Anxiety Wellbeing

Emotional Support Animals

Have you seen the video online of the lady having a panic attack and her emotional support dog helps her through it. It is beautiful, heartbreaking and so raw. Truly special. The bond and love.

I started to look into these animals that are specially trained to help people with anxiety and it is something that should be invested in as these animals are true angels to their owners in their time of need. A lot of anxiety sufferers have trouble being alone or leaving home, and these animals are the future in my opinion. I would love to have one.

This isn’t a new concept. Freud would incorporate his dog into his patient’s therapy sessions. Science is catching up, and has proven that cuddling our pets releases endorphins, now becoming apparent to doctors and mental health professionals what pet owners have always known – our pets calm us, make us happy and even cure us!

I have been researching and seeing in anxiety groups, and with friends, the power of these beautiful creatures. What some call just a pet, is so much more when we need emotional support. The hard truth of the matter is that it is very difficult to get the right emotional support from another person. Humans have barriers, we are all working from our own flawed place, and ultimately no matter how empathetic someone is, they have their own life, own problems and own issues. Even when we find someone who truly provides the emotional support that we need, we can find ourselves relying on that person and this is never good. Even the most dedicated support system has to go do their own things at some point.

I had felt frustrated that these specially trained animals are not available where I live. They seemed to just exist in YouTube videos. Then I started to realise something. I had been suffering from insomnia, and at around 10pm every night, one of my cats would come and lie on my shoulder. She does this a lot but she started to put her little face into my ear and purr in my ear. I have never heard a more relaxing sound. Over the next few nights, she would appear at almost exactly 10pm and purr in my ear. It relaxed me so much and I managed to finally get a good nights sleep. I realised, I already had my emotional support animal.

This week my sleep patterns are back to normal and she has gone back to her normal routine too. She still cuddles on my shoulder in the morning but at night, she goes to her bed downstairs. She has always been my protector, since I found her at the local vet. She was found on the street alone at 4 months old. Ever since then she has been by my side, waking me up from my seizures with kisses and loving me when I lived abroad alone. I have 2 other cats, who are both extremely affectionate, but she is different.

I believe that all animals are a blessing to our lives and bring good energy. But some pets are different. This little baby that someone abandoned and that no-one wanted to adopt seems to understand the parts of me that no-one else does. And perhaps this is the point. These beautiful creatures that have suffered seem to truly understand our suffering.

That is why this week we also started the Power of Anxiety Facebook group, as finding our tribe, the other humans who understand these parts of us, is critical also.

Emotional support is a basic need.

Love, @powerofanxiety