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Old 01-13-2015, 01:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Depression and Hedgies

Hello everyone! It's been quite awhile since I've posted anything. I've struggled with depression for my whole life and it gets especially bad in the winter, so I've been feeling rather bad lately. Rosie Mae can always tell when I'm upset and gets extra cuddly when I'm sad. She's a very perceptive little girl and everything she does makes me smile. Never underestimate the power of smiling! I know it probably doesn't matter to most of you, but I want to share my experiences with depression and anxiety because people struggling with these illnesses often feel very alone and isolated. If any of you ever need to talk to someone who understands what you're going through, I'm an open ear. Mental illness is a steep mountain to climb alone and you deserve to be happy and healthy. Having these issues is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about because chemical imbalances in your brain are just as physical as a broken bone. Never let anyone tell you that you just need to "cheer up" or "get over it" because if it was that simple, no one would be depressed. Again, I'm here for you if you need someone to talk to or if you want advice. I hope all of you and your hedgies are doing well and staying warm!
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My depression and anxiety was one of the main reasons for me getting a hedgehog. I struggle a lot with my depression and anxiety, and I find I get the most therapeutic help from taking care of animals. Feeling needed and wanted is a huge issue I have difficulties, so I figured a pet would be perfect. I did my fare share of research on different kinds of pets. My goal is to get a dog at some point, but due to my circumstances I won't be having one for a while.

At the time, I was living with my boyfriend and his friends in an apartment. Our roommates already had two cats, so a kitten or puppy was out of the question. I had been researching hedgehogs for a few years. One of my friends in college actually introduced me to the small creatures and I fell in love. I had a hard time deciding though if I wanted a hedgehog, or a snake, which I have also been researching for a long time. It eventually came down to the cost of owning each pet. I found that the snake was a bit more expensive with his heating and and lighting needs, as well as the food and set up. So when I had the money, I bought my hedgehog and all of the equipment needed. I can honestly say that my depression and anxiety has been reduced over the past month. I'm so in love with Tulsi and couldn't be happier.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You're post made me cry. But like a happy cry. I love seeing people reach out and talk about this kind of stuff... Because it's so hard. I've had an extreme case of panic disorder for 3 years now. My anxiety gets much worse in the winter as well. Which causes me to slip into depression. But I've got my hedgie Bean here to help me through the tough days. I'll definitely be reaching out to you if I ever need a helping hand. And please feel free to do the same.
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Old 01-14-2015, 12:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I got my hedgie for that reason, as well. I knew she'd keep me on a strict routine with her care, and give me something to look forward to at the end of each day. And an unexpected positive outcome was the challenge of winning her trust, and the gratitude and accomplishment I feel with each new level of bonding. Hedgehogs are great for setting and keeping focused on long-term future goals, like "I want to be able to rest my hand on my hedgie's back without her freaking out" and then once reached, expanding the goals to things like, "I want to be able to pet my hedgie without her freaking out". I call my girl my "special little happiness". Even when I don't feel motivated to bond with her some nights, once I push through it and wake her up I'm so glad I did.
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Old 01-14-2015, 10:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have general anxiety disorder, which just like sc2001 said, I slip into depression very easily especially in the winter. I never imagined having a hedgie that I absolutely adore would change my life so much- just her sleeping in my lap relieves any stress, anxiety, or sadness I may be feeling at that moment. It sounds crazy but being with her helps me through anxiety more than any medicine, talk with friends, working out, etc. ever has!
It makes me so happy to hear that others have found the same joy in their hedgehogs. Depression and anxiety is scary, lonely, and a constant battle- but you never have to be alone

Giving my girl an extra treat and snuggles tonight to show her how thankful I am for her!
Thank you so much for posting this MintyBanana- it brings a smile to my face as I type this to hear about the comfort that your hedgie has brought you
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you all for being so strong to post here like this. As the mother of a teenaged daughter who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks I can't begin to explain how much your honesty means to people. Don't ever feel silly for saying your little pokey bundles help you a lot. I think being aware or your situation and doing anything positive to ward it off is a huge step.
Having chronic depression myself, I too feel incredible happiness when holding little Penelope. When she puts her chin down on my chest and purrs on my I feel like the greatest human in the world at that moment!
I love this community! You never know what you will read that day! I strongly believe your posts were meant to be here today as someone who really needs to will read them!
Love to you all!
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Old 01-15-2015, 02:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, everyone! Depression and anxiety are incredibly overwhelming at times, and it's good to know that I'm not the only one who turns to their hedgie for love and acceptance.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes, having a spiky little friend has definitely helped my depression. Sometimes when I'm feeling really bad, I just lie on the kitchen floor and watch her run around.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I do the same thing!! Isn't is weird how you can watch them explore for hours? They are just so funny
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Every time I take Tulsi out for bonding, my heart melts. She will just lay in her cuddle sack on my chest, sprawl out, and just look at me with the cutest face. Her calm composure makes me calm. This only after she attempts to escape my view. Even then though, she puts a smile on my face.

One of my favorite moments with her was when I was having a pretty rough day. I had given her her first bath, and as I'm drying her with a towel, she climbs up my shirt and snuggles into my neck and shoulder. It made my day so much better.
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