Those who know me well are aware that I suffer from different forms of anxiety. I often envy people who are regular social media story posters where lunches, brunches, and everything else “social” are the norm, and they look so happy!
While in my world, I fear phone calls. I fear handshakes. I fear social gatherings with no alcohol. More often than not, alcohol has become my crutch, my gateway to fame, where I can strike up a conversation and keep it. I have come up with countless excuses to avoid the closest of friends, the most mundane excuses that lack believability. And yet, they buy it, because I’m me.
I get exhausted just thinking about having to dress up, go to lunch or dinner, and put on a smile. And at the Centre, the arena and stables have become my crutch. It’s my escape from having to interact with people. I escape into the medley of fur, grass, manure, and I bury my face in work and kick my heels into the ground. The horses have become my therapy, my gateway to a dimension of avoidance.
Those who don’t know me simply think I’m not friendly. It’s a vicious cycle of me being anxious, not talking to people, then worrying about people judging me because I’m not friendly, which leads to greater anxiety, and so the monsters from the deep emerge and play around the threads of my sanity.
But with animals, now that’s a different story. My anxiety blends into a mush of love, slobbers, hugs, tail whacks, shedding, neighs, barks, squawks, bites, nibbles, jumps, the list can go on. This magical emission of pure animal joy at the sight of you can beat away any and all sorts of anxiety. Simply put, they are all unicorns!
You’ve heard this all before, I’m sure of it, but it needs to be repeated for some nay-sayers. It’s the absolute truth! Animals won’t tell you “It’s all in your head”, they won’t make you feel inferior, a loser, or that you’re not worth their time and company. They love you as it is, and that’s as pure as it can get.
On days when I simply cannot get out of bed, and I draw the curtains shut, I know I can rely on Atlas, my Great Dane, and Light, our adopted mixed breed, to just lie there with me, and give me occasional nose nudges, checking if I’m still alright. I don’t want to hear the words “Are you ok?” I just need that quiet company.
On days when I cry for no reason, I know I can rely on Atlas and Light, and my birds, to make me feel as bright as a rainbow, after the thunderstorm of tears.
On days when I am extra anxious, and my belly is bursting with unknown fears, I get on my horses, and they make me feel brave. They make me feel like a could conquer any hurdle, like Lancelot on a quest, no matter how small the obstacle.
My animals have helped me persevere. They have helped me crawl out of the darkest, deepest, muddiest holes I have dug for myself. I’ve emerged coated in uncertainty, with mouthfuls of insecurities, but I have learned to push on. And despite the anxiety, despite the self-doubt, I extend that muddy hand, and I say the simplest, shortest word that means so much, “HI”.
That magical power animals keep bottled up inside is free for everyone! I’ve seen the saddest of children light up when they cuddle a dog. The most fearful of children learn bravery on the back of a horse. I’ve seen animals stop tears dead in its tracks. There are no limits to what animals can do for the soul, if only you give them a chance.
They are filled with unconditional love that seeks no reward, no payment, just your happiness. They are God’s gift to mankind!
If you would like to spend time with some of our animals, and just experience the joy they’re willing to share with you, give us a call and book your visit! I guarantee, our animals will warm your heart and lift your spirits!