Trauma and disordered eating can be incredibly difficult to overcome, but the good news is that there are many ways to find support and healing. One such way is through the help of animal companions. Animals can provide emotional support and comfort for individuals struggling, helping to alleviate feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation.
Our community at Empowered RX shares a common love for animals. Our pets are part of our community and many of the women feel their pets have saved their life... Keep scrolling to see first-hand what we mean.
I've been through childhood trauma and also have suffered from other traumas in adolescence. I did so alone without the help of anyone... any human that is. My beloved dog, "Seven", was always by my side and lived to the old age of 18, coincidentally after I began healing. I truly believe he got me through those hard times and was my guardian angel.
(Here is Seven in his old age, featured in the small green frame- RIP little buddy)
Stupid "No-Dog Policies"
As I went out into the world and began my adult life I missed the presence of a furry friend. Attending college and later on living in apartments with strict "no-dog" policies created a void that could not be filled, despite hours of scrolling through "doggos of instagram" posts.
My husband and I just moved into our first home in January and just one month later we adopted a black lab puppy named, "Oliver". To say the quality of my life has exponentially increased since getting him would be an understatement. Sometimes we get so used to feeling bad that we don't realize what it feels like to feel well. Since getting our adorable puppy and his companionship I have felt less stressed, less muscle tension, more joy and more present.
Once again, doggo to the rescue. We may adopt rescue dogs but they truly rescue us.
For those with serious depression and anxiety dogs can provide purpose and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. We care about them enough to feed and walk them and give them a good life and as a secondary experience we end up creating healthier habits for ourselves.
Ollie is a cute, adorable 5 month old puppy who loves to cuddle, give kisses and be right there by your side. I haven't had him that long but we've already become great friends and I can already tell how much he will change my life. Unconditional love is hard to come by in this world but there is one place guaranteed to provide it: with your furry friend.
The love between a human and their pet creates bursts of oxytocin and seratonin: feel good chemicals in our brain that make us feel love, intimacy and safety.
Now, I am definitely biased with my dog obsession. There are many different animals that can provide emotional support for survivors, each with their own unique characteristics and qualities.
Dogs, for example, are known for their loyalty and affection, and can help to reduce stress and anxiety through their calm and comforting presence. Another reason why dogs make such great friends is their ability to read and respond to human emotions. Dogs are incredibly perceptive creatures and are able to pick up on subtle cues and changes in their owners' behavior and mood. They are often quick to offer comfort and affection when their owners are feeling sad or upset, and can be a source of joy and laughter when their owners are feeling happy. For those who want to explore, they make great adventure buddies!
(<-- This morning we went on Ollie's first hike)
Cats, on the other hand, are often more independent, but can still offer a sense of companionship and comfort through their purring and cuddling.
Other animals, such as horses, can also be incredibly therapeutic for individuals struggling with any form of mental health illness. Equine-assisted therapy programs, for example, can help individuals to develop trust, self-confidence, and emotional regulation skills through interacting with horses and participating in various activities.
In addition to providing emotional support, animals can also offer a source of humor and light-heartedness for survivors. You know those funny animal videos of pets doing silly things, they can't help but make you smile.
If you want to know just how much our furry friends have saved us, read on below to read quotes and stories about how... grab your tissues!
Stories of our Animal Guardians at Empowered
"I've been self-harm free for a few years now since getting my rescue dog. Whenever I am in that mental state he provides comfort and reminds me I'm worthy of living." - Warrior Age 20
"I don't know what I would do without my dog. She is the reason I wake up everyday. I've had serious depression and an eating disorder for over 10 years. My dog has been with me through it all." - Warrior Age 27
"My dog has sat at my feet for every tough meal in recovery. When I cry, he licks my tears. When I'm sad he lays with me. When I need a laugh he is so silly." - Warrior Age 14
"I never feel alone. As silly as it sounds, I talk to my dog about my problems and feel better."
Warrior age 12
"My cats give me purpose. They get me out of bed and moving. They remind me to take care of myself just like I would care for them."- Warrior age 24
"One time I felt like I didn't want to live anymore. Then my dog walked into the room. How could I ever leave this amazing creature? He came up and needed me to take him out. He made me feel purpose and worth in a time I didn't feel I had any." - Warrior age 32
" My cat makes me smile every day. As old as she gets she never complains. I want to be more like her." - Warrior age 58