Journals

Please use the links below to access / download various assets for the books Challenging the Black Dog and Silencing the Inner Ghosts.
If you need something that is not listed, please contact press@offbeatbrains.com.

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VJ Cast
+61 459 020 799
press@offbeatbrains.com

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SALES QUERIES
VJ Cast
+61 459 020 799
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MAILING ADDRESS
PO BOX 164
Russell Island, QLD 4184
Australia

TITLE: Challenging the Black Dog
SUBTITLE: A Creative Outlet for Tackling Depression
AUTHOR: VJ Cast
PUBLISHER: Offbeat Brains
SIZE: Trade 6 x 9 in (15 × 23 cm)
ON SALE: May 2021
RRP: AU$24.99 / US$19.99
ISBN-13: 978-0-6482474-4-9
PAGES: 212

Longform copy for newsletters, email campaigns, blog posts, etc.

Challenging the Black Dog
A Creative Outlet for Tackling Depression

From non-fiction author, VJ Cast, comes a fantastic creative therapy journal for people dealing with depression by someone who has 25 years of “been there, done that” lived experience with mental illness.

Challenging the Black Dog is a thoughtful and creative resource for teenagers and young adults dealing with depression. With an abundance of written exercises and innovative probes, it serves as an intimate guide to self-discovery and constructive change. I strongly recommend it not only for those who are experiencing the pain of depression but for all who wish to reflect deeply with the personal factors that can bring us darkly down and those that can bring us back to renewal and light.BRIAN R. LITTLE, Ph.D., Fellow, Well-Being Institute, Cambridge University

Created under the guidance of a qualified psychologist the journal aims to provide a safe, private place for users to get to know their Black Dog—to explore and tackle their depression. It does so through a combination of therapy techniques including narrative and music therapy, art/creative therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and mindfulness. The journal also includes trigger and mood logs, mental health resource lists, and stress-relieving colouring pages.

Because of its format Challenging the Black Dog lends itself readily to being used as a form of guided self-therapy for those unable (or unwilling) to access other medical interventions, or in conjunction with other medical resources, such as psychologists and counsellors. With use and time, this journal can help transform users into an active participant in their journey towards recovery from depression.

So, start the challenge of leashing your Black Dog and reclaim control over your psychological well-being.

http://www.offbeatbrains.com/

Shortform copy for blurbs.

Dismissing the idea that the experience of depression is ‘one size fits all’ Challenging the Black Dog isn’t your typical therapy workbook, which only adds to the appeal. VJ Cast, who has 25 years of “been there, done that” lived experience with mental illness, does not hand you answers in her new creative journal, but instead sets you up to find them yourself and allows you take back control on your own terms. http://www.offbeatbrains.com/

TITLE: Silencing the Inner Ghosts
SUBTITLE: A Creative Outlet for Tackling Self-Harm
AUTHOR: VJ Cast
PUBLISHER: Offbeat Brains
SIZE: Trade 6 x 9 in (15 × 23 cm)
ON SALE: May 2021
RRP: AU$24.99 / US$19.99
ISBN-13: 978-0-6482474-5-6
PAGES: 204

Long form copy for newsletters, email campaigns, blog posts, etc.

Silencing the Inner Ghosts
A Creative Outlet for Tackling Self-Harm

From non-fiction author, VJ Cast, comes a fantastic new creative therapy journal specially designed for Young Adults (15-25) dealing with non-suicidal self-harm by someone who has 25 years of “been there, done that” lived experience with mental illness.

As a creative work developed by someone who’s walked the path, this is a ‘real and raw’ tool to help people with self-harming behaviour(s) better understand where they’re coming from. Silencing the Inner Ghosts is an engaging collection of questions, challenges and activities for self-expression and self-reflection that can help people find valuable clarity amidst the turmoil of everyday life. Every activity can be used to develop insight into troubling thoughts and emotions, but it’s also easy-going enough so users can choose their own journey and take what’s needed.Dr Justin Chapman, Mental Health Researcher: QIMR Berghofer, PCYC Queensland, Metro South Addictions and Mental Health

Created under the guidance of a qualified psychologist the journal aims to provide a safe, private place for users to get to know their Ghosts—to explore and tackle their impulse to self-harm. It does so through a combination of therapy techniques including narrative and music therapy, art/creative therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and mindfulness. The journal also includes trigger and mood logs, mental health resource lists, and stress-relieving colouring pages.

Because of its format Silencing the Inner Ghosts lends itself readily to being used as a form of guided self-therapy for those unable (or unwilling) to access other medical interventions, or in conjunction with other medical resources, such as psychologists and counsellors. With use and time, this journal can help transform users into an active participant in their journey towards recovery from self-harming behaviours.

So, start the challenge of silencing your Ghosts and reclaim control over your psychological well-being.

http://www.offbeatbrains.com/

Shortform copy for blurbs.

Dismissing the idea that the experience of depression is ‘one size fits all’ Silencing the Inner Ghosts isn’t your typical self-harm therapy workbook, which only adds to the appeal. VJ Cast, who has 25 years of “been there, done that” lived experience with mental illness, does not hand you answers in her new creative journal, but instead sets you up to find them yourself and allows you take back control on your own terms. http://www.offbeatbrains.com/

Long Version

VJ is a first-time non-fiction author, introvert, and co-parent of a home-schooled teen on the spectrum.

