One of the greatest things I've learned from having clinical depression is that I should do whatever is best for myself. If that means taking a mental health day, scheduling an extra therapy appointment, or simply taking some extra time for myself, then I should definitely do so. Sometimes, doing the best thing for myself isn't always the easiest. There's a lot of days when I know I need to go to class even if I'm not feeling well, simply so I can stay on top of things. There are other times when I try to put myself in a new atmosphere, just so I can try something different or immerse myself in a new social situation. Whatever the case may be, I'll never apologize for doing what helps me be at my best.
I've been on medication for a few years now and also seeing a therapist which has worked wonders for me. However, sometimes I caught myself feeling lonely and like I needed something to keep me busy. Taking care of myself is often a challenge and that's when I thought about getting an emotional support animal.
A few searches on Google later and that's when I decided I wanted a hedgehog. After picking up a seven-week-old baby hedgehog, I was very excited to see how he would help me.
Hedgehogs are full of personality and Gus was quick to show me his. He was pretty grumpy at first but after bonding with me and getting used to being handled by me in his new environment, he warmed up.
There's something I love about having this little guy as a pet. Personally, I think the responsibility of taking care of him makes me feel good. That sense of responsibility, feeding him, giving him baths (which he loves), and cuddling him, has been nothing but good for my depression.
Not only is Gus adorable, but he also knows how to make me smile. His little sneezes in the bathtub, the way he snores when he naps in my lap and watching his little legs run across the living room all bring a smile to my face. Nothing feels better than coming back from class and just curling up with Gus.
A lot of people think I'm crazy for randomly adopting a hedgehog and think I'm obsessed with him (which may be true). But like I said before, I'm doing this for me. I'm a hedgehog mom and I'm proud because I'm happy. With a combination of medication, therapy, Gus, and the loving support of my family, I'm doing better than ever.