For persons living with bipolar disorder, an emotional support animal (ESA) can be invaluable in limiting and managing the manifestations of this disorder and promote both mental and emotional wellbeing. These four-legged companions can get you through those depressive lows and hypomanic highs.
What tasks your ESA will do to aid you will depend on your personal needs, challenges, and circumstances. Here is a quick look at how ESAs can help you if you have bipolar disorder.
ESAs Provide Comfort
People with bipolar disorder often go through episodes where they feel disengaged and disconnected from everyone and everything. During these times, you will feel all alone in the world and this can really take a toll on your mental and emotional health.
An ESA by your side will bring comfort and a sense of family and belonging. Both of these elements will keep you grounded and you will be able to avoid spiraling into that place where you are living in your own head.
ESAs Will Boost Your Moods
Extreme mood swings are one of the fundamental manifestations of bipolar disorder. An ESA can help rein in these extremes as they have a positive effect on moods. When you are feeling your lowest, petting your ESA can level you up and you can look forward to having a great day.
Petting your animal and just being around it does affect your brain’s chemistry. It stimulates the brain to produce specific neurotransmitters and feel-good chemicals that will boost your mood.
ESAs Provide a Necessary Distraction When it Counts Most
If you find yourself engaging in potentially destructive or dangerous behavior during a manic episode, your ESA can step in just at the right time and avoid what would be serious repercussions. The ESA will nudge you or distract you to play, helping you pull out of that manic state.
Your ESA may have special training to recognize the tell-tale signs of trouble and how to act accordingly in such situations. Your animal will step in before things get out of control.
ESAs help Maintain a Link to the World
The presence and activity of your ESA can be the very link to reality that will reel you back to this reality whenever you are at risk of losing yourself during a manic episode. Such episodes are often characterized by delusions and hallucinations and your ESA may be the one link to the real world. This is especially true if you live all by yourself and do not get regular visits from family and friends, and don’t socialize with the neighbors.
Similarly, your animal can encourage you to interact more with others, and avoid all the implications that come with social withdrawal. In taking care of your ESA, you may, for example, need to take your animal out for walks at the park, and during these outings, you may find yourself easily interacting and socializing with other people and their pets. This connection is very important to your mental health, and the more frequent these interactions, the better for you.
ESAs Help With Some Tasks
With some training, your ESA can bring you your medication or, in one way, or another, remind you to take your medication at specific times. Your animal will also wake you up, or remind you to go to sleep at specific times to help maintain a regular sleep cycle which is fundamental to both your physical and psychological wellbeing. Similarly, if you are on the verge of having a manic episode and need to call someone, your ESA can also bring the phone to you. While your animal may come trained for some of these tasks, you can always teach and train them to do more for you, or hire a professional for the same.
ESAs help Build Confidence and Self-worth
It is not always about what your ESA can do for you. That you are able to take care of your animal and do it well will give you a sense of confidence in your abilities and boost your self-worth. It gives a sense of purpose that is very important to your emotional wellbeing and health.
Inferiority complex is not uncommon among people with bipolar disorder. However, on those days when you are feeling your lowest and in an extreme mood weighed down by these feelings, looking over at your ESA and recognizing how good a job you are doing taking care of it can uplift you. Besides, feeding, grooming, and talking your ESA on walks and pet runs can take your mind off so much.
Get Yours Today
You can live a full life even with bipolar disorder and an ESA can help you achieve this. Get in touch with ESA Care today, speak to one of our doctors, and get the ESA letter you need to bring an ESA home with you.