She is nine years old and has been my cat since September 2015. She is a special needs cat and requires a lot of careful attention. She also has anxiety, which can exacerbate the situation too. That is something we have in common.
Caring for KitKat can be very challenging at times, but it brings me joy and I am constantly grateful to have her in my life. I do not have kids (and never have planned to either – personal choice), but having KitKat really does bring a sense of family into my home – I live alone.
A couple of months ago, I began letter both of my cats sleep in my bedroom at night. It has significantly changed KitKat by doing so. She sleeps by my pillow and has become more confident and adventurous in a short period of time. She has become more vocal with in letting me know her needs. It has been a change that has brough me joy seeing her improve so much.
Anxiety often hits me in the night, sometimes I wake with it. Every time I wake in the night, KitKat has gotten up and come over to me. She looks at me as if she is checking I am ok. That act in itself has also helped me manage my own condition too.
It genuinely has brought me joy to see the changes in her, and I will always be grateful for her.
So why do I tell you the story of my special needs cat? I just wanted to highlight the different way in which people cope with mental ill health. There is no single one size fits all approach or treatment. This “treatment” for me could never be prescribed, it is just one element that helps me so much.
There is no shame at all in asking for help. As I have just highlighted, help can come in very different ways. No medical professional told me to get a cat, but this works for me.
There are many stigmas surrounding mental health. One day I’d love to live in a world where that is not the case.
But for now, I will say, if you have reached the point where you want to ask for help, please do it. There are so many people out there suffering in silence. Make that step – it will be ok.