I would like to start this off by saying I am in no way a professional, but rather just a girl who's just having a really hard time with her depression right now. Recently, after some very upsetting news about both family drama on my maternal side and my paternal grandpa dying of old age, I've noticed how I've been getting worst over the past few days. I can't sleep for more then two to three hours at a time, but I'm always tired, and I don't want to leave my bed. I've also noticed just how much my pets, no matter how infuriating they can be (mostly referring to my dogs here), have helped me.
Like I've already said I don't want to get out of bed, but three times a day I continue to force myself up and out of the house to walk my dogs around my neighborhood, separately because they're terrible and refuse to leave the house without playing every time they get the chance. I also don't get up in regards to actually feeding myself, but I do have to feed my dogs twice a day and while in the kitchen I tend to grab something for myself, not because the dog food smells good because it honestly doesn't but I can't just look at the food in my kitchen without realizing just how hungry I am. One of my dogs, Mari, sleep in my room and it's nice not because she cuddles or anything (unless it's cold), but it's just nice to wake up (the multiple times I do because my brain sucks) and see her there and she's really cute when I wake her up. Also, when I say their names happily enough, they act as if they haven't seen me in weeks and immediately start wagging their tail and attempt to play with me (Cocoa) or get as close as possible for pets and scratches (Mari). (Cocoa also sleeps on her back a lot, which is funny and cute).
I also have two outdoor cats, and I can't say that they help me get out of the house, except for one who likes to lie in the street and not move when cars come near him so I do attempt to let him inside as much as I can, but they help in their own way. The one that isn't busy lying in the street is called Aloysius (or just Alo for short), and he's really affectionate. I leave my door room open sometimes just because at least once a day he'll come inside and stands on my chest for pets and scratches before settling down at my side or against my legs for a nap. Salem, the one that's probably waiting for a car, isn't as affectionate, but provides little acts of affection here and there, often appearing out of seemingly nowhere to rub against your legs (or meow at you until you let him outside or give him food).
I'm not trying to say "hey, go buy a dog and they'll be so adorable they'll make your depression go away", because that is unfortunately not how this works, but personally I would say it has helped having something to take care of and love you. Obviously this isn't for everyone, there are probably people who get stressed out to have something rely on them as much as dogs rely on their owners, but for me they provide something that's honestly worth living. I love my family, but they can take care of themselves and I've had multiple times where I'm too far gone to care about how they would feel, as selfish as that sounds, but I know that my dogs need me and I absolutely hate to leave them alone for even a week, let alone the rest of their lives.
Information about depression and other related health issues (includes medications).
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