Paula Bavill, 46, of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, treats her fear with her pet skunk Pongo (pictured together)
A nurse who spent years struggling with anxiety and depression told how her symptoms improved dramatically ̵
1; thanks to her skunk.
46-year-old Paula Bavill was previously unable to attend large gatherings and events due to severe mental health issues she had suffered for over a decade.
She bought Pongo two years ago, but did it I do not know when her furry friend will change her life.
Mrs. Bavill can now be seen walking around with Pongo in a bag on her chest or on a leash.
She says that she has him by her side, her mind and concentration. The fact that she can stroke him relieves her anxiety.
Mrs. Bavill from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, has joined thousands of other mental patients whose own "panic pets" help overcome their symptoms.
A study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research has found that adopting a pet can treat depressive symptoms if antidepressants and psychotherapy fail to do so.
Accompaniment is also cited as a major reducer of the stress hormone cortisol and as a general enhancement of well-being.  She bought Pongo (pictured) two years ago, but did not know that she would help change her life. ” class=”blkBorder img-share” />
She bought Pongo (pictured) Two years ago, but unaware that she could change her life
While most "panic pets" are cats or dogs, Mrs. Bavill, who owned ferrets many years ago, wanted something else.
] She said: "Pongo has definitely changed my life for the better.
"Before I was too eager to go to a place with too many people and too many loud noises, it was overwhelming.
The nurse is now often in a public walk with Pongo to see bags on the chest or on a leash
"But if he is there, I can handle much better. Nothing brings him into a phase, he is very outgoing and very relaxed.
"I think a big part of it is that when Pongo is there, all the attention is on him and not on me.
"Also able to live up to it When I stroke it, I let myself be distracted by everything else that is going on.
She said it helps her focus her mind and concentration and caressing him relieves her anxiety
Mrs. Bavill owns another skunk – five-year-old Wilfred.  She said it was relatively easy to take care of skunks, adding that they eat vegetables twice a day, have trash baskets, and move freely around the house.
Ms. Bavill said Wilfred's character is very different in this respect from Pongo's. He does not like busy areas or loud noises.
Pongo's calm temperament means that Mrs. Bavill can take him to fan-conventions like the Comic-Con, which she had never attended before.
. The adoption of a pet may be able to go to events and actually have a nice day, according to a study used in the Journal of Psychiatric Research
for the treatment of depressive symptoms.
"Obviously this is normal for most people, but it's really difficult for people with mental health problems."
Helen Brooks of Manchester University Pets Acted as a "form of encouragement" for people with mental illness.
Pongo's calm temperament means that Mrs. Bavill can lead him to fan-conventions like Comic-Con
. She added that animals can distract sufferers from "symptoms and unpleasant experiences."
A The charity spokesperson for the Mental Health Foundation said, "Pets are a great motivator for people.
" They encourage owners to exercise, and this can be beneficial for people suffering from depression.
She said," I think a big part of it is that when Pongo is there, all the attention by caressing, sitting next to or playing with a pet can, the owner has the opportunity to relax and calm his mind.
& # 39; C The pursuit of a pet also gives you the purpose and reward of your day and the feeling of having achieved something.
"It also helps you to feel valuable and needed."