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  • Writer's pictureIan Ferguson


Updated: Nov 7, 2020

Taking the stigma out of mental illness

Welcome to the Black Dog Collar Pastor website.

My black dog is never far from me. In fact, it follows me wherever I go.

Sometimes you think that you’ve managed to evade him or outsmart him, but turn the corner and there he is, barking away as ever. He scratches and bites at you. This black dog has a name.

I know many pastors who have a black dog, just like the one I have.

They don’t like to admit they have one as its not something you want to broadcast, especially if you are a church leader.

The thing is church leaders are meant to be strong, emotionally healthy and able to cope in every circumstance. The expectations heaped upon them are impossible to meet and so are the expectations they place upon themselves.They have their own personal hopes and dreams as they strive to be faithful to the call of God upon their lives.

Some, however, find that their coping mechanisms are faulty and their mental health suffers.

They become overwhelmed by anxiety and unable to cope with even the mundane things of life.

They have a black dog that barks and bites at them. Not every day but too often to mention.

You will know that the idea of the ‘Black dog’ was coined by one of the great world leaders, Winston Churchill. "Black dog" was the term he used to describe his own depression. He spoke of how his black dog would visit him regularly, leading him in to times of deep darkness and distress. Yet he managed to lead his country during World War 2 to victory despite his poor mental health.

The image of the Black Dog has been used from classical mythology through medieval folklore to modern times as a universal metaphor for depression and other mental illnesses.

Mathew Johnstone video is worth watching so why not visit

So I have two black dogs. One is called Mario. He is more than a dog. He's a good friend.He always greets me with joy, makes me feel wanted and loved. He loves sharing time with me and we walk together each day. He is never in a mood or grumpy. He trusts me.This black dog brings life and love. He is full of life and love.

However, the other 'black dog' is quite different in every way. It walks with me most days too. It often has a powerfully negative impact on my life. It growls at me often and is happy to make my life hell. Some days he succeeds but other days he fails. So, I fight this black dog tooth and nail. This black dog is an all consuming beast that does not let up. I am usually successful in taming it and I am learning new strategies on how to deal with it.

If you have a black dog like this one then don't despair. There is help out there and there are strategies and tools you can use to deal with the Black Dog that is Barking at you.

I have discovered some weapons that can fend off this black dog. The weapons of LIGHT and TRUTH. These weapons are not easy to use when you have depression.

Truth gets distorted in the corridors of your mind and in the chambers of your brain.

However, there is hope and there is light far greater than any darkness or despair that you might be facing.

Listen, don't give up!

You are not alone!

There is Hope!

Bring your light and restoring presence to the dark places in our lives.

Bring your hope to hearts that feel defeated.

Bring your love and compassion to those in pain.

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I tried to run away, to escape the darkness, the messed-up mind and raging thoughts Useless Broken Sinking into that deep dark pit of despair. Where did it come from? How did I end up here? With fear


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