03:33
I'm living life in monochrome My world is drab and grey Let me disconnect the phone I'm staying in today No meaning in the things I do No joy in food or drink No willingness to see things through No energy to think
5.
Half A Song 01:45
Don't feel like getting through the day Everything I do is wrong And when I sit down here to play All I have is half a song
6.
7.
We each have our own inner self And mine is introverted Time has left him on the shelf But he's not disconcerted If you leave him all alone He'll never feel rejected For countless problems close to home demand to be inspected The greatest thinker in his field, he gets no compensation For all the flaws that he's revealed in Rumination Nation My mind is sitting in between A hard place and a rock Can't figure out just what it means And too afraid to stop Got worries by the thousand Forebodings by the score And if I clear up one of them I've soon got fifty more You'd be surprised what pointless things demand my contemplation I know just what tomorrow brings in Rumination Nation I've really reached the point at which No longer want to think Concentrate on breathing 'til I pull back from the brink Calm the mind and slow the thoughts Until the tumult's passed Escape the trap in which I'm caught And peace arrives at last My thoughts are deeper than it takes to write a dissertation Mind games that will make or break our Rumination Nation
8.
Hard Landing 05:12
I'm glad that this appointment was the one you chose to keep My patience is renowned for wearing thin Let me introduce you to the bottom of the heap I can tell at once you're gonna fit right in You look like you're a stranger to a sense of joie de vivre Things like hope are crutches for the weak You'll wallow in such misery you'll never want to leave "What kills you makes you stronger," so to speak Is this really what I want? Is this really who I am? Is there anybody out there who even slightly gives a damn? Just take that final step and you'll be one of us for good Don't stop to think about the consequences I really want to help you and I'd do more if I could You simply have to lower your defences Keep on holding on to all those things already lost Their weight is what has dragged you down this deep The price you paid was high but here we never count the cost Just think of it as drifting off to sleep Is this really what I want? Is this really who I am? Is there anybody out there who even slightly gives a damn? Is this really what I want? Is this really who I am? Is there anybody out there who even slightly gives a damn?
9.
Intervention 03:49
I like it here I'm on my own And I can cast off my disguises Ignore the world Outside my home No longer troubled by surprises “Kid? You there? Pick up. You need to talk to somebody.” What should I do? What should I do? What should I do? What should I do?
10.
“Let's take this one step at a time." "Now then - what seems to be the trouble?”
11.
Medication 03:28
Just take these tablets once a day You'll find your racing thoughts will slow Anxiety has gone away They tell me peace of mind will come I'm not too comfortable being numb But at least I'm in control I've reached the shallows from the deep Can feel the ground beneath my shoes Don't spend the daytime fast asleep They say recovery takes time The blackest dog inside my mind Is one thing I'm glad to lose
12.
Out Of It 03:12
Open up the windows Take the padlock off the door The way I think I'm feeling Feels better than I thought I felt before I'm getting back an appetite I've lost that urge to quit I think that something's happened Am I coming out of it? I might still wobble sometimes I'm not out of the woods But I'm noticing things changing And today it feels like I am feeling good The fog is dissipating I'm healing, bit by bit The darkness left behind at last I'm coming out of it
13.
Mindfulness 03:54
Find your inner peace Staying on the rails is what we do Pause and then release Emotions that you feel have something true Recognise, move on Recognise, move on Examine how you feel Learn to use a type of thought control Try to keep things real Doing this will help to heal your soul Recognise, move on Recognise, move on Your mind's a busy room Impossible to empty out your thoughts So when they all resume Recognise the fact and don't get caught. Recognise, move on Recognise, move on
14.
Hold Fast 05:02
This might not be my finest hour Feels like there's nothing I can do But way down deep I've got the power I'm going to make my dreams come true I've got to hold fast to the centre I've got to stay true to myself Don't feel the need to follow fashion The herd have rarely got a clue I've found the focus of my passion And all the rest will follow through I've got to hold fast to the centre I've got to stay true to myself I've got to hold fast to the centre I've got to stay true to myself We spend our whole lives under pressure Sometimes it's best not to conform When all around me is in chaos I'll be the calm inside the storm

about

This album contains the most deeply personal and emotional music I've ever recorded, and I've been doing this sort of thing for more than three decades. The "Black Dog" of the title is an expression used by people from Dr Samuel Johnson to Sir Winston Churchill to refer to their bouts of depression. It's a disease with which I'm very familiar.

The songs here were recorded between July 2015 and March 2016 as I made my way out of the deepest and longest bout of depression I've ever experienced. Writing and performing them was an attempt to understand what had happened to me, to identify the sorts of things that would make the condition worse and, more importantly, the things I could do to help make things better. It was an intense journey of self discovery; you may well hear echoes of the struggle I was having in some of the vocals.

It's been a very interesting ride and, ultimately, very therapeutic. As a result I'm in a much better place now than I was when I started. I'm not going to lie: if you buy a copy of the album, that will make me feel good. But I'm profoundly aware that other people with depression aren't doing as well. Even if you don't buy the album, if you listen - and something resonates with you - please consider making a donation to MIND, the UK's mental health charity.

www.mind.org.uk

credits

released May 3, 2016

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about

Chris Harris Bristol, UK

I'm still trying to get the music I record to sound like the version I can hear in my head. To do this I've ended up playing every instrument I can get my hands on. These days, I'm closer to "That Sound" than I used to be, but the journey continues.

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