Pets and PTSD

CONTRIBUTOR: Raven Akashiya

PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a psychological disorder resulting from a traumatic event (some examples are military, assault, serious accidents, or abuse). It can affect people in mild to severe ways. Unfortunately, there is no cure for PTSD, but there are ways to treat the symptoms. I personally suffer from PTSD and have learned that having a pet can help. Many people have asked how having a pet helps; that my friends is exactly what I’m going to write about today. (My personal experience that is.)

I have dealt with night terrors (PTSD) for over a year now and have dealt with it alone. Up until two weeks ago I didn’t have a pet (I am a dog person myself). I wanted one but knew I could not afford to buy one. After going back and forth with my family about my brother’s dog, Zeus, I took him in. My brother has PTSD as well, so to my surprise Zeus knew exactly what to do. During my “episode” he stayed back, did not move, but watched me the whole time. Afterwards he cautiously approached and laid down next to me. Even though he couldn’t take the memories or the pain away him laying next to me, being there while I cried helped.

A lot of times PTSD, depression, and anxiety go hand in hand. Pets are always a good thing to have around for a pick me up. Whether it’s some quirky thing they do to make you laugh or it’s their ability to know that it’s time for a snuggle it seems pets know exactly what to do and how to make us smile. Pets are special and, with PTSD victims, can be what keeps us grounded. In my case Zeus happens to be the comforter after an “episode”, but he is more than just that. When I am having a rough day he was my snuggle buddy and protector. Just having him around has significantly lessened my everyday feelings of fear and anxiety. Which in the end helps me with everyday life and activities. I enjoy feeling that I can go out during the day and have a decent time, and I take comfort in knowing that when an “episode” arises Zeus will be waiting and ready. I suggest that PTSD victims have pets, it seems that people don’t always understand it but your “PTSD Angel” will.

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