Here is one of my secret weapons in my fight against panic attacks: Meet my Buddy. He is my personal therapy dog.
He’s one of those smiling dogs with a human personality (see him smiling in the picture?). He loves liverwurst, broccoli, and cat food. He’s just a regular pet, but I do consider him real therapy- he really helps me.
We got him as a puppy 2 years ago and he has grown to be such an important member of our family, not to mention one of my secret weapons in my fight against panic attacks.
Let me explain. He doesn’t actually stop panic attacks, and I can’t take him with me to church or a social gathering where I might feel anxious (although that would be great).
But he is my soft place to fall. He is the biggest goofball in the world and he loves to be hugged. He gives me the heroes welcome anytime I walk through the front door and he cries when I leave (even if I’m just going to get the mail). So you can bet if I had a challenging day I am hugging him like crazy soon after I get home.
And despite his size, he actually has a bit of anxiety himself. We are sort of kindred spirits in that way. He’s afraid of the vacuum cleaner and the oven, and he is afraid of some people and other dogs too.
He doesn’t know it, but he keeps me physically healthy too. I take him for a morning and afternoon walk every day. Those walks are the best thing I can do for myself. Mild exercise helps me relax and feel better overall. It definitely helps with anxiety. Walking Buddy is a good way for me to help my panic disorder without medication.
Being outside year round is also wonderful for decreasing my anxiety. I stay out for at least 20 minutes to get the natural light on the back of my retinas. This is a natural mood stabilizer as explained to me by a physician many years ago.
Hey, they use therapy dogs at the Cleveland Clinic. Studies prove pet therapy works and dogs help with depression too.
I also have a kitty cat named Cutie who lives in my bedroom. During the day I can’t even find her but when I am having a rough night, like last night, she helps me get through it. She is a purr ball and happens to love being pet in the middle of the night. She is my nighttime kitty and I love her too.
How to help panic disorder without medication? Get a pet! They are wonderful. They really are furry little angels.
Do you have a pet that you love? How do your pets help you with your anxiety? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories.
I wish you peace,
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