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Forums / Grief and loss / Loss of a pet. Depression trigger?

Topic: Loss of a pet. Depression trigger?

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. CLMFP
    CLMFP avatar
    10 posts
    10 December 2017


    2 days ago we had to put down my 16-year-old cat. I had him for over half my life, he was there when I was diagnosed with depression, when I was suicidal and when I started getting better and being 'normal' (somewhat). He was my constant. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety over 10 years ago and for about 4-3 years it's been for the most part controllable. I have my ups and downs, but mostly up or neutral. Because of this event, I feel like I don't know how I will be able to get through this, I don't want to slip back in to depression but I don't want to move on either. I have upped my anti-depressant dose and made an appointment with my psychiatrist (unfortunately it won't be until early January). In the meantime my mum and other cat are helping me through this, but I still can't see an end to this pain, especially with Christmas coming up, my cat loved christmas. By the way he wasn't just a cat or pet for me, he was/is family and always will be. Please let me know if you have had a pet that you went through depression with and lost them later. How have you coped with it?


  2. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
    14757 posts
    10 December 2017 in reply to CLMFP

    Hi CLMFP ,

    Welcome to the forum. I am sorry for the loss of your much loved companion.

    Many people share an intense bond with pets, so it’s understandable to feel consumed by feelings of grief and sadness when a pet dies. The pain of loss can often be overwhelming and trigger all sorts of difficult emotions. For you this loss is associated with the loss of a constant in your life while dealing with depression.So is even harder for you.

    When I was about 16 and recently diagnosed with bipolar my family cat died . The cat was nearly as old as me and I could not remember a time with her. I used to love combing her and talking to her. I cried and cried but every one told me 'to get over it' and they didn't understand what my cat meant to me. Also this was at a time when depression was not understood let alone an attachment to a cat and grieving for a pet.

    Grief is personal for every person. .For some their grief , comes in waves, or a series of highs and lows. The lows are likely to be deeper and longer at the beginning and then gradually become shorter and less intense as time goes by. Years after a loss, a sight, a sound, or a special anniversary can spark memories that trigger a strong sense of grief. About ten years after my cat died I cried like a baby when I saw her in an old video.
    The grieving process happens gradually. It can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months while people may grieve for much longer.

    It is good you are being responsible with your medication and seeking help. I am glad your mum is being supportive.

    Be patient with yourself as it has only be 2 days and you knew your cherished cat for so long.

    It will feel hard at first but do what works for you. if talking about your cat and sharing memories with your mum helps do that.

    You have worked so hard with your mental health, so you allow yourself time to grieve.

    Keep posting here if that helps, as I'd like to read more of your words.


    3 people found this helpful
  3. CLMFP
    CLMFP avatar
    10 posts
    10 December 2017 in reply to quirkywords

    Thank you Quirky,

    Your message has helped, I have socially isolated myself over the years ( I still talk to people at work or out but I don't have anyone I talk to regularly or close friends besides my mum and cats- now 1 :( ), that doesn't help during a time like this when I barely leave the house and in the house everything reminds me of him.

    I have uni work to do so i'm trying to set aside a bit of time to make myself do it. I'm watching some videos that cheer me up or at least take my mind of things for a bit. I am trying to cope but I'm scared life will be different now (I also struggle with change) and I don't want to keep going on like my cat was never here. I like to think that he would want me to keep going and trying with my uni work and work, he always sat with me and 'helped' me study. I'm just so scared of moving on without him

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Birdy77
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    Birdy77 avatar
    2299 posts
    10 December 2017 in reply to CLMFP

    Hello CLMFP,

    I am so sorry for your loss. You have lost a lifelong friend, family member and dearest companion.

    Quirky has said perfectly everything i would like to say.

    I'd like to reiterate that you should go very gently with yourself over the next weeks and months, i know you're feel it's going to be even harder over Christmas and you that you said your cat loved Christmas - but he will be with you in spirit over this time. I truly believe that.

    I totally understand that he was not just a pet. He was your best friend, companion, confidante ... and you will probably miss him always.

    When my most treasured dog died last year, it was actually the saddest i have ever felt in my whole life. I have lost humans and gine through trauma during my lifetime, but the pure and utter sadness i felt when my dog died could not be compared to anything I'd ever experienced. They are so so special, loyal, unjudgemental, and they love us unconditionally. It is a truly special bond.

    I am still in deep sadness over my dog, and it has been 14 months, but i wanted to let you know what I've done to help myself over this time.

