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When I Had to Accept Depression Made Me Too Sick to Take Care of My Pets

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To my guinea pigs: Diana, Natasha and Clark,

Depression and anxiety have made my life so different. My sleep patterns keep changing. I have back aches due to stress stored in my muscles. Headaches are now a regular occurrence and I can’t tell when I am stressed or overwhelmed. Actually the medicine stops most feelings until they come out in an overly dramatic way. That and anxiety attacks could start on any minute.

But you guys don’t see that. I’m not too sure how well guinea pigs can remember, but you would know things aren’t OK. I don’t always have your favorite food organized. Or the right amount of vegetables. I can’t always bend down to clean your cages. I sometimes wait a few extra days so I can build up the courage to face the pain when cleaning. I ran away last week when I heard your squeaks asking me to add more water to your water bowl. That’s when I knew things had to change. I used to love all your squeaks and attention. You all have such unique personalities.

Clark, you were a special surprise as we didn’t know Diana was pregnant when we picked her and Natasha up from the pet store. You were so small and fluffy and I felt so special to have been there when you were born. I felt so connected to you, Clark as you got surgery the same day I did (minor cut that needed stitches) and we were “sickies” together. You three set the activities for the day everyday – your squeaks let us know when it is breakfast time and welcome us back home when we get back from work. You all make such a fuss we have to give you dinner first and check on you before we go to bed.

I can’t imagine you three not in my life. But your life with me isn’t as great anymore.

So I will have to find you all a new home. The people around me say this decision is acting in a mature manner, but I feel like I am saying goodbye to members of my family forever. I thought I would feel better and be able to give you the care you deserve. But my anxiety and depression symptoms of pain and fatigue aren’t going away. So this is my best course of action – even though I hate it.

My therapist says it could also be my depression making my guilt feel more extreme than it really is. All I know is I can’t look at you three anymore and cry when I see anything guinea pig related. I’ve organized friends to find you the best home possible where your new family will care for you in ways I can’t right now.

I can’t tell you how much I love you. I loved being a “guinea pig mummy” and my phone is filled with photos and movies of you. But I can’t have you get sick just because I am. I couldn’t forgive myself if something happened to you because I didn’t let you go.

So I’m doing the only thing I can for your happiness and wellbeing right now. I pray it’s the right thing to do. Please know I love you and doing this so you can have the life you deserve. Your little lives are short and you can’t wait anymore for me to return to “normal.” I don’t think I will ever be “normal” again. But I can know I was a good “guinea pig mummy” at some point.

I love you. Please forgive me.


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Image via Thinkstock

Originally published: January 30, 2017
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