Articles, Blog

Living with a black dog

Living with a black dog a guide for
partners carers and sufferers. What not to say or do. You may well be
right when you say “It’s all in your head!” but don’t say it,
leave that up to the professionals “Be a man!” this certainly doesn’t help, Especially if they are one already.
Depression is an illness, not a sign of weakness. Don’t be an
armchair general who gives unfounded advice and orders. Being thoughtful and kind
will never go amiss. Don’t try and jolly them along, it can often
make them feel worse. Don’t point out that there are people in
this world far worse off than them. It just adds to their feelings of guilt
and hopelessness. Good things to say and do. Be sensitive
about how you approach the subject; a lot of people aren’t used to talking about
their mental health, or lack of it. Crossing that line
simply means you care. Try not talking Instead grow your ears and open your
heart Really being there for someone without
opinion or judgment is one of the best gifts you can ever give. Encourage them to seek a professional
opinion. An offer to help find a good doctor, make an appointment and even going with
them, can be hugely beneficial Encourage any former regular exercise Fitness robs the dog with its power. Help
them develop a strategy to simplify their life both at home and at work. Stress is one of the biggest drivers of
depression. Less stress means less dog Make them a ditch the dog box. Encourage
them to fill it with favorite photographs, letters, anything that reminds them
of what’s good in their life. Include a “Dog Journal” Here they can
plot how they are feeling acknowledge progress, record the things
the are grateful for and set doable goals. Embracing the black
dog Agree to a course of action to get rid
of the Black Dog An ignored dog can become a big problem Learn about the condition together; knowledge is power and validation is a
great healer A united front is crucial in getting the
Black Dog to move on As a caregiver, compassion empathy and understanding are vital, but
recognize that you alone don’t have the power to rescue your loved
one. Professional help is often what’s needed Finding the right doctor can make all
the difference to a healthy recovery If they’re going to tell someone their
problems, it should be someone they respect and feel comfortable with. Don’t be
afraid to go for an initial assessment and don’t feel committed to continue if it
doesn’t feel right. ““You can also see a nurse, a counsellor or a health-care worker” If it suggested you take
anti-depressants do your research. Know the facts and ask
your doctor plenty of questions A big obstacle for seeking professional
help is the cost. Help them realize that the
cost of not getting the right help can be considerably higher: it can cost
marriages friendships jobs and even life itself Some simple rules of engagement and
agreement Agree that there is a Black Dog in the
midst and things may have to change
temporarily Agree that no one can help them until
they fully commit to helping themselves Agree to be gentle and respectful with one another during this time. Agree
to check-in with each other on a regular basis. Agree to communicate
honestly and openely. Agree to the course of
action set by the doctor and to review progress
regularly Self-preservation for the caregiver It can be difficult not to take anger,
criticism negativity and apathy personally. It’s
important not to buy into it accept that it’s the depression barking, not
the person you care for. Being overexposed to someone else’s
Black Dog can begin to rub off. Misery loves company so try not to get
sucked into the vortex It’s really important to recognize and
honor your own needs limitations and boundaries. Difficult situations a better dealt with
when you are calm and in the moment Yoga, meditation and mindfulness are great tools for achieving calmness and
control. Join a support group There’s nothing like being in a room
full of people who understand and share your story It’s important to get out and do your
own thing and be with friends. Friends may not be
able to solve your problems but they can offer incredible support,
comfort, wisdom and laughter. A Black Dog in any relationship can be confronting,
frightening and frustrating but navigated
together, the bond can become deeper richer and better for it. And
finally the most important aspect in this
tourney is to constantly remind each other it will pass it will pass it will pass If you have a Black Dog in your life, get
help, be helped and always hold onto hope.

  • Life is full of stress, work being one of the main reasons for it. Long hours, social conflicts and low pay can make anyone depressed.  And I'm not sure how to combat this issue, I understand the need to work and make money for security.

  • That piano tho. Calm and quiet, yes. Relaxing, maybe. 
    Piano music always use to darken/sadden my mood.

  • I love the video and the message. Very well done. The only thing that I would change is the attitude about black dogs. I am concerned that it can teach the wrong message about how to treat dogs/animals. As a Mental Health practitioner, and animal advocate, I believe its important to teach compassion for all beings. Embracing the black dog and retraining it may be another way to get the message across without alienating any precious beings, and without portraying the message that we must shun depression. We want to heal it, yes. And we want to also access the value it has as well. That said, thank you for your dedication to helping those with depression, and for the well made video. I will surely use it as an education tool.

