Photos Show Service Dog Soothing Bride Before She Walks Down the Aisle

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There’s nothing quite like the bond between a person and her service animal.

Valerie Parrott’s intimate moment with her service dog, a yellow lab named Bella, was caught on camera at her wedding on Jan. 9 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, The Huffington Post reported.

It has since gone viral, with nearly 2 million views on Imgur.

Bride beside her service dog.
Courtesy of Maddie Peschong

 

Parrott lives with anxiety, and Bella alerts her to oncoming panic attacks, anxiety and migraines. When this photo was taken, Bella easing Parrott’s anxiety before she walked down the aisle.

Bride petting her service dog.
Courtesy of Maddie Peschong

“She will do things like lick my hands or lean and put her weight on me to get me to focus on her instead of my surroundings,” Parrott told HuffPost. “Basically it helps me to take a moment away from whatever is causing the anxiety and keeps me from having a panic attack.”

Bella wore a tutu and helped escort the bride down the aisle.

Bride walking down the aisle with her father and a service dog in a tutu.
Courtesy of Maddie Peschong

It is hard to sum up my relationship with Bella. She has given my life back to me. Without her, I have no clue where I would be in life,” Parrott told BuzzFeed. “She means the world to me.”

A photo of the bride taken from behind.
Courtesy of Maddie Peschong

The photographer, Maddie Peschong, originally didn’t realize what was happening in the photo when she took it.

“At the time, I simply thought this was a sweet moment between a girl and her dog,” she told The Mighty in an email.

It was only later, after the photo went viral, that Parrott explained to Peschong that at the time, her heart rate was elevated and Bella used a distraction tactic to calm her down, which is what you see in that photo. Peschong is excited to see the photo raising awareness about the important role service dogs have in the lives of many people.

Bella the service dog running down the aisle.
Courtesy of Maddie Peschong.

“I love that this is bringing attention to service animals and the positive impact [they] can have on so many people with invisible illnesses, like Val,” Peschong told The Mighty.

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On the Days I Just Can't, This Is What I Need

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Sometimes my brain can barely function properly.

Sometimes it takes every ounce of strength to get out of bed and move to the couch.

Sometimes taking a shower takes a Herculean effort. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. Even when things aren’t that bad, I feel terrible because I feel terrible. It shouldn’t be so much work going about the business of everyday life.

Why? Because I have a number of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.

I’ve had many different types of therapy. I go to group therapy once a week. I learn “skills” as ways of coping with my emotions, interacting with others and improving my quality of life.

I practice mindfulness and meditation. Yoga, aromatherapy, dancing, taking a bath or reading a book. I know what to do to pull myself out of my funk, and I use skill after skill after skill when I feel myself getting low. Many times the skills work. But there are times it feels like all the skills in the world will not help me. My mental health conditions are caused in part by a chemical imbalance in my brain, and without medication to address the chemical imbalance, there’s no way skills alone are going to work for me.

I have one-on-one therapy, and I’ve been inpatient at hospitals as well. And I’ve noticed a viewpoint from the mental health community that really gets under my skin. I’ve heard this refrain in the hospital and among mental health professionals on an outpatient basis. They say people with mental illness have a responsibility to take care of themselves.

To me, this seems wrong. Granted, if someone is a bit sad or down, sometimes there are things that can help. Maybe it’s meeting up with friends and socializing. But there are many times I’m beyond that sort of remedy. I do it anyway, and then feel guilty when it doesn’t work. And then I feel shamed for not wanting to get well, for not doing enough to take care of myself.

Instead of blaming people with mental illness, why not improve their support systems? And if there is no support system, that would be a good place to start. It’s hard to pull yourself up out of the ditch alone. I’ve had to do it time and time again, and it certainly doesn’t help to be told it’s my responsibility to do so, and to feel like it’s my fault if I don’t.

