Sorry if this gets a little emotional, but hedgehogs helped me overcome postpartum depression and have helped me cope with anxiety. On September 20, 2013, I welcomed my daughter (Abbigail) to the world. All 7lbs 13oz of her were absolutely perfect, even her crooked scrunched up little nose. We had 2 boys at home and she was the last baby I would ever have, the missing little piece to our family. I looked at her face and loved her from the very start, but instead of feeling happy, excited, and ready to go home, I was terrified, anxious, and felt an overwhelming sadness that I can't even explain... and then I felt embarrassed and selfish for feeling this way.
A few months before Abby was born, my brother in law committed suicide. It ripped my family apart and that gaping void and sense of loss is still there even years later. Looking back I think a lot of my postpartum depression was from that immeasurable loss and heartache and hormones. Whatever it was, it took months for me to feel normal.
Abby was still a little baby when we brought our first hedgehog home. I remember feeling so happy and full of joy with this remarkable and different new animal, I thought it was so unique that they oftentimes bond with a certain person, and that little hedgie (Kate the Great) loved me! After I put the kid's to bed I would get her out and watch TV with her, it made me relax and brought me so much joy to see her happy little nose sniffing around. She would curl up in my lap and sleep, and I wondered to myself if I could help others struggling with anxiety or depression with these pokey little animals. Fast forward several years later and I am shocked with how many people that adopt hedgehogs mention they will be therapy animals to help them with their own anxiety or depression. (See, we are not alone in this!)
I am not saying go off of your anxiety meds and get a hedgehog instead, or that they will solve every problem, but I do believe that pets have a HUGE effect on our emotional well being. Hedgehogs may not be as in tune with your feelings compared to a dog or cat, but for me they do remind me to slow down and enjoy the little things in life.
Here's bit more on anxiety if you're interested https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety
If you're interested in learning more about therapy pets, check out https://petpartners.org
***Please keep in mind that if you are struggling from anxiety or depression, things DO get better!!! Don't be embarrassed or ashamed to feel anxious or depressed, reach out and get help. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org