Hi everyone, hope Monday treats you well!
I've got a personal post for you today, about how having dogs has changed my life for the better. I feel like that first photo maybe should have been of Archie, as he's my "first born" (lol), but the one of Winnie and I is just too cute.
In April of this year, I was in a bad place. I'd been working in a job I hated for 9 months, with long hours, negative energy around me and very little free time to unwind. I felt totally stuck in a rut. I'd spent 16 years at school, college and university... and for what? I wasn't using my brain at all in that particular job, just keying in numbers all day long, and I felt completely worthless. I was also really struggling with graduating from university the previous year; I missed my friends, I missed studying and I even missed deadlines! Combined with moving home from uni and feeling like I almost didn't "fit" at home any more, I was in a bit of a state. All of this added up to a feeling of despair, a quarter-life crisis I suppose.
It all came to a head when I began to get ill; I don't know if I've ever mentioned it on this blog, but I actually suffer from Crohns Disease. In the grand scheme of things I'm very lucky... I can often go years without a serious flare up, though I do have days where it'll suddenly strike, and I'll be wiped out for a day or two. It's primarily (for me, anyway) triggered by stress, and my horrible job was definitely causing me a lot of stress. I'd had to take a handful of days off work (4.5 in 8 months, to be exact) and they decided that was enough to haul me in for meetings, refuse to pass my probation, and make me feel totally inadequate.
Studies suggest that those who are chronically ill, are the least likely to take time off sick... we're desperate to prove ourselves, and not let anyone down. If I ever take a day off, you can guarantee that I've been feeling awful for a while. I even went into work when my limbs started to swell up (another, lesser known side effect of my illness), and I could barely walk! To add insult to injury, several people in my team had taken more time off than I had, but I was the only one facing any "consequences". Don't get me wrong, for the most part I really liked everyone on my team, but the whole situation just wasn't fair. I couldn't work there any more, and my GP signed me off with stress.
It's a cliché phrase, but I sank into a deep depression. I've suffered with depression and generalised anxiety disorder since I was 8 years old, but this year was one of my lowest points. Depression can make you do impulsive things, and one day whilst browsing the internet (I was actually looking for a thrianta rabbit!) I came across a litter of yorkie puppies. My brain told me I had to have one. In order to do so, though, I would have to finally move into the house that my boyfriend and I had been renovating for the past year. He already lived there, but I had decided to hold off until it was done, as I can't stand mess and disorder. Not any more, though. I had to have a puppy, and I had to have one now. Like I said... depression can make you do impulsive things.
I found the litter on a Thursday, we viewed them on the Saturday, and by the following Wednesday I had collected Archie and moved in with my boyfriend. My life changed irrevocably overnight! I was still unemployed at this point, though I did have some money saved up that just about tided me over until I started working again in September. When I look back on this time, I feel so, so sorry for my boyfriend. He deserved more time to get his head around the fact that I'd be moving in, especially after living there alone for 6 months. He never wanted pets either, but I'm afraid that comes with the territory if you're dating me!
I won't lie to you... this past summer was really, really hard. Moving in with Will so suddenly didn't do us any favours; despite already being together for 3 years, it's definitely true that you don't really know someone until you live with them. In those first few weeks with Archie too, and later again with Winnie, I had many moments of thinking "what the heck have I done?!" Now though, with perspective, a new job that I'm so much happier in, and being in a great place with my boyfriend, I can honestly say that these two little dogs have changed my life. Getting Archie in May gave me something to get out of bed for. Getting a dog inspired us to start selling dog bandanas on etsy. I'm fitter than I've been in years, thanks to long walks in the woods and over fields. I've learnt that contrary to what I've often worried about, I'm definitely not selfish, and I'm capable of being a good parent.
Basically, I want to be the person that my dogs think I am. They think I'm pretty great.
Chloé, Archie and Winnie