PTSD, A Service Dog Named Gunny, & Seasons of the Soul

Sheri J. Michel Addresses Mental Health Using Practical Measures

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Photo by Unsplash
Photo by Unsplash

70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. This equates to approximately 223.4 million. – PTSD United

Up to 20% of these people go on to develop PTSD. As of today, that equates to approximately 44.7 million people who were or are struggling with PTSD. – PTSD United

Sheri J. Michel, an Army veteran and former law enforcement detective debuted, Seasons of the Soul‘, addressing the critical subject of managing PTSD and the narrative of living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and firsthand experiences. According to NAMI & NCBI, ‘compared to the general population, law enforcement report much higher rates of depression, PTSD, burnout, and other anxiety related mental health conditions.’ 

Michel used the freedom and therapy associated writing to help manage PTSD, along with farming, and Gunny – her service dog. Says Michel, “With Gunny, I feel more comfortable leaving the solitude of the farm. He helps to make me feel sturdier when I get up from sitting by allowing me to lean on him.  He distracts me when I’m feeling anxious with his puppy antics, his Shepherd “talks” and brings me ”gifts” when I’m depressed.”  

A preliminary study led by researchers in the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine shows “veterans suffering from PTSD exhibited better mental health and well-being on several measures if they had a service dog, including:

  • Lower overall symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
  • Lower levels of depression.
  • Higher levels of life satisfaction.
  • Higher overall psychological well-being.
  • Lower levels of social isolation and greater ability to participate in social activities.
  • Higher levels of resilience.
  • Higher levels of companionship.
  • Less absenteeism from work due to health among those who were employed.”

“I am working toward overcoming the boundaries that the traumas I have witnessed have bestowed upon me. These are the seasons of spring and summer.” says Sheri J. Michel’s in ‘Seasons of the Soul.’

‘PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation.’ – National Institute of Mental Health.

The key word is ‘natural’. It is natural to have these feelings after experiencing a shocking event. Get help, and use day-to-day practices to manage PTSD. According to various study’s and Sheri J. Michel’s example, implementing lifestyle changes can lead to a more peaceful and fulfilling life.

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