You’ve heard that people who live with plants live longer. Well, just imagine what having a pet can do for you and your mental health if a little plant can make a big difference.
“An increasing amount of research is pointing to the benefits of pets for people with mental health issues. For instance, a large study interviewed people living with conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder. The findings revealed that having a pet offers people a deep sense of “ontological security” — that is, the feeling of stability, continuity, and meaning in one’s life” (Medical News Today).
For someone like myself, who goes through long spurts of depression, having a pet is sometimes the only thing that gets me out of bed. I mostly live alone, as my husband works on an oil rig and is gone for weeks at a time. This makes my depressive downswings even more lonely and hard to bear.
I rescued Gary a couple of months before the worst depression I’ve ever felt and I can honestly say I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without him.
When I literally couldn’t complete tasks like washing my own hair, brushing my teeth, or feeding myself something other than candy, I would find comfort in taking care of Gary. I couldn’t take care of myself, but I had a little heart in my hands that I knew couldn’t survive without me. He was the only thing I found purpose in.
For those struggling with mental illness, I highly recommend a cat (best for lazy people due to low maintenance) or a dog. The companionship and sense of worth you find in a pet is irreplaceable. As I am typing this Gary is laying on my legs, constantly keeping me company… always there when I need him most.
Source: Sandoiu, Ana. “It’s Official: Pets Benefit Our Mental Health.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 19 Feb. 2018, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320950.php.