If you see that I’m struggling, ask me what I need. If I tell you I don’t need any help, meals and child care are always appreciated. Anything you would do for a friend with a physical illness, I could probably use help with as well. Laundry, cleaning and errands are impossibly hard when I’m struggling, and it’s great when people step in and get a few of those things done for me. Even if I don’t appear thrilled to have the help, I really do appreciate it. When I feel better I will let you know how much it means to me. And that’s what I can focus on, feeling better, when I just can’t do anything else.

So on the days I just can’t, please don’t tell me to help myself, and instead find a way to lend me a hand.

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28 Classic Rock Songs to Listen to When You're Feeling Anxious

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Sometimes, you just need to rock it out.

Music is by no means a cure-all for anxiety, but a quick session of head-banging, air guitar-slaying and full-on belting (mixed with empowering lyrics) can do the body good when it’s feeling particularly anxious. If you’re a classic rock fan who also experiences anxiety, our community has got your back.

We asked our Facebook readers what classic rock songs help them through anxious moments. Here’s their list (a Spotify playlist is at the bottom). Keep calm and rock on.

1. “Take It Easy” by The Eagles

“Just find a place to make your stand, and take it easy.”

Photo of man laying on deck that reads "Just find a place to make your stand, and take it easy."

2. “Sunshine on My Shoulders” by John Denver

“If I had a tale that I could tell you, I’d tell a tale sure to make you smile. If I had a wish that I could wish for you, I’d make a wish for sunshine for the while.”

Photo of book with words that read "If I had a tale that I could tell you, I'd tell a tale sure to make you smile. If I had a wish that I could wish for you, I'd make a wish for sunshine for the while."

3. “Under Pressure” by David Bowie/Queen

“‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word, and love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night, and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves.”

Photo of heart that reads "Love dares you to change the way of caring about ourselves."

4. “We Weren’t Born to Follow” by Bon Jovi

“When life is a bitter pill to swallow, you gotta hold on to what you believe.”

Photo of pill, with words that read "When life is a bitter pill to swallow, you gotta hold on to what you believe."

5. “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

“Take your time, don’t live too fast. Troubles will come, and they will pass.”

Photo of road that reads "Take your time, don't live too fast. Troubles will come, and they will pass."

6. “Free Bird” Lynyrd Skynyrd

“‘Cause I’m free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change.”

Photo of birds flying that reads "'Cause I'm free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change."

7. “Tender” by Blur

“Come on, come on, come on, get through it. Come on, come on, come on, love’s the greatest thing.”

Photo of blurred hearts that read "Come on, come on, come on, get through it."

8. “Baba O’Riley” by The Who

“Don’t cry, don’t raise your eye. It’s only teenage wasteland.”

Photo of boy looking out at land that reads "Don't cry, don't raise your eye. It's only teenage wasteland."

9. “Roll With the Changes” by REO Speedwagon

“So if you’re tired of the same old story, oh, turn some pages.”

Photo of book that reads "So if you're tired of the same old story, oh, turn some pages."

10. “Don’t Look Back” by Boston

“Don’t look back, a new day is breakin’.”

Photo of sun rising that reads "Don't look back, a new day is breakin'."

11. “Peace of Mind” by Boston

“All I want is to have my peace of mind.”

Girl in field that reads ""All I want is to have my peace of mind."

12. “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger

“Still like that old time rock ‘n’ roll. That kind of music just soothes the soul.”

Photo of guitar that reads "That kind of music just soothes the soul."

13. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

“I’m gonna go, go, go. There’s no stopping me.”

Photo of person running that reads "I'm gonna go, go, go. There's no stopping me."

14. “Freewill” by Rush

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

Photo of man at fork in the road that reads "I'm gonna go, go, go. There's no stopping me."

15. “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey

“Don’t stop believin’, hold on to that feeling.”

Photo of rainbow that reads "Don't stop believin', hold on to that feeling."

16. “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica

“Life is ours, we live it our way.”

Photo of concert that reads "Life is ours, we live it our way."

