A PERSONAL DOSE

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Originally, when shooting this look, I had a completely separate topic to discuss. But the moment my little one joined me in this shoot, I knew exactly what I wanted to say.

I got my first heartbreak at 20 years old, which brought on my first bout of depression. Never really handled it well, muddled a lot of my emotions, suppressed a lot of thoughts because being outward with it all wasn't an option. I struggled day to day, not wanting to talk to anyone but not realizing how much I was spiraling out of control- to a point where I became self-destructive. I knew this wasn't me, I wasn't normal me and I had to ask for help. After consulting with family and learning it was something that ran in my bloodline, I began to open up and talk more about my thoughts inside of pretending they didn't exist or falling faint to the depression it caused. It's not easy to talk about or tell people. It took me quite a while to tell my closest friends and that feeling lasted months. Through that though, I'm so thankful I kept a journal during that time. It helps me to reflect, to remember where I came from and how I felt in the hardest of times.

When I moved to New York, I knew it would be a tough journey and hardly the easiest route I could of taken (Hello, coffee shop ownership calling!). After 6 months of living here, I went through an extremely tough phrase. I was so unsure of my decision to move, unhappy with almost everything and couldn't find the words to say, HELP. Before I knew it, I was back into my depression, letting every emotion play out and it really took a toll on my head and my focus. But because I had gone through it before, I knew how to handle it. I asked for help. I called family and let them know what was up, called for reassurance and someone to hear me out. About a month after that call, nothing really changed and I knew something needed to happen. I spoke to my roommates about us getting a dog. You're probably thinking, what does this have to do with what you were going through? I wasn't really sure either but somehow, getting a dog was my answer. The moment we met Pippa (at the ASPCA, they called her Cammie), I knew she would fix everything. I adopted her, signed her papers and she was mine.

Pippa changed my entire world. With the help of my two roommates, Pippa became the most important thing to me. It was my responsibility to take care of her, provide for her and it took 100% off the focus of me and all my "woes" and all into a helpless creature. A lot of people don't understand- some say it's silly to put all that into a dog, a pet. I believe she saved me from what I knew to be the worst part of me. She provides a stability I wouldn't have if it wasn't for her. Pippa is, yes, a dog. But she's more to me- I think she saved my life. She'll follow me along my journey, wherever that may take me- whether it's here, California or abroad. She's now the most important part of what makes me function. There's nothing greater than seeing a happy face all the time and who provides love and affection for no real reason at all.

This is just my personal story I felt like sharing. I know so many people who go through depression- so many in New York City alone. I'm not saying if YOU got a dog, your life would change too. I'm just suggesting that finding something or someone where the focus is off you and more onto things bigger than you- whether that be a new hobby like a blog, a boy who likes you could be a fun venture or maybe just taking moments out of your week to volunteer. I learned that falling into my depression was so selfish of me. Of course, being sad isn't wrong but dwelling in it, is. For me, at least. I'm no doctor, I can't tell you what is right or what's wrong. But Pippa was and is my answer. If you feel like you're depressed and need to talk, please reach out to someone you're close to. Or this.

If you would like to adopt a pet, I recommend the ASPCA. They are a kill-free shelter, humane and most importantly, trustworthy. I worked with some awesome people when finding Pippa. Check out your local ASPCA or head to the ASPCA in NYC- ask for Arthur. He's the best.

Now take a look at the cutest face you ever did see- my regal little pup.

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Photos by the ultimate: Lydia Hudgens