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Bipolar Therapy Cat

Any support is better than no support.

By MichPublished 6 years ago 3 min read
Borrowed Art Above

It might sound ridiculous to think about how animals can be the only ones who truly understand mental health disorders. But I'm beginning to think its true. I suffer from psychosis-related bipolar 2 disorder, along with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Anxiety seems to be the most common mental health problem today, so when it comes to dealing with help for that I have a few people in my life who can at the very least relate to my struggle. However, my bipolar disorder is completely foreign to most in my life. There are a couple people in my family who also suffer from bipolar disorder, but one is undiagnosed and the other two are bipolar 1 and are much much older then myself. So, really, no one has the same disorder as myself.

I was diagnosed officially about a year and a half to two years ago, after many many therapists, counsellors, psychiatrists and medications. The problem is, for the most part, I am “functioning”; this basically means, day to day I can function enough that most people don't see my struggle.

However, my cat, whom I have owned since she was 8 weeks old—now 4 years—has witnessed everything. From severe depression, to catatonic episodes, to hypomania and bipolar freak outs. She is literally the only one to witness every side of all my mental health issues and on a consistent basis. Therefore, she seems to know how to deal with all my sides better then anyone else.

Some people might say that it sounds stupid, however those with pets and in similar situations might completely understand where I am coming from.

For example, my bipolar freak outs—as I call them—can come at any time. It starts as slight irritation and somehow goes nuclear in a very short amount of time. It’s a grown women having a temper tantrum. Well, she does not leave when I have these episodes, unlike my other, newer cats and any human thats close by. Instead, she sits close to me, watching as objects get thrown and my voice gets louder. When my episode ends and instead turns into more of a slight depressive stage where I get extremely tired and I'm just waiting for my blood pressure to go back to normal, she lets me hold her for however long I need. She is normally a very independent cat and does not like to be held long. But in these situations, she lets me do whatever I need to do in order to feel better. Then once I'm back to normal, she walks away and goes on with her merry day.

I say she's the only one who understands because she seems to know exactly what I need, when I need it. The noise doesn't send her running and hiding the way any other loud noise would, but instead she seems to know I need her there, even if its from a far. I have yet to meet a human who can do the same things.

I find it interesting to watch her as she has grown into this ability. Especially because most people would not assume a cat, of all animals, would be the one to have this sense. Typically, people associate dogs with therapeutic abilities. I think all animals have a sense of tension and emotion, and given the right amount of love, care, and the right temperament within the animal, almost any species could have this ability. The difference between therapy dogs and my cat, in my opinion, is that the dogs are trained to do this, whereas my cat was never taught. She learned what I needed based on watching me, experiencing my episodes, and realizing I need her.

Mental health issues are very difficult to deal with. Each person deals in their own way and different things work for different people. For me, it is very helpful to know that there is one creature who can put up with the craziness that comes with a serious mental illness. To know I'm not alone in some of the hardest mental moments of my life.


About the Creator


Hello all! I am a stay at home mom with an autistic toddler. I love plants, animals and being a momma. On top of writing about my experiences!

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