17. “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas

“Lay your weary head to rest. Don’t you cry no more.”

Photo of moon that reads "Lay your weary head to rest. Don't you cry no more."

18. “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

“And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down. Gonna stand my ground, and I won’t back down.”

Photo of dirt that reads "And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down."

19. “Dream On” by Aerosmith

“You got to lose to know how to win.”

Photo of sad man that reads "You got to lose to know how to win."

20. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel

“When darkness comes and pain is all around, like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.”

Photo of bridge that reads "like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down."

21. “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake

“And I’ve made up my mind, I ain’t wasting no more time.”

Photo of clock that reads "And I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time."

22. “Up Around the Bend” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

“Always time for good conversation; there’s an ear for what you say.”

Photo of phone that reads "Always time for good conversation; there's an ear for what you say."

23. “Patience” by Guns n’ Roses

“Take it slow, and things will be just fine.”

Photo of person on dock that reads ""Take it slow, and things will be just fine."

24. “Thunder Road” Bruce Sprinsteen

“Hey, what else can we do now? Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair. Well, the night’s busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere.”

Photo of road that reads "these two lanes will take us anywhere."

25. “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin

“But in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.”

Photo of road that reads ""But in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on."

26. “Comfortably Numb” Pink Floyd

“I hear you’re feeling down. Well, I can ease your pain and get you on your feet again.”

Photo of feet that reads I can ease your pain and get you on your feet again."

27. “Blackbird” by The Beatles

“Take these broken wings and learn to fly.”

Photo of birds that reads ""Take these broken wings and learn to fly."

28. “Let It Be” by The Beatles

“And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me. Shine until tomorrow, let it be.”

Photo of sunrise that reads "Shine until tomorrow, let it be."

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24 Ways to Magically, Totally, 100% Cure Anxiety

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When you live with anxiety, it sometimes feels like everyone has an opinion about how you should manage it.

So we asked our mental health community to share the the most cringe-worthy advice they’ve ever received about dealing with anxiety. Warning: These pieces of advice may elicit eye-rolling, head-shaking, sighing and laughter of disbelief. Hopefully, we can all find the humor in these attempts at helpful advice and learn to be patient with those who may not understand anxiety.

Here’s what they shared:

1. “Put your big girl panties on.” — Nell Hoyle Causey

biggirlpants1 copy

2. “Get over it.” — Cambry Clark Huaraque

3. “You’re an intelligent person, you can think you’re way through this.” — Kylie Wagner-Grobman

4. “Christians shouldn’t have anxiety.” — Michelle Oldenburg Fong

5. “Be stronger. It’s all in your head.” — Gabriella de la Vega

itsallinyourhead1 copy copy

6. “‘Just get out of your head for a while.’ If I could, then this wouldn’t be an issue.” — Katie Sunshine Struble

7. “Suck it up.” — Serena Leblond

8.There’s someone out there worse off than you.” — Maria Kumler Mason

9. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.” — Vickie Boyette

10. “Have a drink.” — Lori Simpson

unnamed-1 copy

11.Essential oils will cure you.” — Misty Hyndman

12. “Get a grip.” — Jessica Coons

13. “Get a backbone.” — Heather Quintana

14. “Think happy thoughts.” — Melanie Tapia

thinkhappythoughts1 copy

15.Just let it go.” — Sandie Soule

16. “A clinical psychologist once told me to, ‘Just shut your eyes and think of something else and in a matter of minutes it will disappear!’ I was stunned and simply smiled.” — Kimberley Giles

17.You do not look sick. Just take your mind off things. Anyone can do it.” — Mel Rowe 

18. “Visualize the ocean.” — Amy Mae Tuininga

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19. “Just don’t think about it.” — Tiffany Davidson

20.If you really wanted to, you could just snap out of it.” — Jessica Owens Lloyd

21.Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” — Penny Crittenden

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22. “Grow up. It’s not like you’re dying.” — Ashley Martin

23. “‘Put aside your worries for a little bit.’ Oh, I cant just turn it off and on like a light switch.” — Jessica Ann Hardy

24. “Just try harder.” — Amy Coleman

unnamed-4 copy

*Answers have been edited and shortened.

