Sunday, February 05, 2017

Tip#1028: Resilience Resources, Part 22 – I Had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression

Looking back at the month of January 2017, it will always remind me that great, uplifting opportunities in life and work can happen. I had spoken and facilitated a Q&A at the Hot Docs Cinema for the My Class Needs Foundation and was also hired to be a Movies-for-Motivation Consultant for a VP’s presentation at a major international company in the UK. It was a great time and my mental health was absolutely stable and feeling good!

Hot Docs Cinema, Toronto, January 16, 2017

But then I experienced a lapse of clinical depression symptoms that left me with a loss of concentration and ruminating, hopeless thoughts. It was only for a few days but it felt like weeks. I could actually feel my brain and body chemicals slowly alter and seep into my blood and mind slowing me down. I was highly aware I was slipping into a familiar dark place again. Thanks to the numerous therapies I’ve focused on I managed through it. Also good, supportive friends helped me identify and transform the catastrophic thinking (see tip#1027) that was triggering high anxieties.

Just before this lapse I discovered a fantastic animated short that thrilled me because it clearly demonstrated, in a clever creative way, what depression has been like for me for over 20 years. So even though I usually feature Hollywood movies on this blog I am eager to feature this short because it may help you or someone you know or work with.

I Had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression (2012)

The animated short, I Had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression, is based on the book written and illustrated by Matthew Johnstone telling his story and lessons learned from years dealing with depression. It is wonderfully illustrated and clearly communicated complex ideas into easy-to-understand messages. See it now below or click here

This short was produced in collaboration with the World Health Organization WHO, to mark World Mental Health Day, October 10th. I am so glad this was produced because now I have a video resource I can share with friends, family and my audiences that could help them better understand the profound struggles of depression. And though I am also a professional illustrator Matthew’s artwork was able to capture the essence of symptoms I’ve experienced. Here are stills from the video...

This illustration reflects how activities I used to enjoy no longer meant anything positive when feeling depression symptoms.

This illustration shows how I can lose concentration and focus when symptoms hit.

This illustration amazingly shows how my body feels when it's difficult to move my arms or legs (psycho motor retardation). It also shows how having depression is more devoid of any feelings rather than feeling sad.

This illustration is part of the solutions I use every day in the form of an app for my iPhone called Happynote where I write positive things that happened that day and what I am grateful for.

This illustration shows that depression or Black Dog may never go away but can be successfully managed and tamed.

I am very grateful for Matthew’s courage for sharing his story because his wonderful work inspired me as a fellow storyteller. It inspired me to continue sharing my own journey of how movies help me manage depression and how using my creative skills in writing, art, music, videos and motivational speaking keeps me activating my indestructible optimism!

If you have a loved one or co-worker that needs an uplifting animated short please forward this to them now. Movies of any length have the power to inspire, motivate and empower a person to find their inner strengths. They help people to persevere through any darkness they face. Most of all, movies can help them feel they are not alone in their challenges!

Related Tips:
Tip#896: Resilience Resources, Part 19 - Depression – J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Tip#855: How Movies Saved My Life, Part 1 - Depression & Mental Health – Tomorrowland
Tip#863: How Movies Saved My Life, Part 2 - Depression & Mental Health - Inside Out
Tip#958: Top 10 Inspiring Movies for Managing Depression

Please see this movie montage I produced featuring favourite film clips and an original song I wrote and performed: Click here


Remember How Movies Can Help You: 
A) Entertain & Escape 
B) Re-energize & Release 
C) Inspiration & Motivation

Emmanuel Lopez-Motivatorman
The Movies-For-Motivation Speaker
Discover How Movies Inspire Resilience & Indestructible Optimism
See website:

© Emmanuel Lopez 2017

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