She’s spent over two decades struggling with depression, trichotillomania (hair pulling), social anxiety, disordered eating (EDNOS), non-suicidal self-harm, and bipolar II. Fibromyalgia enjoys kicking her ass, so she’s close friends with numerous hot water bottles.

She spent her teen years living overseas, which involved a period of carrying a gas-mask at school (Gulf War I) and surviving a Molotov cocktail landing on her bed and setting fire to it while she was in it. These days she lives on one of the South Moreton Bay Islands off the coast of South East Queensland, Australia which has an incredible abundance of wildlife, but far too many friendly mosquitoes in summer.

As a grand-daughter of Sir John Gorton, she was often encouraged by her high school teachers to follow in his political footsteps. She decided her lack of a poker face (and, occasionally, tact) made this a terrible idea. Instead, she pursued a more creative path, receiving an Advanced Diploma in Editing, and she has almost completed studies for a Bachelor of Arts (Professional Writing & Publishing) at Curtin University in Western Australia via Open Universities Australia.

She would describe her (lack of) relationship with social media as ‘it’s complicated.’

 

Short Version

VJ is a non-fiction author, introvert, and co-parent of a home-schooled teen.

She’s spent over two decades struggling with depression, trichotillomania (hair pulling), social anxiety, disordered eating (EDNOS), non-suicidal self-harm, and bipolar II. Fibromyalgia enjoys kicking her ass, so she’s close friends with numerous hot water bottles.

She likes comfy pants with pockets, silver bracelets, replaying Mass Effect, table-top roleplaying games, and making a mess with numerous DIY projects. She dislikes (most) social media, having to wear makeup, photographs of herself, and watching her child grow up.

She lives on a small island off the coast of South East Queensland with an abundance of wildlife and far too many friendly mosquitoes.

Her hair colours, like her medications, are subject to change.

Photo of VJ Cast
Sketch of VJ Cast

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…No one gets to live your life but you. You have the power to shape it the way you want it to be and this book is about you. You can write in it, draw, vent, scribble random things that are important and inspire you. Treat it as your companion. It’s here to help and encourage you. It’s a support crew in your corner, there to use anytime, anywhere.

Belle Brockhoff
Professional Snowboarder &  2x Olympian

bellebrockhoff.com
Instagram @beleebrockhoff / Twitter @bellebrockhoff

Challenging the Black Dog presents a refreshingly original approach to grappling with depression. The exercises here spark a creative process that simultaneously grounds and explores. I wish I’d had this book in my teens and twenties.

Mark Pellegrino
Actor, Supernatural and 13 Reasons Why
@MarkRPellegrino

Challenging the Black Dog is a thoughtful and creative resource for teenagers and young adults dealing with depression.  With an abundance of written exercises and innovative probes, it serves as an intimate guide to self-discovery and constructive change. I strongly recommend it not only for those who are experiencing the pain of depression but for all who wish to reflect deeply with the personal factors that can bring us darkly down and those that can bring us back to renewal and light.

Brian R. Little, PhD.
Fellow, Well-Being Institute
Cambridge University

Challenging the Black Dog is immensely creative, using humour and intentional questions to encourage personal reflection. In the busyness of life slowing down and finding positive ways to manage depression is essential. Challenging the Black Dog provides information, tips and tricks on a wide range of topics in an interactive format to encourage the reader to actively participate in their recovery and tell their own story. There’s something for everyone in this book.

Associate Professor James Scott
Child and Youth Psychiatrist
Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research

Challenging the Black Dog is a resource for depression sufferers by a depression sufferer. VJ’s approach provides a very specific type of compassion and understanding that’s only available from lived experience, yet still manages to get across the idea of personal accountability for recovery.  It is a treasure trove of ideas, strategies and bite-sized prompts which can be added to by the reader.  An experimental approach is encouraged!  Importantly it provides hope and will complement professional expertise.

Patrick McGorry AO MD PhD FRANZCP
Professor of Youth Mental Health
Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health and the University of Melbourne

Challenging the Black Dog isn’t about replacing professional medical help, but, it will no doubt be an effective road-map to those who are lost and seeking guidance. Challenging the Black Dog is significant in that it does not hand you answers, but rather sets you up to find them yourself.

Sam Webb
Actor + Co-founder of mental health organisation, LIVIN.
www.samwebb.com.au / www.livin.org
Instagram @ samwebb / FB @ samwebbau

Challenging the Black Dog is a great addition to the resources available for young people with depression. The book is easy to use and allows consumers to easily relate to images and messages which resonate with young people. In particular, VJ’s own lived experience of depression at a young age makes the messages ring true.

Dr Ted Cassidy MB BS FRANZCP
Psychiatrist & CEO TMS Australia

We need to ditch the ‘one size fits all’ stereotype of depression and anxiety and Challenging the Black Dog provides a creative outlet for young people to be artistic, to vent if they feel like it, or to explore their thoughts and feelings in a safe, private way.

Professor Jane Burns
University of Sydney
Founder. Chair. Strategic Advisor.
@janeburns

What a brilliant idea — Challenging the Black Dog is a creative resource, designed to support personal reflection and insight into the experience of depression.  And why shouldn’t the exploration of depression be creative, stimulating and ultimately uplifting? Challenging the Black Dog effectively takes the currently popular, designer “happiness journal” to a new level and depth, confronting the reality of living with depression in a format that can be both pleasurable and relatable.

Professor Jill Bennett
Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, UNSW AUSTRALIA
Director of The Big Anxiety: festival of arts + science + people
thebiganxiety.org / T: @thebiganxiety

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