My name is Brianne and I have been coming to H.O.P.E. Ranch since I was 17 years old. I am now 28 and I can honestly say I would not be who or where I am today without Kit, H.O.P.E. Ranch, and all the animals.
I have had depression most of my life and there were many times it was literally debilitating. I could not get out of bed. I was not eating. I was not showering. I was not functioning or participating in my life. I had 5 different psychotherapists before we were referred to H.O.P.E. Ranch. I remember that first session, I felt like I connected with her and the animals immediately. I told her a lot of things I had not told any of my previous therapists.
I love the animals being available for sessions. I was very connected to their old therapy dog, Honey. I would spend a lot of time on the floor either brushing her, massaging her back, or just petting her – especially if a day was really rough. Being in the fresh air in the country is a huge factor in my self-care.
When I first came to H.O.P.E. Ranch, a lot of my issues were very big. Kit and I would work through scenarios with the horses and it helped me immensely. I used that information and the coping skills I learned in my everyday life. There is a lot of stigma about mental health and the animals never judge me, I always feel completely accepted there. I never used to tell anybody if anything was bothering me. I used to say, “I’m fine, I’m okay”. Now I am more assertive and can say if something is bothering me or if I need something, I can handle confrontation, I have more confidence in general.
My family including my parents, my younger brother, my husband, and my daughter have all been supportive of me when I have needed a helping hand. Mental health affects more than the person with a diagnosis. It affects those around that person, daily.
I am a much stronger person than I was when I first started coming here. I have had a lot of success talking with Kit and being around all the animals. I will always continue to go there. It helps settle me. I always leave feeling much calmer and stronger.
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