Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all know that cutting out social interaction has taken its toll.
For me, like many others, spending so much time cooped up inside, by myself, while at school has led to feeling isolated, lonely, and even more anxious than normal.
I've always had cats. At my home, we have seven cats that never fail to distract me from everything and anything.
When coming to campus, I realized just how much I missed having them around. I also realized just how much I depended on them to help make me feel better while in lockdown.
At the end of last semester, I decided it would be a good idea to get an emotional support animal.
What is an Emotional Support Animal? It's a pet that provides emotional support and comfort to its owner on a daily basis. Being that I have diagnosed with ADHD, and how I'd made it clear to my doctor how much I relied on my pets for emotional comfort, I started the process of searching for a kitten and filling out the paperwork. By Thanksgiving break, I found the perfect kitten, a Scottish-fold munchkin who I named Millie. I picked her up when I returned home for Christmas break.
Since then, having Millie around has helped ease my anxiety and even focus more during virtual classes.
Not only is she the cutest thing I've ever seen, but having her around has also given me something to take care of that can help get my mind off the stress of being in college. She's also great company since I spend the majority of my time in my dorm staring at a computer screen. I've felt generally more positive since she's been around.
My dorm doesn't feel so empty anymore.
Millie has even helped me focus on my school work. She sits on my lap while I'm doing homework, which has helped me be able to actually get things done. If I ever need a break, I just pet her a few times, and I'm able to get right back to work. She's like this little ray of sunshine. Also, she's helped me maintain a schedule. I know I have to get up to feed her and give her water every morning around the same time. I don't just sit in bed all day, knowingly procrastinating tasks that I have to complete. She keeps me company while I do those tasks a lot of the time.
If you're struggling with mental health, an emotional support animal may be an option that could help your situation.
Of course, talk to your doctor first. I can say, after having her around for a little over a month now, that getting her was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Of course, the semester has just started, but I feel like Millie is going to improve my well-being.