I just want to be normal! - Kelly Burfoot
By soarvalleywestern, Jul 28 2016 08:27AM
Do you ever feel as though there isn’t anywhere to go… you’re completely at the end of your tether and don’t know where to turn?
I got to this point; I was willing to try anything out of pure desperation. This is where the amazing equine therapy came in. I had struggled with severe anxiety and depression and although I was already receiving Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and help from Macmillan, I felt as though something else was needed.
Then I saw on the TV the amazing work that animals can do for us humans, especially horses. Google brought up this small, but incredible place and the best bit of all, they were happy to see me straight away. I was very skeptical that it would work, but as I said, I was desperate - it NEEDED to. However, walking up to the gate I knew instantly that this place would be for me. I had the warmest greeting by Sharon and Lorraine and the lovely dogs. I felt a connection instantly. I already felt better, and couldn’t wait to start my therapy.
Just being with the horses, and the way that you instantly connected with them and the staff just told me that there was hope. After minutes I felt comfortable, it was like I had been there for years. I was introduced to the mental health specialist Debbie, who would be working with me and I instantly knew she would be someone I could open up to. I’ve had previous experience with two awful mental health specialists which made me incredibly worried about seeking help, but Debbie is so warming and kind in the ways she speaks to you and her gentle approach to talking therapy.
Skipping forward to future therapy sessions made me realize the incredible amount that I had put on myself from having uncontrollable fear, having to be in control, carrying unnecessary baggage etc. The horses mirror our emotions, which taught me very quickly how to react and feel about different situations. They interact with humans in a way that I never believed possible; they enabled me to see clearly the problems that I had been taunting myself with for so long. But when you watch and see that you can easily put your problems on to the horse, and then look at the horse’s behavior instead of thinking about yourself, it becomes incredibly easy to see what is happening and situations are suddenly a lot easier to talk about. Then metaphors and the realization that the problems that you have noticed are the ones you’ve been hiding for so long suddenly surfaces and the weight has finally been lifted. The different activities were simple, fun and very very effective - from dragging one of the 10 horses with ‘baggage’ around an assault course to looking in to the significance of the letter F or simply grooming a horse and seeing the effect it has on your emotions.
I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression for 3 years due to having leukemia previously. It wasn’t until I found the stables that I finally found hope in a way that I never thought was possible. It’s allowed me to be me again. I get excited about the next session; the next time I can see the horses and the team and to finally get out of the house (which hasn’t been possible, for months at a time).
Both Sharon and Lorraine understand the problems each of their clients have, they don’t judge, but are determined to help in anyway possible. I don’t know where I would be now if I hadn’t have had their help and the help from the resident beloved equines – it has changed my life for the better. I can’t wait to start volunteering in a place that I now feel very comfortable in. It’s an incredibly interesting subject and something that is so simple has a powerful outcome. I couldn’t recommend this service enough. So Sharon, Lorraine and Debbie, thank you for giving me my life back!