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19 Things Students With Anxiety Wish Their Teachers Understood

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With all the pressure put on students to succeed academically, participate in extracurriculars and maintain a social life, it’s no wonder more than 80 percent of college students reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do this past year. For students who live with high anxiety or anxiety disorders, this pressure can be amplified and more difficult to manage. According to Active Minds, “Mental health issues in the college student population, such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, are associated with lower GPA and higher probability of dropping out of college.”

But when the pressure’s on, teachers have an opportunity to make a difference. Active Minds and The Mighty asked students who live with anxiety what they wish their teachers understood.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “I wish they knew when I lacked in participation, it wasn’t because I didn’t care. I often enjoyed the subjects I was learning. I just physically couldn’t handle the assignments thrown my way. I wish they knew how often I vomited and shook knowing I’d have to face them the next day and let them know I hadn’t completed my assignment, yet again.” — Marissa Lynette Berube

A blonde, white woman hold her hand over her face. Text reads: "I wish they knew when I lacked in participation, it wasn't because I didn't care."

 

2.I wish they’d tell students it’s OK to come to them if they’re struggling because of anxiety. Because there’s such a stigma surrounding talking about mental health, I never know which professors will be understanding and which will think I’m just making ‘excuses.’” — Emily Prather

3. “I wish some of my teachers would have some compassion instead of assuming everything is just an excuse.” — Jen Hayes

Books are stacked. The text reads: "I wish some of my teachers would have some compassion instead of assuming everything is just an excuse."

4. “I wish my professor had known it wasn’t just a matter of adjusting to grad school. It was serious.” — Jennifer Rowe

5. “I wish my teachers understood putting me on the spot to answer a question, when I didn’t have my hand raised, isn’t helping me gain confidence. Confidence and competence have nothing to do with the situation. I am smart. I am paying attention. I don’t need to have a spotlight over my head to prove it.” — Tricia Rathgeber

6. “I wish it was easier to have absences excused. I’d much rather stay home than go and cry in class. That’s not an exaggeration by the way. I’ve had panic attacks in the classroom where I just couldn’t stop crying.” — Lee Dralling

7. “I’m finally graduating this semester after six years, but I feel like everyone thinks I’m making up excuses or I’m lazy. I literally get paralyzed with anxiety, and I can’t even get out of bed. I wish people understood it’s just as real as the flu or… anything else. It’s not something we’re making up because we procrastinated.” — Jessica Sprayberry

A male student wit dark hair sits at his computer wearing a sweater. Text reads: "It's not something we're making up because we procrastinated."

8. “When you put me on the spot to stand in front of the class, my performance is absolutely not an indicator of what I’ve learned. As you can see my by tests, quizzes and paperwork grades, I’m learning a lot. All of that goes straight out the window when you ask me to demonstrate on the spot.” — Alex Wickham

9. “My 12-year-old son who has anxiety said, ‘I sometimes wish they would just give me a moment to collect my thoughts. I know the answers but I need to take a breath before I give it.’” — Becky Burrier

10. “The one thing a teacher should understand is that calling on a student with social anxiety is a nightmare. Calling on students with social anxiety does not help them overcome it!” — Autism – Doesn’t Come With Instructions

11. “When I abruptly leave the room, please don’t make it a big deal.” — Paige Johnson

Chalkboard with text that reads: "When I abruptly leave the room, please don't make it a big deal."

