Therapy Dogs Are a Blessing, Not A Curse

Therapy Dogs Are a Blessing, Not A Curse

Therapy dogs help individuals who mentally and physically need them.
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Emotional Support Animals are a huge controversy that occurs on college campuses around the United States, it has some students believing that therapy dogs are unnecessary and that people only have them, so they can live with their dogs on campus.

However, they are not what people make them out to be and to help the individuals who truly need them. I, personally, have an Emotional Support Animal and all I can say is that she is the best thing to ever happen to me.

My whole life, I have struggled with anxiety and depression, but when college arrived my symptoms began worsening. Before I got my therapy dog, I had constant anxiety that was through the roof and on a daily basis experienced panic attacks. My therapist then suggested that my best option would be to get an emotional support animal to keep me company and hopefully overtime better my symptoms. Last spring, at the end of my freshmen year, I received a 7-week-old all black German Shepherd named Ava and let me just tell you, even as a young puppy she made such a huge impact on my life right off the bat. She gave me a reason to get out of bed every morning and pushed me to continue living.

At the time, my depression and anxiety were very severe and I couldn't thank her enough for helping me get through that rough patch. She physically helped, what I was going through, by getting me out of my dorm room just to walk her and then always greeting me with so much excitement every time that I would get home from class. She has been there to comfort me in times of despair and to dance with me in times of bliss. Who would have thought that one animal could not only save a life but exceedingly give pure happiness where there used to not be any.

The individuals who think that these therapy dogs are pointless, clearly do not have a mental illness nor see the results of how they actually DO help us that who do. I believe that instead of society looking down on mental patients for owning these therapeutic animals, should preferably encourage and try to apprehend them. They are truly today's future for those psychological individuals that need that extra push to not only feel better physically but emotionally too. If it weren't for Ava, I have no clue where I would be at this point in my life and I sincerely thank god day by day for allowing me to have this beautiful soul.


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An Open Letter To The Judgmental People In My Hometown

Imperfections are what gives a diamond its value.
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Dear judgemental, simple minded people from my hometown,

I am sorry that I have never met your level of perfection.

Coming from a small town, everyone settles to the norm of the people around them. Unlike you all, I have always been a little bit different.

I've never understood why everyone always seems to feel the need to talk down to the next person. People love to gossip about a situation as long as the situation has nothing to do with them. For every move I made, someone was always there to bring out the negativity in the situation. You all are always sweeping around somebody else's doorstep when I know your doorstep is not clean. Maybe it is time to buy a new broom. I know that I cannot please everybody and that I will also not be liked by everybody. However, I deserve respect just as the next person.

SEE ALSO: Forgiving Someone Who Didn't Ask For It

I hope for the sake of the future generations of our small town, you all can learn to be more accepting to change.

I hope that no one judges your children like some of you all have judged me. I hope that the people that you love and care about are welcomed and accepted for who they are.

If we put as much time into being better people or helping others like you put into judging others, the world would be a much better place.

Imperfections are what gives a diamond its value. Pebbles are perfectly round. I'd much rather be a diamond, one in a million, than a pebble that fits in.

Sincerely,

The one whose every move you criticize

Cover Image Credit: Haley Williamson

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Anxiety Is Normal

Finding a way to cope is all trial and error.

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Lately, I've been super anxious. I don't know if it's because of school or not having a job or being surrounded by a bunch of people I don't know all the time. Maybe it's a mixture of all those things.

Dealing with anxiety on a daily basis is hard, but it's normal. Everyone gets anxious. Maybe not everyone has anxiety 24/7 like some, but we all feel that at some point. For this week's article, I took a survey. I asked people what makes them anxious, what their physical symptoms are, and how they cope with their anxiety.

With looking at the results of my survey, I realized that most of my triggers and physical symptoms are the same as others. It made me feel a little less alone and weird. Here are some of the questions I asked and the answers I got.

What are some things that make you anxious?

"Flying, public speaking, tests, presentations."

"New experiences, anger from other people, performing."

"Procrastination, time running out, enclosed spaces."

"Overloads of school work and conflicts with friends/family stress me out the most."

"Being around a lot of people, feeling left out within a group of people, tests/quizzes/exams, family, relationships, sometimes nothing at all I just feel anxious, needing to have important discussions."

"Waiting, crowds, being late, insecurities, anticipation, love."

"Large groups of people, people from my past, lots of work."

"Grades, money."

"Social situations, being awkward or messing up around people, public speaking."

What are some physical symptoms of your anxiety?

"Rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaky hands."

"Shakes, sweat, stuttering, heavy breathing, overthinking, face scrunching."

"Dry mouth (this makes me feel like I can't breathe and am having a panic attack), upset stomach, knots in my stomach."

"I get migraines."

"Heart racing, urge to cry, shaky/clammy hands, stomach ache, irritability."

"Itching, headache, eyes hurt, stomach pains."

"Lightheadedness, shakiness, rapid heartbeat."

"Heart racing, stomach cramps, crying, shaking."

"My hands sweat constantly, even if I'm having fun. I'll just get anxious all of a sudden and shut down sometimes."

How do you cope with your anxiety?

"I keep telling myself to breathe in and out slowly, and I encourage myself that everything will be okay."

"Talk to people about it, hide in my room to breathe, knit, jigsaw puzzles."

"Excuse myself from a group and take time alone to breathe. Journal. Text a friend."

"I sleep or hang out with my friends, paint or make crafts."

"Talk about it to close friends to get insight, write, relax/take a nap."

"Crack fingers, itch, tap foot, cry, sleep, go for walks, write."

"I pray and take deep, slow breaths. It helps to realize that whatever's going to happen is going to happen, so there's no need to worry because I can't change the future."

"Music, drawing, deep breaths, sleep."

"My best friend, she makes me feel a thousand times better about everything."

"Play on my phone."

"Deep breaths, coffee, naps, hot showers, hanging out with friends, pushing myself to do things out of my comfort zone so that my anxiety will maybe become better."

"Ride it out."

"Deep breaths, being alone."

"Surrounding myself with people and things that make me happy or just less stressed."

"Meditating or taking calm supplements."

For me, some things that make me anxious are crowds, people I don't really know, being late, when I start to develop feelings for a new person, going to class, presentations, not knowing what's going to happen, school work, not having enough money and stress.

Some of my physical symptoms are clammy/sweaty palms, rapid heart rate, not being able to breathe, irritability, tapping of my foot, cracking my knuckles, stomach pains, and feeling like I'm going to puke, even though I never do.

I cope with my anxiety by moving around, going on a walk, listening to music, hanging out with friends, writing, deep breathing, and sometimes I'll take a nap.

Some people, when anxious, will completely shut down. They'll stay isolated in their room and not talk to anyone. They'll feel like it's weird to feel this way and won't want to move because they don't know how to deal with it. I'm even guilty of isolating myself from time to time. Sometimes, I'll leave from hanging out with friends because I'm anxious, even when I don't really want to leave.

If there's anything you should take away from this article, it's that you're not alone in dealing with anxiety. Everyone experiences it at one time or another. We all get anxious. It's normal. Some people may have more anxiety triggers than others. Some may have different ways to cope than others.

Finding ways to cope is a bunch of trial and error. Don't get frustrated if one thing doesn't work. Just keep trying to find something that will get your mind off of it for a while.

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