Authors- Matthew Johnstone and Ainsley Johnstone 

Genre-Self-help, Comic Book Lookalike 

Themes- Depression, Caregiver’s mental makeup, Mental Health 


I had zero expectations from this book when I picked it up from the stack of pre-loved books. And oh boy! Was I stunned, and how! 

A picture book on mental health and that too written keeping the caregivers for people suffering from depression in mind bowled me over. 

The book is moving, clever, and autobiographical. It touches upon sensitive questions with ease and, at most places, comes across as delightfully funny. 

Johnston’s gentle playfulness and empathic undertone render a lightness and freshness to the somber topic. 

A comic book lookalike with lengthened captions, this book is poignant and enlightening at the same time. It is meant for friends, family, and co-workers of someone struggling with depression; it keeps the suggestions crisp, uncomplicated, and to the point. Depression is referred to as a Black Dog in the book. The charming illustrations highlight how the all-powerful Dog takes over the lives of the sufferers and all involved. 

The husband-and-wife team offers excellent guidance to keep its power in check. 

With chapters like- Things you may have noticed, What not to say or do, Embracing the Black Dog, Self-preservation for the caregiver, the authors cover a wide assortment of issues. 

Quoting a few lines from the book- 

-Don’t try and jolly them along; it often makes them feel worse. 

-fitness robs the Dog of its power 

-Less stress, less Dog. 

-An ignored dog can become a big problem 

-Being overexposed to someone’s Black Dog can begin to rub off. Misery loves company. 

-Carer fatigue is not uncommon, and it helps to see your own doctor. 

Ainsley’s foreword brilliantly sums it up… 

The caregiver lives in the shadow of the Black Dog. Often, they feel like they are walking on eggshells, which can be frustrating, exhausting, and upsetting. 

Depression is a treatable illness, not a life sentence. It does pass. 

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