I've had pets my entire life. We always had stray cats that we fed and I created bonds with. I've been allowed to have a couple indoor/outdoor cats over the years. But it wasn't until I left for college and got my first pet of my very own that I even realized how much just having an animal for company can effect my quality of living.
For roughly 10 years, I have been suffering from depression. It went undiagnosed and untreated for far too many years. I didn't take the step to attempt to get help until I had a breakdown and my suicidal thoughts and ideations were becoming too much for me to handle. Before talking to my doctor about it, I had just accepted that my depression would control the rest of my life.