Drop Dead, Rex.

Today I’ve been walking the black dog. Generally I keep him locked in the basement.  But from time to time he breaks out – and takes me with him. You might have spotted me, yelling or throwing an imaginary bone. But I doubt you’ll have noticed him. To tell the truth, I’m not even sure he’s there.

That’s the thing about depression.  It doesn’t really exist.  Or rather, it exists for other people – but not you.

You know the checklist: loss of interest in normal activities, difficulty sleeping, sustained low mood, hopelessandhelplessandeverythinggrey. You could tick a lot of the boxes – except ticking boxes requires thought. Thought however, is not happening. The tiniest decisions send you spiralling into the dark place you swore you’d kissed goodbye.  You’re brain-bogged and leaky and stuck. You’re Tired.


Busy at work.

But one thing’s for sure:

You’re not depressed.

If a friend came to you with these symptoms, you’d give them a hug. But you’re different.  You don’t deserve help.

You’re a drain. la-


weak. empty.

A series of negatives. Not washing, not sleeping, not exercising, not working.

Not a person. And not a Christian either.


Because a Christian would just have faith, right?

A Christian would pray and trust and read the psalms and know that God was there.

They’d cry out and God would answer and it’d all be okay. Not instant healing necessarily, but at least a chink of light.

Surely they’d feel something?

And if in the darkness, they still had no sense of hope

what then?

Are they still a Christian?

Is the blackness real? Or is Jesus – the baby and the man and the risen Lord – still brighter?

Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

 We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters,so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.

Hebrews 2:14-18


Image from ‘Living with a Black Dog’ by Matthew and Ainsley Johnstone ( picture-book on depression which is also quite  brilliant).



15 thoughts on “Drop Dead, Rex.

  1. A doctor-friend once observed that we tend to view depression as an illness in others, and a weakness in ourselves.
    You’re right – the reality of Christ is true and realer than those everyday things which seem so real and all-encompassing. It’s hard to grasp hold of that sometimes. Sometimes it’s just okay to say ‘I believe that I believe this’, and sit at a distance until things get clearer. Praying that you will be safe in God’s arms even in the darkness.

  2. Thanks Emma for being brave enough to share how it is for you, almost word for word what is going through my brain this week as well so really helpful to know I’m not on my own in these struggles!! Hope and pray your black dog goes back where he belongs very soon x

  3. That explains the deep sadness and the heavy tight chest…..there’s a huge black dog sitting on me. Thanks Emma, I hope this outlet helps you as much as it helps your readers.

  4. there is another blog i read, not a christian one, but a very good one that has a page on how the writer has been feeling and managing through depression. it was like i was reading about myself sometimes. its called hyperboleandahalf.

    as for that feeling, it has been with me so long now, that i am almost suprised when my mood fflips to hyper. i spend so much time in that dark dark pit that ive forgotten what light looks like. sometimes i sit and tell myself there is no way out, that i’ve been ‘forgotten down here while god is busy saving everyone else. but then, i think that i know i am a bad person, a bad christian. a bad everything. i wish i could see what everyone else sees, but its just too dark. i may as well be blind. maybe thats the problem, i’m so used to the dark that it made me blind.

    i’m sorry you are having a bad day. i wish i had something inspirational to say, as you give us so much inspiration. all i have is, you help so many people with your words, jesus really speaks through you, and i know he is gonna throw you that rope to lead you out and back into the light where you belong. xox

  5. Thank you Emma, you’ve put into words how I’ve felt for a while and helped me to see I’m not alone and to look to Jesus :) Thank you x

  6. Thanks so much everyone.

    Kerry – thanks for the link. I guess it’s not just that Jesus throws the rope: He comes Himself to be with us in the pit. And He’s in there with us, for as long as it takes.

  7. Emma, thanks for this and other posts like it. It resonates.

    ‘…hard pressed on every side, but not crushed. perplexed, but not in despair…’

  8. Hi kerrycakes,

    so sorry things are hard. i was thinking about that Hebrews 2 passage Emma quoted yesterday. When it talks about Jesus “helping” us in v16, it’s actually a word that means “grabs hold of”. When Jesus came at Christmas, He came into the darkest part of the valley of the shadow, He found us and He grabbed hold of us. He took your humanity – all your sorrows – and hoisted you onto His shoulders. He marched through life, having taken you in His possession. He took responsibility for all your mess and sin, rose up again from the dead and carried you right into God’s presence. There are *many* times when I lose hold of Him, when I forget Him, when I fail Him. But He never loses hold of me. Even while you’re in the dark, He’s got hold of you in the light. And He’s not letting go.

    God bless,

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