  • What if this person doesn't want to be helped and is tired of helping herself and is afraid of change and feels like what makes her happy right now isn't enough and doesn't know what will make her happy than she is right now. My friend has depression and she doesn't want to live anymore. Feedback would be nice. Thank you

  • Thank you for these two videos, Matthew and Ainsley. I think you may have saved me from a day of despair and perhaps from crushing my relationship yet again. You've reminded me of what I need to do… first, stop denying the dog's existence in my life; second, stop being ashamed; third, get out into the forest or play the piano or both. Bless you both.

  • For some (me, for example), "It will pass" seems a hollow promise. Learning coping strategies is about as good as it gets.

  • I had never heard of The Black Dog or Living with a Black Dog before this class.  These videos could help so many people, that I had to share.

  • Lets be honest – wouldnt we all prefer a pill – that would end our lives in peace and without pain, without destroying our organs – so we could donate them. Wouldnt it be great that if after – like myself you ve had depression for 14 years – people stopped pretending and profiting from pretending that "everyone" can be cured! Right now I have 30 healthy organs I could give to save lives – a childs life – anyones life – someone who will actually want to live. I ve tried all this bull – and it doesn't work!! Maybe it does for some. I ve read up on why people think its not a good idea but their points are so pathetic compared to the pro's of why its a good idea. Freedom! release and peace X

  • I'm brain washed by kind of depression feeling every day, every moment…
    But being a man, I feel embarrassed to seek help from the people I familiar with. When I talk to my gf about my true feeling, her response usually made me feel even worse. So sad and these made me to shut my mouth. What I can do is to pretend to be a happy person… sort of…

  • This is wonderful. I have a friend who is going through their depression right now, and I fell like this is helping me prepare. I will definitely rewatch this soon. Thank you.

  • I really need german subtitles.. I want to show this video to my mom because she doesn't know what she could do about my depression and i really can't eplain it to her. please!!!!! i need this! 🙂
    this video is so great!

  • Sería importante que ésta versión lo tuvieran con audio latino. Lo menciono porque hay ocasiones en que algunas personas no alcanzan a leer. Yo trabajo en el área de promoción y prevención en Salud Mental en Jalisco, México. Muchas gracias @World Health Organization

  • m scrolling through the comments to find something that touches me but none do. how am I supposed to battle the black dog on my own? what if i just want to surrender!

  • In my opinion, as human being we have our own black dog which are our fear, negative thinkings and scary thoughts. The most important thing is that we'd better simplify it, live with it. We shouldn't build up the story or frame it. The more we think about that, the bigger the black dog. Just let the black dog go through your mind like some of clouds pass through the sky. That's it, nothing more, nothing less. That's the approriate method which I still apply in my life.

  • I want to cry especially since Jonghyun died because of depression…his psychiatrist should've watch this video. RIP out bling bling Jonghyun

  • I guess I am a little upset with this reference–ah if only I was a bit more literate and could know the meaning of Jonghyun's tattoo. Black Dog = Depression. Why it was not more known here?

  • My maths teacher told me to watch the two black dog videos today. And it's just kinda hit me how much she actually realises what's going on without me even having said anything. I really needed this

  • What if you have a physical illness that makes it impossible to consistently earn enough money to live on and you're getting further and further into debt, yet no financial support available, no support network and no social life due to depression, illness and lack of money, crippled confidence a completely broken sense of identity, no social skills, and a past that is too painful to bear despite having had professional help for over a decade… if you don't relate to this and you have even one of those things in place, I'm happy for you, sad that you have a black dog, but this viscous cycle has no 'exit' that I can see. If you have someone who loves you (not talking specifically a partner – a family would have been nice) who you love back that makes life worth something..

  • this video needs more asian language captions because many asian countries still suppress talking about mental health and this would be life changing

  • I've had many dark days these last few months, just watched the black dog video and I shall definitely take something from this and banish my black dog someday.

  • Depression is nothing like a black dog, Dogs are freindly, loyal and
    bring comfort, thanks to you bunch of cunts everytime i see a black dog i
    am now instantly reminded that I have mental health problems and it
    brings me down for the rest of the day. Whoever decided that this would
    be a good idea is an absolute cunt, Typical shit policys from a bunch
    of arseholse who know nothing about mental health,

  • Depression in Europe and industrial nation is different than others, would y say its the same as africa?. There are all the monies in Europe but yet statiscally they have the highest rate of white dog depression and suicide. They judge the entire world ie the beautiful africa, the lovely india and asia with those patient people who suffered 300 years of white dog domination and colonialism with the same prospective as themselves.


