Nickie Coby (puppybraille) wrote,
Nickie Coby
puppybraille

A Guide to Easier Times

Let's face it. Life with chronic illness isn't a party. There are highs, like the results of my infusions (punn not intended), but there are also big lows, when everything seems to be crashing down around you. I know, because I've been there. Right now might be great, but for a long time, I was in a very dark place. It takes strength to get through those periods, but where do you get it? How do you get yourself centered enough to successfully weather the storm?

I use many techniques, I could write about writing, talking to friends, prayer, beading, dancing, relaxation skills and so much more, but if I did, I'd be overlooking a very important piece of the puzzle. That piece, tool and friend in one is Julio, my Guide Dog. Animals have a unique ability to sooth and comfort. They can speak to us without words. We can feel the softness of their furr, admire the shiny colorfulness of a fish, hear a kitten's purr. I benefit from the closeness to Julio, and I find that he helps me to cope with some pretty tough stuff.

When I pet Julio, I am reminded of several important facts. First, I'm reminded that I'm not alone. The strength of our bond provides that reassurance, even when it's 3 AM and no one's available to talk.

I'm encouraged to do things that calm me down and just overall increase my health. A nice walk with Julio and I'm calmer, more clear headed and my spasms are even less pronounced. Scientists have documented the benefits animals have on our bodies, decreased blood pressure and overall less stress.

Julio teaches me a lot too. He teaches me how to relax. He breathes in a relaxed way, prompting me to breathe the same way. He teaches me to laugh even when things are stressing me out. He teaches me the value of compassion.

Finally, Julio brings me help when I need it. I find that a lot of times, people who might overlook my needs are more willing to accommodate me when they see Julio.
Tags: anxiety, blogs, chronic illness, chronic pain, coping skills, depression, disability related, guide dogs, health, pain management journal, relaxation, tool box
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