    I am lucky enough to have a space to have a garden behind my house, and i was able to bury my dog in my backyard. Since he died, i have created a special garden dedicated to him and all the special and beautiful times i spent with him. The flowers that are blooming there and the plants that grow there are actually part of him, his DNA is part of their beauty (his body lies beneath), and it is a place i can sit and be with him, in a different form, and love him still. And it allows him to still be a physical part of my day, i can smell his flowers and brush my hands along the soft feathery foliage he is putting forth for me.

    I wonder if you have a place that you could do something similar fir your cat?

    I still ache for my darling doggy most days. The garden I'm creating doesnt take my pain away, but it creates a space for my loving energy to be channelled.

    Very warm and caring thoughts to you ❤❤🌻🌻 birdy

  5. CLMFP
    CLMFP avatar
    10 posts
    10 December 2017 in reply to Birdy77

    Thank you so much Birdy for your kind words. It means a lot to share my feelings with people and have that reciprocated. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope in time, when the time is right for you, that your deep sadness will be lifted gently.

    I think we are going to have my cat cremated and scatter some of his ashes in his favourite spot outside, under a bush, on the straw and under the sun- it was like a nest for him. I have also chosen some photos I would like to print out and frame of him and put around the house. My other cat has been with me a lot of the time which has helped me feel less lonely when my mum is off doing things or I just want to be on my own but not alone. I also started writing a list/letter to my cat that passed, listing all the things I love about him.

    It's just so hard never being able to feel him or hear him again. Logically I know what we did was best for him, he was struggling to breathe and his eyes were so tired at the vet, it was awful to witness. But my heart just aches for him. I am worried that the sadness may last a long time, especially with christmas coming up (historically that time of year has brought up depression and anxiety anyway). I don't do well if I prolong sadness for too long, I can very easily slip back into completely isolating myself (no work, no study).

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Birdy77
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    Birdy77 avatar
    2299 posts
    12 December 2017 in reply to CLMFP

    Dear CLMFP,

    That sounds like a really wonderful thing to do, scatter some of his ashes in his lovely nesting spot. You will be able to sit there and chat to him, and remember so many treasured times together. And it will be a lovely (and probably tearful) process choosing some photos to frame and put around the house.

    I'm glad your other cat is keeping you company and comforting you.

    I understand how hard it is to realise you'll never touch him again or hear him. It will be hard for some time, but eventually it will become easier, just a little bit at a time.

    You said you were worried about letting yourself slip back into isolation, especially around the holiday seadon which is hard for you anyway. I think the fact that you're aware of this is a really positive thing. Maybe you could have small goals to aim for as in reaching outside of yourself. Or just little outings outside the house? Small, achievable goals.

    I have seen you responding to some other members on other threads (and laughed out loud at your wonderful contribution to the 5 letter game! Jumbo Umbrellas Make Perfect Sausages!!! That's so funny 😂) ... see you already are extending yourself by being in touch with people here.

    But go gently with yourself, it's still only been a few days and it's all very raw still.

    Gently, gently.

    🌻🌻 birdy xo

  7. Ellie05
    Ellie05 avatar
    178 posts
    9 January 2018 in reply to CLMFP

    Hi CLMFP,

    I'm not sure if you're still checking these boards but I wanted to see how you are going?

    I'm in the same situation having lost my dog 2 days ago and I'm utterly devastated. It has also triggered a lot of depressive thoughts and anxieties about other things.

    I went through this once before as a 12 year old. I spent a year being anxious and depressed as my dog was getting old and I could see her time was coming to a close. When she passed it was devastating. In between this period and the recent loss of my dog I have had to say goodbye to three other pets (2 dogs and a cat, as we had 4 pets at once stage). These losses weren't as difficult as I wasn't living at home at the time and wasn't there when it happened. That's why the recent loss has really knocked me off my feet. I'd forgotten what is was like to lose a beloved pet that was such a big part of your daily routine. It's much harder to ignore the fact that they are gone. I would spend all day and all night with my dog and he would just fill me with joy. I'm now at my sister's place as I can't stand the idea of being in the house without him. I'm not sure when I'll go back but I'm not looking forward to it.

    1 person found this helpful
  8. geoff
    Life Member
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    geoff avatar
    16497 posts
    9 January 2018 in reply to CLMFP
    hello CLMFP, I'm so sorry I missed your comment because what has happened is terrible and I feel for you so much.

    It's been a few weeks since you posted but time means nothing when your best friend has to be laid to rest all your memories will still be there and they may diminish but not the love you had for him.

    It reminds me of my Jack Russell who I also had to put to sleep after a cancer lump was removed but the end result wasn't what I had expected, I had her for 18 years and it certainly broke my heart, even though I had the current puppie on the photo who knew I was upset and just cuddled up to me.

    I am really sorry for you. Geoff.

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