Little Bear

Posted: August 14, 2022 in anxiety, kitten, Life, living, mental health, Panic Disorder
Tags: , , , ,

A couple of years ago, I suffered my first panic attack.

Had no idea what it was at the time. I thought I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t breathe properly and there was pain in my chest. I walked into the ER with very high blood pressure and my heart rate was through the roof.

After spending some hours there, the doctor finally saw me, did all the tests, and concluded I suffered from anxiety, so she gave me some pills to calm me so I could go home and sleep.

I ended up taking a month off of work and became agoraphobic. Every time I wanted to leave the apartment, my stomach would tense up and get hot, and I had to sit myself right back down. I became a prisoner of my place.

I knew I was in a dark place, so I made a conscious decision not to even go out on my balcony as I didn’t trust myself not to jump from it.

My doctor got me on some anti-anxiety meds and between those and my new yogic meditation practices I was able to come out of it, and for a few years I was anxiety-free and panic-free. I eventually even got off the drugs and all was well.

Until a few months ago and again I suffered chest pains so bad, the tele-health nurse decided to send an ambulance to my home. And so again, I went to the ER for no good reason and again they diagnosed a panic attack.

From there, I struggled daily to keep anxiety at bay, though I knew it was there in the background, getting ready to pounce.

On July 23, I got a haircut. The guy cutting my hair told me he’d seen a bunch of kittens for sale at a nearby pet store.

I was only mildly interested, as I’d been to many pet stores and saw a number of cats and kittens, but none really caught my eye. I even went to the local Humane Society and checked all the kitties there. The only ones that seemed interested at all were already being held for adopters.

So there really wasn’t a lot of hope that the ones my hairstylist saw would interest me, or be interested in me.

That sunny day, I left the hair salon and wandered over to the store. As soon as I walked in, I saw their cage to the left of the door, and I swear to God my voice went up about a half-octave as I started talking with the three kittens that were left. “How are YOU, little ones?”

They were all grey haired on the top, with white bellies and paws. One of them was on his back and when I spoke he looked right at me. And kept looking as I continued talking to him.

The clerk was smiling the whole time, and when I asked about adopting him, he told me I’d have to complete an application first. I took it home, completed it and brought it back the next day, thinking I’d drop off the application, which they would look at and, if approved, I could take him home that day.

I was wrong. The application had to go back to the animal services organization in the next town over and they would let the pet shop know if I was approved to adopt him. He told me there were several others interested in adopting them, so in my mind, the chances I’d get the one I’d picked out were slim. That was on a Sunday.

I still hadn’t heard from the pet shop by Wednesday, so I called the organization who sent out the kittens to the shop and asked how soon they would have an answer. The guy who answered wasn’t the person who’d make the decision so he said I’d hear back from the other guy that afternoon.

Mid-afternoon my phone rang. I looked at the display. It wasn’t the animal services place; it was the pet shop. They told me my application was approved and I could come pick him up.

Heart pounding, I informed my boss I had to leave work early, and that I would make up the two hours later.

After going out and buying a bunch of pet supplies and getting them ready at home, I made my way over to the pet shop and picked him up.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mishka.

Mishka, Russian name meaning “little bear” or “gift from God”; in Hindi it means “gift of love”; in Arabic it means “niche for light,”

He’s been with me now for a few weeks. He has brightened my life considerably, and of course the lurking anxiety has gone away. I truly feel there’s something – someone – to live for. Truly live for, and not merely exist anymore. The little guy follows me everywhere and anticipates bed time. He hops up on the bed and waits for me to settle before he begins his routine.

It has become a ritual now. He plays on the bed for a little bit, gives himself a bath, and then snuggles up next to me, purring. I’ll pet him until he falls asleep and then it’s my turn to sleep.

Mornings are the same too. I’ll wake up and as soon as I stir, he wakes up. So he begins purring as I pet him for a while.

He loves to play fight with me, and chases stuff around the apartment. He gets the zoomies too. For those unfamiliar with the term, it means he gets bursts of energy that have him zooming around the apartment chasing ghosts. He’s done it in the tub too, back and forth.

I don’t think I’ve smiled or laughed so much in a long time.

The naming was interesting. You’ll see the definitions of “Mishka” up there beneath his photograph. It took me a while. I kept trying out different names, knowing they weren’t right, until I landed on “Mishka”. The name just felt right when I said it, and I only discovered its meaning afterward.

“Gift from God” sounds about right, as that’s exactly how I see him now. And I am so grateful he exists and that we’re together now. I could not be more happy.

  1. contoveros says:

    Cats can do a lot for your psyche. I got seven of ’em.

    Did I just say 7?

    Yeah. The oldest is the dearest who sits on my lap and lays on my stomach when I am in bed. I swear she meditates with me. I also feed her first and ensure none of the much bigger cats eat the food before her.
    My son had moved in with me some five years ago. He “adopted” three cats, all males. One got out, and we finally got him back after being outdoors for the better two seasons. I believe he got PTSD because he doesn’t get along with any other cats except for the older one.

    Then my son got married and they brought their female cat who had a son who had sex with his mom who gave birth to another female cat. (The little one is called “skunk” because of the coloring. She’s the second favorite and chases ghosts just like your new family member.

    What a great name – Miska. Truly a gift from God.
    I can see why the Egyptians adored them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • wolfshades says:

      (So weird. I can’t apparently “like” any comments when using Safari, but no problem using Firefox). ANYWAY….

      7! Wow, man. Sounds like heaven to me, despite all the extra work and expenses involved. One of my daughter’s kitties used to go on “walkabouts” from time to time, often spending a week or two away from home. She was at her wits’ end with worry every time. I can’t even imagine a cat going two whole seasons away, like your cat did. I’m guessing you went a lot of stress when that happened too.

      Thanks for your comment on the name choice. It felt serendipitous to me when I found out the name’s meaning. And frankly. “Gift from God” fit perfectly. : )

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to be honest, I am not a cat person. I prefer dogs for sure. But I am a person who loves a great story and a happy ending and wonderfully successful relationship! I’m so happy you have found your best bud, and Mishka found you. I’m told that both cats and dogs choose you not the other way around so… clearly, Mishka needed you too.

    Stay beautiful my friend. I’m so happy you included a pic of yourself looking fantastic and in joy! That smile says everything!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. C says:

    I found you via the quote on criminal minds.
    23rd seems to crop up with you as it does me. Strange. I also have cats. All rescues.

    Liked by 1 person

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