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Why My Dog Is My Weapon Against My Anxiety and Depression 

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When I graduated college, I was struggling. I was nervous, anxious and panicky about everything. I was worried about my future and I was depressed. I thought nothing was going to happen for me — nothing positive.

Only a couple weeks after graduation, I noticed I couldn’t open my laptop anymore. I couldn’t look at it or turn it on. The thought of work, papers, loans and adulthood paralyzed me and made me want to sleep. I found myself sleeping a lot, if not sleeping all day. Sleeping was my escape from reality and every time I thought about being awake, it would instantly make me want to sleep more.

One of my dogs is called Baby. She’s a pit bull and she’s been my secret weapon and therapy for my anxiety and depression for the past 10 months. I hadn’t noticed how much she meant to me until I looked forward to waking up, because she would be excited to see me out of my room. She would sniff under my door and patiently wait until I would wake up every day.

Even though I hadn’t been home for a long time, Baby loved me and I didn’t know why. I wouldn’t believe my mom when she told me Baby would wait around the house, then get excited to see me whenever I would be out and about and not locked up in my room. There were several occasions when I would stay up at night, unable to sleep, and Baby would be lying on my floor, awake, keeping me company. Sometimes I would have a depressive episode and Baby would sit up, look at me, then place her head on my lap and lick my hands. She would wag her tail and she would look at me, and that made me feel better.

She loves kisses and hugs. After I was all done crying, I would give her a big hug and we would sit there for a minute while I composed myself. Since I graduated, I’ve realized how much better I feel and how much Baby had a part in that. I write on my laptop all the time and I’m not afraid to think about my future anymore. I still sleep a lot, but not as often as before. Now, me and Baby always have our little cuddle sessions even if I’m feeling OK. She sits on my lap and we just relax together. She has helped me calm my nerves and helps me cope. I even taught her to give me her paw and sit down. Even though I still don’t understand the depth of a dog’s love, I know how much I love my Baby.

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Originally published: April 10, 2017
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