miss_invisible: (hh: sad alot)
Kind of a slim month for the carnival, but here it is!

Over at A Multitude of Musings, Astrid writes A Self Care Plan for Triggers, listing her known triggers and ways to cope.

CBTish writes about the varied and potentially misleading ways of defining depression and finding individual solutions for self-care in The Net.

Finally, here at Miss Invisible, I discussed the role my pets play in my self-care in my post Pets and Depression.
miss_invisible: (garfield: love)
One of the best things I've done for my mental health seems, on the surface, wildly counter-intuitive: taking care of something else. For much of my life there have been pets in my house, but that stopped when I was in high school (except for the fish tank), and I didn't keep any in college either. The summer after I graduated, though, I found myself pining for a pet, and a local guinea pig rescue was having an adoption event in my area. I hemmed and hawed about it– I was in a pretty bad place at the time, still, and I was afraid the responsibility of keeping a pet would be too much for me to handle. I decided to go to the adoption event and see if there were even any guinea pigs I liked before making any final decision.

My mind kind of got made up for me; once I was there, I fell absolutely in love with a little smooth brown piggy with a delicate little face and silky fur. She took to me as soon as I picked her up, snuggling right in against my chest and licking my fingers, and I knew I had to have her. I got her a friend a little later, too, since they're social animals. Well, that was the goal, at any rate– they have a love/hate sort of frenemy relationship, so we'll call them Blair and Serena. Serena is a large albino abyssinian/peruvian cross, so she has fluffy, crazy hair. She sheds everywhere, but she's also the most trusting, cuddly piggy I've ever had, and she falls asleep in my lap on a regular basis.

They were the best decision I've made in a while. On my bad days, knowing I have innocent and essentially helpless creatures depending on me helps drag me out of bed and get me going when I might otherwise be tempted not to move. No matter how low I might feel, they're always happy to see me. Watching them play when I let them run around the floor for their daily exercise always makes me smile. When I'm lonely or depressed, they'll cuddle on my lap and purr. They're always a bright spot in the day, even if nothing else is going right. As I type this, Blair is rooting around for hay, and Serena is watching me from the front of the cage. Caring for them is caring for myself.

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