Been doing my therapy “Doggie-Style” – by Rhiannon Adams (Poynton PANDAS)

Hi I’m Rhiannon, peer supporter at Poynton PANDAS. It occurred to me last week, during a group chat about anxiety, that my therapy has been my dog! After having talked about anxiety and what it is, we then moved on to discussing ways we could try to manage it. One of the mums said that fresh air is key for her. Another talked about trying to do less at home…. and then it dawned on me. Of all the methods I have tried to get well after suffering anxiety and depression twice, and believe me I have tried a lot of things and spent a lot of money, it was my DOG who was the best remedy. Ernie Dog. Diggidy Dog. Pig Dog. He helped me the most.

Rhiannon 1

Here we are pre-twins (or the good old days as Ernie calls them). We are camping somewhere in Cornwall and we’ve just come back from a good old walk in the sunshine. We’ve topped up our Vitamin D, got the happy hormones flying again, shared a joke or two and terrorised some scoundrels on the beach! Yep that’s us. Thick as thieves. Best Buddies. BFFs!! Seriously though I couldn’t have got through these last 6 years without my dog. “What Beenie needs is a dog” said my sister after I looked like I was heading down the pan again with my emotions and mood. We had been trying for a baby for 2 years by then and I was feeling pretty desperate. I had overcome stress related anxiety and depression 3 years before and I recognised that it wasn’t far away again. I had been signed off work for six months and was about to get married. A weekly painting course, accupuncture and lots and lots of gardening had got me through those dark days. But the burning desire to be a mum, coupled with infertility problems was starting to take its toll on me.

Paul researched and researched and eventually decided we would be getting a Springer Spaniel (family friendly you see) on the off chance that our years of infertility would end soon. Ernie arrived in our home just after Christmas and I instantly fell in love. He was naughty, demanding, cute, cried at night. He was everything I had ever wanted (in dog form) and he quashed those lonely, desperate yearnings for my own offspring.

4 months passed and I was made redundant. That was a toughie. What do I do now? Do I fight to find a busy and stressful role like the one I had or do I change my life? Ernie said “woof”…”you can spend more time with me”. “We can walk and run and smile and get cross about me steeling other dogs’ balls”. So we did! We got up every day and hit that countryside hard! We met others. His favourite Dog was Solo and my favourite owner was Jane! We walked and walked and swam (him not me). I lost some of that stubborn PCOS weight. He got stronger and faster. We did this for months and months. All through the Spring and the Summer and he really helped me with the desperation I felt about not conceiving a child. We were at 3 years by that point. Lacking in any kind of direction, I made a decision to return to University and did a postgraduate course in Early Years Education. I loved the course and the time with my furry friend and, although I was very sad inside, Ernie kept me going.

A year down the line the course was complete and I had a new job in a new sector. Ernie and I were still happy as we got to spend lots of time together and I was about to embark on IVF. 19 days of injections and Ernie dog by my side. We kept walking and talking and meeting people and keeping well. 5 days worth of egg harvesting and fertilisation. We kept walking and talking and meeting people and keeping well. 2 weeks of waiting to do a pregnancy test and yep, you’ve guessed it… We kept walking and talking and meeting people and keeping well. “You are joking” said Ernie when I showed him my positive pregnancy test. “No I’m not” I said. “Let’s go for a walk” said Ernie. So we did.

Rhiannon 2

We were still walking until a few days before I had the twins. I think by the point I was this big (around 36 weeks), I could only manage a flop around the park. He still got me into scrapes and ran rings round me. He thought it was hilarious to disrupt a crown green bowling championship when I was about to drop my own bowls. Those mean grannies and their shouty ways certainly got my hot, anxious tears flowing again. But we walked home and soon were best pals again.

Along came the twins and another encounter with anxiety and depression. This time I knew what was happening to me. I had been there before. Ernie recognised it too. “Let’s get some happy pills and get walking” he said. Not as easy this time round with two newborns but we muddled through somehow and got out every day.

Rhiannon 3

So for those of you who are contemplating a dog, while times are tough and stress levels are high DO IT. If you can give him/her time, love and walks, you will get a friendship that is stronger than anything. A dog never judges when you are low. Yes they know you’re low and are gentler with you but they will insist you get out there. A doggie friend gives you something to get up for. The fresh air reduces those mean stress hormones. The dog reminds you about living in the HERE and NOW. Don’t linger too long on the past or stress too much about the future. Get up. Get out. Enjoy the moment you are in now and do your therapy “Doggie-Style” too.

Rhiannon 4

Thank you so much Rhiannon for sharing your alternative therapy with us!  If you want to read more about the lovely people at Poynton PANDAS, please visit their blog: http://poyntonpandas.blogspot.co.uk

Alternatively, if you are living near Poynton, you can find out more about the Poynton PANDAS Support Group by visiting their facebook page.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Been doing my therapy “Doggie-Style” – by Rhiannon Adams (Poynton PANDAS)”

    1. Oh, I’m desperate for a cat! The thing is, we live next to a really busy road, we just can’t do it right now but I remember my black and white Boris looking after me in the throes of prenatal depression. You’re right, there is something very therapeutic about having a furry friend around 🙂 xx

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s