"I Had a Black Dog was my first book published in Australia in 2005. I like to think of it as an uplifting illustrated book on what it is to have depression. The idea for the book was scribbled shortly after the tragic event of 9/11, while living in New York. I didn’t wake up on Sept 12th and think ‘I’m going to change my life!’ it was more a period of osmosis. I realised that life is intrinsically short and that I’d been doing life, not living it due to having a significant unwanted companion trotting along beside me. Depression had been in and out of my life since my late 20’s and I invested huge amounts of energy in covering it up. People warned me against creating such a book, that I would lose my job, responsibilities and even friends but I have to say that apart from marrying my wife and having my children; this was one of the best things I’d ever done with my life. Not only did it set me free but I began to live my life authentically. The biggest lesson in all this for me was helping others is one of the greatest ways we can help ourselves.
-Matthew Johnstone, Writer and Illustrator