12. “Sometimes I’m going to need to ask you to repeat instructions for an assignment several times. Please don’t make me feel bad about it. I just need to affirm to myself that I heard you right the first time.” — Nichole Cherin

13. “I’m not lazy. I try my hardest. I’m not lying. I do everything I can. Anxiety isn’t something I just made up one day.” — Lexie Sittsamer

14. “Usually it strikes out of nowhere and I have no control over it. I’m not trying to get out of anything or trying to get attention. I feel like I’m going to die when my panic starts and can only calm down if allowed to escape to a quiet spot. Then I can calm myself down and return to class.” — Anita Contreras Munoz

15. “I wish they knew how much time, dedication, tears, breakdowns and energy it can take to get an assignment done. But also how great it feels when you succeed!” — Jennifer Scinto

Hands are raised in a classroom. Text reads: "I wish they knew how much time, dedication, tears, breakdowns and energy it can take to get an assignment done."

16. “I have an intense fear of giving the wrong answer to a question out loud. So if I get it wrong, please realize how much courage it took to say anything, and don’t laugh at me.” — Chelsea Noelani Gober

17. “When I got in trouble in school, I wasn’t trying to be a ‘bad kid’ and it wasn’t a ‘phase.’ I needed help, and I needed someone to recognize that.” — Liv Raimonde

18. “My inability to function at times is not a result of laziness, procrastination or sheer lack of willpower.” — Christian Cochran

19. “I might be too scared to come to you. If you see me struggling, please say something.” — Ashleigh Young

A teacher writes on a chalkboard. Text reads: "I might be too scared to come to you. If you see me struggling, please say something."

*Answers have been edited and shortened. 

Want to start an Active Minds chapter at your school? Click here to learn more. 

Related: 34 Mental Health Tips Every Incoming Freshman Needs to Hear

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21 Texts to Send People With Anxiety When They Need It Most

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When you’re having a rough moment, a rough hour or an entire anxiety-ridden day, one friendly reminder may help turn it all around, or at least remind you that you’re not alone. To find out what people who live with anxiety need to hear in tough moments, we asked our Mighty readers who live with anxiety to tell us one text message they’d love to receive when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

If you have a friend or loved one who lives with anxiety, this may be exactly what they need to hear right now: 

1. “I’m always here for you if you need to talk.”

 

A text that reads: "I'm always here for you if you need to talk."

2. “How can I help?” 

A text that reads: "How can I help?"

3. “Just wanted to let you know you’re not alone in this.”

A text that reads, "Just wanted to let you know you're not alone in this."

4. “Thinking of you.”

A text that reads: "Thinking of you."

5. “I believe in you. You can and will get through this.” 

A text that reads: "I believe in you. You can and will get through this."
6. “You won’t feel this way forever. I promise.” 

Text that reads: "You won't feel this way forever. I promise."

7. “I love you…anxiety and all.”

A text that reads: "I love you...anxiety and all."

8. “Want me to come over and hang out?”

A text that reads: "Want me to come over and hang out?"

9. “It’s not your fault.”

A text that reads: "It's not your fault."

10. “You are and will always be enough.”

A text that reads: "You are and will always be enough."

11. “I’m bringing dinner.”

A text that reads: "I'm bringing dinner."

12. “I’ll always be there for you.”

A text that reads: "I will always be there for you."

13. “You’re safe.”

A text that reads: "You're safe."

14. “Remember to take a break!” 

A text that reads: "Remember to take a break!" with a smiley emoji.

15. “You’re not imagining this.”

A text that reads: "You're not imagining this."

16. “There’s a Netflix episode and a delicious meal waiting for you at home.”

A text that reads: "There's a Netflix episode and a delicious meal waiting for you at home."

17. “Do you need a break?”

A text that reads: "Do you need a break?"

18. “Take your time to feel OK. The universe will wait for you.”

A text that reads: "Take your time to feel OK. The universe will wait for you."

19. “No matter what, know I love you regardless.”

A text that reads: "No matter what, know that I love you regardless."

20. “You are and will always be enough.”

A text that reads: "You are and will always be enough."

21. “You are stronger than anything you are afraid of.”

A text that reads: "You are stronger than anything you are afraid of."

Related: 26 Pieces of Advice That Have Actually Helped People With Mental Illness

 

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