One of my most useful weapons against my mental health issues is a black, hairy and active dog. Meche is a Schnauzer Lab mix, she has the wiry hair of a Schnauzer and the energy of both breeds. She is the ugliest dog I ever seen but has big brown eyes that can melt even the strongest anger.. Sometimes, especially when she chews something she wasn’t suppose to have or when she stoles food from the table I really want to choke her but right then she looks at me and I’m a lost case. Yes, I have to clean after her constantly but the benefits of having her are way more that the responsibilities. This is my list of why having a dog is a good weapon against mental health issues:
1. When I’m at my lowest and I don’t have the energy to get out of bed, having to take her out is a huge excuse to get up, once I take her out I force myself to nibble something in the kitchen and even take a shower.
2. I have the new rule that when I feel down and I’m ruminating negative memories I take her for a walk. Walking her requires attention so she doesn’t eat something in the street or jump over a kid, so my mind goes away from the ruminating thoughts. Since I’m walking her everyday I lost two pounds.
3. Some studies indicate that giving affection lowers you blood pressure and decrease the stress. I have to say that when I cuddle with Meche I feel much better.
4. People with BPD have issues with abandonment and required constant reassurance that they are loved and will never been abandoned. There is no human capable of filling up that need, but a dog can help us immensely to fill that void. Meche is always there, happy to see me even when I just step out for a few hours. She loves me even when I’m grumpy. A dog can give you the experience to bond with somebody that will never abandon you.
5. Dogs are a great companion. They don’t judge or pester you telling you what you have to do. They give unconditional acceptance. They make the journey with you in complete silence. I always know Meche is going to be there to lick my face when I’m crying or to stay in bed with me when I feel I cannot handle the world.
6. Since I have the problem of instable relationships having a relationship with my dog gives me something emotional stable. I don’t feel I’m walking on eggshells afraid she is going to abandon me or that I have to please her. So in some way I can relate better to her.
7. In many occasions I stop myself from committing suicide because I didn’t know if she was going to be okay after I died. I know her favorite treats, which route she likes to walk…and let’s be real, who else, if not me, is going to take care of such an ugly and crazy dog.
When I think nobody loves me, that nobody cares, that I will be better dead because I mean nothing to anybody I look at Meche, so happy, always there loving me and I know that I least I mean something to that dog, and sometimes that is all I need to keep going.