  • Thank you for this video. When I saw the name of this video I was shocked and thought you saw the inside of my mind because the night before I tried to take my own life I actually saw a black hound and although I knew this was one of my hallucinations it scared me and I ran to my room crying uncontrollably. I will ensure my husband watches this video because I want him to understand what I am going through and also because I have shut him out for a longtime although I knew he deserved none of this. It is usally the people closest to us that are more affected by such situations as did my husband because at some point it starts to rub off on them too, not knowing how to deal with it. I love my husband and don't want him to suffer because of my black dog. All I want is my life back.

  • I got this depression everyday for 10 years until now, please pray for me 🙁 . I know I am strong for staying alive this far but i don't know when will these all end 🙁

  • I've been in a relationship with a person carrying the "black dog" for just over 3 months now. I must admit, it's been hard: I myself struggle with the feeling that I'm not loved by this person, and that they don't want to talk to me or spend time with me because they hate me. I've learned that that isn't the case: her depression is incredibly strong, she's had quite a rough life (she was adopted which contributed a lot to her depression.) In fact, it's her depression which has made her act in that way. I know she loves me, and to anyone else who's in a similar situation with their partner, people with depression need you the most, and they will remain loyal because you mean everything to them. That extra bit of help you give them is going to mean everything to them. The last point on this video is incredibly important: "don't give up".

  • Depression is nothing like a black dog, Dogs are loyal freindly and loving. This is a an attempt to group think everybody with mental health problems instead of treating everybody like an individual. Black dogs are one of the most common things you see in the UK, running across the square in the opening scenes of eastenders, pubs everywhere, I see at least 2 or 3 black dogs a day in my life . This is just an attempt to subliminally implant a trigger into everyones heads. Every time you see a black dog you will be reminded of your mental health isuues as if they are genuinely following you. you will never be free. This is being pushed by people who have absolutely no idea what it nis like to have depression graduates who learnt everything they know from a text book with no real life understanding of mental health.

    By externalising your mental health issue, you are running away from it, mental health issues are not things that follow you outside of your body, this is simpply an attempt to dissasociate you from yourself, making it easier to manipulate you and trigger you off.

  • I was fully on board with this until the issue of cost came up – in some cases, part of being depressed is an inability to pay for basic necessities, and feeling powerless because someone else is helping you do so. Tacking on yet another expense seems like it would be monumentally counterproductive in that scenario.
    The advice overall is damned good – but just wanted to point that portion out.

  • It's also easy to see narcissism instead of depression, a depressed person can be very self-obsessed and insular, they can be incredibly selfish.

    It's important for the carer/partner to take care of themselves, but it's hard because the depressive will see that as rejection, they may also be somewhat paranoid or delusional due to lack of confidence and all the negative self-talk in their head making them tend to accuse you of things you haven't done and doubt your true feelings.

    It's often incredibly hard to live with someone during a breakdown, but of course there's very little professional help or consideration for the carer/partner, which is why so many relationships where severe depression is a factor, fail despite any amount of love and compassion, empathy and desire to help and understand on the part of the partner/carer.

    Get help early. Talk to the right people. Let go of the belief that it's your problem to fix. Understand that everything you say, or do, may be criticised. Like it says, try not to get sucked into the vortex and honour your own needs.

    Finally, remember that life is short. If it becomes too much, be prepared to let go and move on, it could be the best solution for all concerned.

  • I always did get back home on a Monday after the weekend with my boyfriend. I left that day when he needed me the most so I had such regret and yesterday I talked with him (how much I could) that I will always be there for him and he finally said something to me (he was so quiet this weekend and didn't touch me or looked at me). He didn't love me anymore as he used too in the beginning but he still cares about me so much he said. He still wants me in his life but he didn't want to drag me with him with his black dog (he knows I'm insecure and sensitive too, still I told him I can be strong enough to support both of us). This is one of the most difficult times in my life and I'm just 23 and he's 25. I hope I can be there for him when he needs me or wants to see me. He told me he still wants to see me sometimes, I hope that means he will always be my family (we were 3 years and 7 months together and he was my real first good love so he means the world to me). We hugged and kissed for the last time while crying. He's so sweet and funny but without a job and not that much personal contact, I can understand a little bit of what he is going through. I really hope he searches for help when he makes that choice himself. I will always support him, no matter what. Ohana 🌸

  • But dogs are therapy. Title and idea makes no sense at all. What next? A black sloth? Cutest creature ever?

    Excuse me but I want to smack the originator of this dumb idea.

    Come up with a better description for this issue because dogs and depression, generally do not relate.

  • Thank you so much for this. My partner ( a none dog lover) seems to have got their own black dog and doesn't know what to do with it. As a health professional and a trained mental health nurse they're struggling to follow the right path and I'm doing my best to be supportive but this video has helped me tremendously. I'll talk with then about this video, and, if they feel it appropriate, I'll share it with them.

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