Dealing with anxiety triggered by gui... - Anxiety and Depre...

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Dealing with anxiety triggered by guilt and regret due to a decision


I'm new to the group. Has anyone in the group dealt with high anxiety triggered by guilt and regret over a decision you made? My anxiety is a result from euthanizing my beloved horse 2 months ago; he wasn't old or seriously injured.

In 2016 when he was 11 years old, he was diagnosed as insulin resistant (IR is similar to diabetes in adults) and x-rays showed the front hooves had degraded due to IR. Over the next 2 years, his diet was controlled for his IR condition and he received corrective shoeing on the 2 front hooves. Then in September 2018 he was reluctant to move and his gait became stiff; the vet said he would fail every flex test. He was very uncomfortable and was put on a painkiller. X-rays were taken and showed the 2 front hooves had degraded back to what they were in 2016 and now the 2 hind hooves had also degraded. Therapeutic farriery (corrective shoeing) would cost $2,500 over 6 months with an unknown prognosis and another $1600/year in regular shoeing cost now that all 4 hooves would need shoeing. I am retired on a fixed income. I had the 1st therapeutic farriery done. His movement improved a bit but he was uncomfortable and looked in pain. Based on the money involved and his pain I decided to have him put down. I thought I'd made the right decision. Now I can't stop 2nd guessing my decision and regret not continuing the therapeutic shoeing therapy. The guilt and regret have caused my anxiety to soar (I'm on low dose clonazepam), I'm on an anti-depressant plus Trazadone to sleep. I'm seeing a counsellor and she suggested Cognitive Behavioral Training (CBT). However, the constant rumination, guilt and regret over my decision cause high anxiety and depression and are debilitating. FYI, my pet loss support group has only dealt with euthanasia when the decision is clear-cut due to serious illness or age of dogs/cats. Can anyone in the group gone through a similar experience and can provide advice on how to deal with it?

15 Replies

Hi it sounds to me like you went far and above what many horse owners would do and I don't think you have anything to blame yourself for. If your lovely horse was in pain and/or distress then you did exactly the right thing as you couldn't leave him like that. You can only make a decision at the time so believe that yours was the right one and I am sure you did the best you could. Don't forget best is best regardless. x

Thank you for your kind support. I'm hoping that over time and with medication/counselling support the intensity of these feelings will diminish.

Sounds fairly clear cut to me - he was in pain and there was no certainty that further treatment would relieve it.

You made a humane, if difficult, decision not to prolong his suffering.

I respect that hugely.

If you had continued you may have been looking at him every day and wondering if you were being selfish keeping him alive and in pain.

He’s at peace now, hope you can find some peace of mind too


Thank you for your support. It's just hard since after owning a few horses in my past, he was my dream horse; we shared an emotional bond that I've never experienced in my 40 years around horses.

I think it is very difficult to know when to let a pet go. We want to wait, we don’t want to see them suffer, we agonize about the exact right timing as if we can predict the future. I also respect your courage. I think the bigger issue is that you trust yourself, that you know in your heart you did the right thing at the time and try not to second guess yourself. Allow yourself to grieve your beloved horse. He’s no longer in pain. You were a very good and responsible pet owner.

in reply to AuntBee

Thanks, Aunt Bee for your kind thoughts and support. He was such a sweet boy and I miss him very much.

I am a farmer. I have watched many cows suffer in pain. I felt sorry for their suffering. I know how you feel. Look at it like this. There are some things worse than death. In my heart, you did the right thing. You should have no guilt. If I were that horse I would thank you for your decision. No more suffering. Remember that horse because you loved it. Go on with life and live. You sound like a compassionate person. I am too. I would suggest telling yourself. You did the best thing. Letting go of the guilt is a plus for both you and the horse. Take care and be kind to you. I swear you did the right thing. Watching it suffer is far worse than death. That horse is not suffering and it is free from that.

Thank you so much for the support and kind words. Means a lot to me.

I noticed that you liked my responses about the chatlines. Would you ike to join 'Circle Of Friends 4'? You would become member #11....If you say yes, I'll add you right away!

in reply to JEG325

Yes, I would like to join, thanks for asking. Is there a special day/time or process I need to follow? Just not sure how I go about it. Thanks!

Nope, I just add your username and you're in. Of course you can only talk if you have someone else who's chatting back. I will add you immediately. I will send out a message of greeting to see if anyone else responds too. Watch for your chat light to light up. Tap it and you will see my conversation. Answer in the message box, lower right of your screen, hit send when you are finished. Okay?

It is a tragedy to loose someone we love deeply and grieving is never easy. I bet feeling that his life was in your hands is a scary feeling. But it seems you had made a responsible, yet difficult decision: let him suffer through an unknown future, or let him go knowing you gave him all you could? I believe euthanasia has a morale value, that is to respect one's life. I have two cats, and recently lost my parent's 18 y.o. one. My father did not want to put her down at any cost, so she suffered three terrible weeks over the summer. I wish he had been able to go over and beyond himself and let her go sooner...isn't it really hard to see someone we love suffer?

I feel you were responsible, not guilty.

And thanks for your kind words to me.

Yes, it was the most difficult decision I've had to make. Thanks, pianotime for your kind words and support.


B4andafter: Are you okay? Please reach out to me if you need support.....robertcass

What was his name?

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