Interacting with Animals Fights Depression
Today I went and fed the seals. I fed the wild seals – not those in captivity – the best kind. They’re semi-tame seals as people feed them fish from the docks every day. They clap, and spin in circles, and splash, and jump to get the little frozen fish we offer. Their spotted coats gleam in the sun. Even the huge nails on their back flippers seem innocuous because they seem just so glad to see you.
So, I knelt and fed the seals fish. And I giggled, smiled and screamed like a little girl when one soaked the left leg of my jeans (Why Animals May Help With Depression). I was encased in a bubble where just the seals, the frozen fish and I existed.
And I completely forgot that I was depressed.
My Bipolar Depression Responds Positively to Animals
Depression is the main feature of my bipolar disorder. Some people suffer more with mania or hypomania but I (like most) suffer primarily with depression – protracted, painful, relentless depression. I wake up with it in the mornings and I sleep with it at night.
But one thing I’ve learned, after all these years of dealing with bipolar depression, is that animals have a strange power to fight depression. Somehow, interacting with a dog, my cats or, indeed, seals, seems to make me forget, for a few minutes, how I really feel.
I remember one time I was walking across the university campus and I was so depressed I had to sit down, rest and cry. And it just so happened that a dog was there – a dog who wanted to play fetch. And in spite of my physical and mental condition, I threw the ball. And somehow his chasing it and bringing it back, spurred me to do it again. And again. And for a few moments agony wasn’t the only thing in my consciousness. It was a great magic act (Dogs Can Help Overcome Depression).
Interacting With Animals Helps Me Fight Depression
I’m not sure how it is that animals fight depression. Maybe it’s because they don’t get depressed. Maybe it’s because their emotional state is fairly stable. Maybe it’s because small things, like frozen fish and a game of catch, make them happy. Or maybe it’s just that they’re adorable. I don’t know.
What I do know is that companion animals for people do, genuinely make people feel better. And I believe that petting a cat, or hearing it purr, can lower heart rate and blood pressure and relieve anxiety. Again, I don’t know how this happens.
But the moral of the story is this: we should all seek out heartbeats outside our own chests. Sometimes other people are just not helpful or are too hard to bear, but animals are so much simpler than humans. Animals will love you and play with you and purr for you regardless of who you are, how you look or how you feel. And this little kitty love, or seal love, or doggie love, can make you feel better. That animal love can fight your depression.
So make time to go to a petting zoo or a horse farm an animal shelter or even a pet store and enjoy the pure and simple, clean energy of the animals. I will bet, that just for a moment, you will be thinking more about the feeling of the fur than your own depression. And in the midst of a serious depression, that moment is priceless.
Tracy, N. (2014, March 11). Interacting with Animals Fights Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2014/03/interacting-animals-fights-depression
Author: Natasha Tracy
I remember dog sitting at my aunt & uncles house once. I came home from work and burst into tears. Their dog who was a bit stand-off-ish in the beginning came over and kept nudging me with his nose. When I tried to push him away, he gently protested and wouldn't leave my side all night. Animals are so sensitve and a wonderful source of therapy.
There's an adorable YouTube video that was posted yesterday. You can find it by googling the phrase, "monkey comforts distraught monkey". It really tugs at your heart strings. There's also another really cute one of two otters at the Vancouver Aquarium floating on their backs holding hands, one of them is blind (unfortunately one of them has since passed away).
I live in an apartment and no pets are allowed otherwise I would definately have one!
Avoid regular zoos, they are no-go places. Ever.
I too forget about my depression, if just for a little while. It's worth it!