5 Ways My Emotional Support Dog Helps Me Get Through College With Depression

I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder at age 14. I have grown up with dogs all my life, and when I left for college I felt like I was leaving a big part of me at home. Thankfully, my college’s disability resources worked with me and now my dog, Maddy, shares my dorm room with me as my emotional support dog. Here are 5 reasons why she’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Maddy the emotional support dog

1. She gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Not only am I excited to wake up and see her, I literally have to get out of bed. If I didn’t, she’d use my carpet as a toilet.

2. If I don’t take her for a walk, I feel like a bad parent.

Have you ever heard someone say, “exercise eases depression?” Every day, Maddy and I go for a walk on the nature trail near school, and it has become one of my favorite parts of my day.

3. She regulates my schedule.

I have to take her outside every so often, and feed her at certain times. Schedules and consistency are very beneficial for my mood. If I follow a schedule, I rarely have time to sit around with my depression. Schedules keep my mind off of it.

4. She comforts me.

Whenever I feel like things are too much, I can sit on the ground and know that I will have a furry friend there to calm me down.

5. I never feel alone.

As an introvert who often feels lonely, Maddy is the best thing for me. When I’m lonely, I have someone who doesn’t take all the energy out of me.

My dog has done wonders for my depression. She is the best roommate. I can always guarantee that she won’t use all the hot water in the shower.

The Mighty is asking the following: What was one moment you received help in an unexpected or unorthodox way related to disability, disease or mental illness? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

The Line From 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' That Helped Me Face Depression

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” The first few times I heard these words I didn’t quite understand the depth they had. I bought the book in high school, and found an odd sense of connection to the words Stephen Chbosky had written. But when I watched the film adaptation of “The Perks [...]

I Didn't Know a Mental Illness Could Have Physical Symptoms

One thing I hear people talk about is the numbness that comes with anxiety and depression — as if the emotional pain is so intense, you don’t feel any psychical pain. This is another one of the many myths about mental illness, and, until you’ve lived it, you can’t fully understand just how false this statement is. I [...]

12 Songs to Help You Face Depression This Week

Facing the world each morning can be difficult when you live with a mental illness. Depression, specifically, can make everyday tasks seem daunting. Getting out of bed and out the door can be a major accomplishment. And although music can’t cure depression (we wish), it’s scientifically proven to reduce stress and even depressive symptoms. So, each week, we ask [...]

'Mommy Is Sick'

“Mommy is sick.” My daughter stared at me trying to process what I said. I’ve told her before that Mommy at times needs to hide in her room, will cry for no reason and become very mopey. That was when she was 4. That was all I felt her preschool brain could handle, but now she [...]