Anxiety is a little fucker. Sorry for the swearing but for me, there’s just no other way to describe it.
I’ve written at length about anxiety and me and how it affects my life, my IBS and my worry-wart brain. Sometimes I can be doing fine with my anxiety minding its own business, sometimes my mind can make me feel like I’m just not good enough and sometimes it’ll all get too much, taking over my mood and my day.
When we took in Lils, our gorgeous ball of fluff, I don’t think I appreciated how big an impact she’d have on my life. I figured that I was helping out a friend and gaining a cute pet in the process. What I didn’t realise was that in times of stress, foul moods, anxiety flares, down days and exhaustion, I’d come to rely on her way more than I ever imagined.
Lils may rely on me to feed, clean and care for her but I actually need her a whole lot more. She’s a mood changer. It’s as simple as looking at her little face, watching her routinely clean her lop ears or search out carrots, it all brings a big grin to my face. And who does’t need that.
Every morning, as soon as I wake up, I head straight for her. As soon as she sees me, she runs towards me and hops up and down until I get in with her. When I’m in, she nudges me affectionately and licks my bare feet. She grabs broccoli out of my hand while I’m distracted, she eats newspaper and cardboard when she’s bored of hay, she snuffles and farts like a trooper, and she’s pretty patient while I stick my phone in her face to fill her Instagram feed.
You see, Lils is my responsibility. Looking after her takes the focus off myself for a while. It’s a welcome relief.
So when I feel anxious, down, irritated, bored or tired, I go and sit wherever she is. I give her a head massage, tickle her behind her fluffy cheeks and stroke her velvety ears, and in return, she covers my hands in tiny licks. There is something so simple and so comforting about having a pet that makes you concentrate on them and forget about yourself for a moment. I can feel my shoulders lighten, my neck unwind and my mouth creep into a smile.
I am besotted.
And I am grateful that my friend let me take her, because I sure as hell need her more than she needs me.