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How a kitten changed a life - RUOK?

Posted in Our Community @ Sep 11th 2013 - By Phoebe
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This was written by my niece Phoebe and posted on her Facebook page.....

I thought it was about time to explain the importance of Panda in my life and why she probably appears on my Facebook and Instagram feeds more than anything else. For 18 years I lived with undiagnosed anxiety and depression, it was only until I had my first full on panic attack that I realised it wasn't normal to feel and think like I did.

I tried all the councillors and prescription medication the doctor gave me, to no avail. Some made me twitchy, some made me sick, most made me loopy... I have tried relaxation and meditation, but the trouble was I was anxious about having another anxiety attack which would bring it on worse... I put on weight and stopped socialising. 

I also stopped going to class, leading me to have to repeat this year. Then in January I thought I was doing this kitten a favour and took her in. After some research I realised she could be more help to me then I could ever be to her. Pet therapy!!!

Since January I have lost ALL the weight, I am happier and smile 100% more than I ever did, and my panic attacks have more than halved. This little kitty may well have saved my life.

Just because you couldn't see the hurt and the pain mental illness is real. 

Just because you can't bandage it up, mental illness is real.

And it's nothing to be ashamed of.

Anyone who can relate to my story, and have given everything else a go, I strongly recommend pet therapy. You may surprise yourself.  

#anxiety #depression  #mentalillness  #staystrong  #staysafe  #talk  #pettherapy #panda  #RUOK

Words cannot describe how proud I am of my niece Phoebe for being brave enough to share her story.  Not only giving me permission to turn it into a blog post but also allowing AARF (The Australian Anthrozoology Research Foundation) to use her story to help others.

 Since the beginning of the year when Panda came into her life these are just some of the things that Phoebe has been able to achieve:  

  • Participated in ‘Live Below the Line’ and raised over $1,500.00
  • Tireless charity work including collecting clothes to sell for charity and putting together little craft boxes for the children of youth services
  • AND reconnecting with her nursing degree with a vengeance (7.8 out of 8 in her first in class test!)

So for those that work in the veterinary industry or with animals, take the time to ask those around you – RUOK? 

Also take a moment to think about all the pets that are making such a difference in their owner’s lives, just like Panda, and remember that although your job can be tough – emotionally and physically – you're making such a huge difference in the lives of people and their pets with your tireless work helping look after their furry babys. 


Click here to visit the RUOK? website 

Need help now?  Click here for crisis support.  If you need urgent support or are worried about someone, please contact your local doctor or the agencies listed.  If your need is life threatening call 000.   



lisa blair @ Oct 2nd 2013 1:07pm
Judy, can you thank Phoebe for her bravery? It's an important message to share, and she's done a great job - I know you are very proud but she is an ornament to her generation. And wish her luck with her studies for me! Her empathy will make her a significantly wonderful nurse
Judy @ Oct 4th 2013 11:17am
Hi Lisa, I'll certainly pass on your kinds thoughts to Phoebe - she is definitely a great example! Judy

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