My Secret Weapon Against Depression

This post was written back in 2016 during a very difficult time in my life; and a lot has changed since then. Willow, my constant companion, developed a cognitive disorder (similar to human dementia) and had to be put down. Merlin, my boxer – who I thought  was my best bud – decided he would prefer to live with my dad.

But there was some good news! I got a new doberman puppy to replace Willow since she needed to retire from Service dog work. Dante is proving to be a worthy prospect for the job, and has taken to the task with vigour. 

The Three Musketeers

Recently, I decided to take a break from Social Media (currently on week two of a four week hiatus). I had become so disengaged with everything I was seeing – the US election sure didn’t help! – and I was drifting down into a hole I was unwittingly digging myself. 

Thankfully, I have two constant companions who are not concerned with whether I stayed in my PJs for the last week (or three). They both climbed up onto the couch with me when I couldn’t lift my head off my pillow. Willow actually wouldn’t leave my side for the longest time – what a good Service Dog she is going to be!

They were fine with playing in the house when I was feeling too low to gather up enough energy to take them for a walk.

They quietly listened to my silent tears without judgement or pity.

They have been peaceful comrades by my side or near by if I needed a cuddle buddy or a laugh (Merlin is always eager to make me giggle!).

I have long ago learned that the best medicine for depression and anxiety is at least one dog, but preferably more than one! Although they aren’t supposed to be our therapists, they always seem to handle the job with ease as long as all their needs are being met first.

They give me a reason to get up in the morning.

They help me to forget about my troubles for awhile and sometimes, I forget a little longer and can start to really enjoy my life for awhile.

For anyone else who has or is duking it out with their mental health, I applaud you. I know the struggle is as tangible as water in the ocean. Some days are hurricanes, others are serene swellstwinkling with levity.

We each deal with our inner turmoil in our own ways, and none of us are wrong. However, there is a growing number of people who are turning to mother nature and the animal kingdom for help in our battle against mental illness. I am really not surprised. We have methodically become less and less aware of our surroundings and our place in the natural world, and I believe this is why we are seeing a rise in mental illness diagnoses, namely depression and anxiety.

Fortunately, we are becoming more aware of the benefits of being in nature is for our health and well-being, and our pets are helping to light the way!

If you have any comments or you want to share your journey, I would love to hear from you! Be sure to leave a comment below. If this post impacted you, feel free to share my story with your friends!

You see, I have had a long history of mental health issues – I struggle with anxiety and depression daily. Sometimes they win, and sometimes I do. For awhile now, I have been winning and it’s felt amazing! But several minor upsets in my life, a nasty cold that held on for dear life, and a couple big upheavals have left me with nothing left in my reserve tanks as I was struggling to dig myself out of the hole I had dug myself.