I need some advice: Ok, so I’m very new... - Anxiety and Depre...

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I need some advice

silver_blue profile image

Ok, so I’m very new to this support group but I’m having very high hopes for it. I need some help with something real quick. I have been professionally diagnosed with 4 disorders: Binge Eating Disorder, ADD, Major Depressive Disorder, And Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I’m currently on two medications to help with my anxiety and my depression, however they aren’t magic and I still get hints of them constantly, if not daily. I’ve been considering getting a psychiatric service dog because of how bad my mental health can be.

My depression can get especially bad. I won’t leave my room for days, I’ll break out into fits of rage, I’ll ignore my personal hygiene and go days to even weeks without showering, brushing my teeth, washing my face, etc., I won’t care about my school work, I’ll skip my meds, I’ll neglect basic chores, and I could go on and on. I’m going to be 18 next year and I’m scared of living alone. My family usually are here to somewhat pull me out of it but they only make it worse in the end.

Anxiety can be pretty awful too. I have anxiety over the smallest things and it’s insane. I get anxiety attacks from swings moving, guitars being tuned, blinds moving, just being in a new place, and heaven forbid I got to a car wash because I’ll be shaking and one the verge of tears the whole time.

I want your opinion since I know all of you have mental disorders as well, and I want to know if I qualify for a psychiatric service animal or if I should only need an ESA.


6 Replies

Hello Blue!

I’m sorry to hear that you’re struggling with mental health symptoms. Welcome to this forum! The people here are helpful and nice!

I’m really not sure about the criteria for having a service dog. I’m sure that you would need a letter from your Doctor or other mental healthcare worker. How is a dog going to make you brush your teeth or take a shower? I’m not sure I follow your train of thought! Your symptoms don’t come across to me as emergencies. You’re young and hopefully, you can manage yourself. What can a service dog help you with? I might be missing something here...🐕

silver_blue profile image
silver_blue in reply to

I can see the confusion and am happy to answer your questions. I would primarily deal with the Emotional Overload aspect of psychiatric service dog tasks. Deep pressure therapy can help me to relax when my anxiety is too overwhelming. Distracting me when I get too overwhelmed is something that I’d also like the dog to be able to do. I’m honestly just skimming the surface of how bad my disorders can get, so there’s so much more that I didn’t include. There’s an article that lists all of the Emotional Overload Tasks by Joan Froling online so if you want to look at that you may. You absolutely do not have to if you don’t want to. I just am suggesting it so people can better understand why I’m asking if I qualify or not. It’s something I’ve been considering for months now and I’ve been doing all the research I can on it because it’s obviously not something to take lightly. I just want to get opinions and see if anyone else had a service dog for those needs.

b1b1b1 profile image
b1b1b1 in reply to silver_blue

Have you considered therapy? Your psychiatrist can probably answer your questions about an emotional support dog. If, however you have difficulty taking care of yourself, you may have difficulty taking care of a dog.

silver_blue profile image
silver_blue in reply to b1b1b1

I do got to therapy and I’ve brought it up to my therapist. She agrees that it’s a possibility but she’s just a psychologist so I have to make an appointment with a psychiatrist to get the letter. However, I just really want to do my research first before getting the letter. Because the thing is, is that my debilitating anxiety mostly happens when I’m outside of my house and ESA’s can’t legally go inside of stores or any public setting besides areas that allow pets (some people have said that as long as the dog is task trained or in training that I can bring them in buildings but others disagree so I have no clue what I can legally do). While I do tend to neglect my health, I am someone who puts others needs before mine. I have a cat that I take care of and my family has a dog that I also help care for. I’m not trying to in any way like trying to come off as I see service dogs as accessories or things like that. I feel like I could definitely benefit from having a dog that is task trained to help with my disorders. My biggest problem is that even if I have a task trained ESA, I don’t think I can legally bring them places where I usually get my anxiety attacks. However, like I’ve said before, I get mixed messages about if it’s legal or not from many different people

A few things...I did read the Joan Froling paper, but it's still not clear to me what tasks you would be expecting a service dog to perform in public locations. Most of the tasks she discusses are emergency medical type tasks, such as retrieving medications during severe panic attacks or paralysis, dialing 911, fetching a partner, neighbor, etc. What are the specific tasks you would like the animal to perform in a public space that would be beneficial? I'm asking because I'm truly curious. I've been a nurse for 16 years and I know how hard the animals are to come by, and many people live alone with life threatening conditions for years before they are able to get one. Perhaps an ESA would be able to perform the tasks you're seeking? I do understand how debilitating depression and anxiety can be, and of course don't know you're specific symptoms.

Second question, what kind of area do you live in? I just ask because I live in a mid size suburb, and in my area it's unlikely anyone would question the legitimacy of a service animal that was marked as such and behaved as such. So, if you had a really great ESA disguised as a service dog...you get my drift lol.

I have to say though, I really think you should take more time to think about getting a dog period. I am a dog lover, but I don't own dogs anymore bc I know that in my worst times I can't give them the proper care, exercise, and attention they deserve. I equate them to requiring about as much care as a 5 year old, so make sure you are ready to take on that responsibility. We have an untrained, half feral cat that found us and he is great at giving emotional support, minus walks, baths, chewing all my stuff and 10 potty trips outside everyday. 😂😂😂

Thank you for your feedback and I’ll take all you said into consideration

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