I won’t lie; the past twelve months have been hard on me, mental health wise. I’m not shy about sharing that I suffering from a variety of things. I have bipolar one, PTSD, anxiety disorder, and bulimia. One may ask why I’m so open with this. It wasn’t so long ago that someone like me would be a dirty family secret, who would locked away somewhere and never talked about again. But, times are changing, and one of the biggest things we can do to keep that movement going is to remove the stigma that is attached to mental health.
What I have is a chemical imbalance in my brain. It’s something I have no control over, and it’s a disease, just like diabetes, COPD or asthma. You don’t look down on somebody who has to take their insulin or when they have a drop in the blood sugar and have to be rushed to the hospital. So, why should we be aghast when someone has to be hospitalized because they have a mental crisis and needs to have their meds adjusted?
My family has always been there to support me. Ken, Joie, and Cody have always shown unwavering faith no matter how bad things have gotten. And believe me, there have been some dark times. But, they weren’t the only ones who were there for me. Believe it or not, my four-legged buds have been instrumental in getting me through some of my darkest moments.
The kittens, and yes I still call them that a year later, always know when I’m sad. They come over and give me kisses and merps. They will curl up next to me and purr. Just that little bit of contact makes me feel loved and not so alone in the world. Which is a lot when the dark, cloying monster of depressing is trying to drag you under.
My dogs, Loki and Reno will crawl into bed with me and press their bodies against me. Loki will even lick me and tug lightly on my hair. Then they will gaze at me with undying devotion, making me feel as if I’m the most important person in their world. That expression alone makes the Depression Monster’s whispers go away. The ones that say, “No one loves you. If you died now, no one would miss you or care.”
So many people are quick to dismiss pets and their importance. How foolish they are. Little do they know that mine have literally saved my life on more than one occasion. I’m in a much better place now and it’s thanks to my family and my four-legged buddies who are my family, too. I rescued them, but they ended up rescuing me in turn.