The words Anxiety and Depression have become very well known in recent years, particularly amongst young people who have grown up beside the brave souls sharing their mental health experiences, breaking down stigmas and raising awareness.
Mental health no longer sits completely on the shelf, with hardly any acknowledgment that it’s very real and very much there. Nowadays, more and more people are taking notice of it, and best all of, understanding it and making it better.
Whether you’re struggling yourself or you know someone who is, no doubt you are better acquainted with the debilitating effects of fragile emotional/mental well being.
Everyone’s story is different. But everyone’s story equally matters. . .
My own encounters with vulnerability in my mind began as a child, and transformed as I grew into a rather severe form of OCD. I manage day to day and am seeking support for managing my symptoms but despite the heavy weight that it causes upon my day to day activities, the one nurturing and encouraging strength has always been, my country life and my beloved ponies.
It is from this that I’ve come to realise how animals truly do facilitate positive mental health and it is why I’ve become so passionate about learning, studying and applying Animal Assisted Therapy in my own life.
‘Work within your strengths and natural loves’ I was encouraged!
Animals and horses do not judge, ask questions or apply any kind of pressure in our fragile moments. They simply give us their devotion, their trust, and a place to belong. To anyone feeling the disorientation of a Mental illness, that loyalty is overwhelmingly healing and a welcome relief.
It’s as though the broken pieces within us are fitted back together with an animal present in our lives. I often wonder, are they angels in disguise!?!
Their needs and feelings are akin to our own, maybe that is why we treat them in such a humanised way at times. There is a mutual understanding there. A comfort which is often hard to find when our mental health strips away self compassion.
I am hoping with each new day, that I can continue to learn all the little pearls of wisdom that Animal Therapy can bring. One day I hope to be fully trained to assist anyone in need of a four legged therapist. If not that, then maybe just a friend. The sort that puts their head beside you and with one affection gaze says . . .
‘ everything will be okay. I am here’