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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Pets and mental health

One of the major reasons I ended up getting a cat was to reduce my anxiety levels, which have always been very high. I suffer from general and social anxiety disorder, coupled with Bipolar II disorder. So basically, I can be very stressed out, anxious, depressed, and/or hypomanic depending on the 'season.' I have gone through some very dark times in my early twenties. Ever since I adopted Luna, I seem to have somewhat stabilized (for now). To be honest, I am actually not on my meds right now. I have not been since Christmas. I have them - in my drawer - if I ever need them (which I know I will). My major problem right now remains my social anxiety disorder. I am a hermit pretty much. I have no friends. But I find that having an animal around the house has helped a lot with my depression - which has been fairly chronic until recently. Does anyone else have pets for therapeutic reasons or find that they help out with their mental health?


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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 09:31 PM
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Pets and mental health

Recently I've been going through a lot. A few months ago I was getting terrible anxiety and panic attacks. I went through a few weeks where I had so much trouble sleeping because of panic attacks, but I slept perfectly fine if Cherry was with me. There were nights where I don't think she realized I was still awake and freaking out, but more nights than not, she was there.

I honestly feel like she has helped me through a lot. Even just her presence is enough to make me feel better.


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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 09:42 PM
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Yep. Most effective, least expensive therapy around - some pets and lots of purrs and being able to talk it out. Simon sat through a lot of those talks with me, RIP little buddy.

I have helped two different adopters at the shelter seeking therapy pets (one of whom was able to get around a landlord's no pets policy by having a doctor's note). It's good to see the medical community is backing this to the point of prescribing it.


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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 10:04 PM
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I bring my dog to see my 96 year old bedridden mom. He is small and cam be on her bed. She perks up and touching and talking about him helps her. Also now that I work from home and am with my 15 year old dog his medical problems have gotten stablilized and is off most meds. So apparently it goes both ways. We all need to feel loved and connected.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 10:11 PM
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Yes, my boyfriend and I are both finishing our PhDs and decided to adopt a pet to help us cope with the stress and exhaustion. It is really awesome to see her little face and hear purring when I walk in at the end of the day! We definitely need that extra love!
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-23-2013, 03:09 AM
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Hm, well my story might be a little heavy but there's no reason not to share it.

I've suffered from depression and anxiety for ten years. I had never had a cat of my own (just family pets) so had never experienced real responsibility.

The first time I considered suicide I had just adopted Skooma, moved out of my parents place, and started a new job. The thought didn't go far since I didn't have anyone I trusted enough to take care of the cat.

The second time I considered suicide I had two cats, a rabbit and a bird. But this time I had to remind myself that I had animals after contemplating the best way to go about it (being a writer and curious I had researched and knew there were very few ways that were painless/99.9% effective).

I got help. Realized that meds and therapy weren't for "crazies" or "giving up" like my parents had, hopefully unknowingly, instilled within me. For a brief period I had thought I conquered the depression but this is what it feels like to be free. It's absolutely amazing. And I have my cats to thank for saving my life. It's not the only reason I spoil them but it certainly helps.


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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-23-2013, 04:05 AM
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Pets and mental health

I've always had high anxiety levels (thanks mom!). I can worry the most trivial into something huge in no time. My blood pressure was high and my depression grew more dark. When we adopted our dogs they all helped immensely with calming me down. My chihuahua helped me chase the crazy thoughts from my mind. Now the cats, since I can't sit down without several hopping onto my lap I can't help but maintain a calm demeanor. Often I find myself stroking them and don't even realize it. That drives my chi insane but the cats don't care. They've all been blessings in my life in one way or another. I couldn't imagine a life without them.


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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-23-2013, 09:30 AM
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There are plenty of times in the past 5 or 6 years that MowMow was my only reason for getting out of bed. Plenty of times I've cried all over him too. He's a combo of security blanket and little rock.

..and Book... well, he makes me laugh a lot. My dim little bulb.

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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-23-2013, 03:57 PM
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I agree that animals make a huge difference in life, actually make it worth living. I too have faced thoughts of suicide only to stop because who would clean the cat boxes if I was gone?


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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-23-2013, 06:11 PM
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I just want to say I am happy that you are all still here and finding life worth living.
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