“I shall never forget my first SAVE, the smell of death, the look of fear and sadness in their eyes, their cries will haunt me till my dying day. I feel I let them down.”

Vegan quote

“It’s crazy that trying to be better tomorrow, we have to carry such a burden.”

Vegan quote

Depression

The vegan diet has often been associated with depression. This is true, and there is a high rate of depression in vegans. However, it is clear this is not from the diet: it has been shown how healthy a plant-based diet can be. Depression is coming from the emotional pain of knowing and seeing animal suffering. It is like a form of empathy that many do not seem to share. This can lead to a feeling of aloneness and much of the pain we feel comes from the belief that nothing is being done to end animal suffering. This can lead to a full dip in emotional well-being and potential depression; this depression is very real and can impact greatly on our lives. 

PTSD

Post-traumatic stress  

For some trying to end the suffering, the experiences can be traumatic, which can harm our emotional and mental well-being. These often include situations such as bearing witness, where the suffering of the viewed creature cannot be stopped. Two people could experience the same event, but the impact is not always identical. It is individual and defined as a person’s experience of a situation, not the experience itself. An event becomes PTSD when we are overwhelmed and cannot regulate ourselves as a result of the trauma.  

Mental exhaustion

The impact of continued attempts to end the suffering can sometimes become too much. We see people experiencing mental exhaustion from putting their all into bringing change with little or no rest, and they reach burnout. This can lead people to end all of their efforts to end suffering in order to try to escape the pain. This is why it is so important to consider our own mental and emotional health if we want to continue the fight. 

The need for support

The need for support can vary but having the option to receive support can impact our ability to cope and continue our lives. Many vegans trying to fight cruelty often prioritise their activism due to their focus being on those animals that suffer. Many feel that no human could ever feel like the animals do. But it is vital that mental and emotional strength is maintained if one wants to continue their fight. I feel that vegans who fight for the animals are more likely to accept support when they know that it will also benefit the animals we desperately want to help.