It’s August and as most of my followers know, August is never a good month for me. I’ve debated what to write for a few days now. Do I write the nitty-gritty and personal so people see what it’s like, or do I sugar coat it so people don’t get upset reading it? I’ve decided to do a mix of both. I want to write a quick disclaimer first, I am working closely with my medical team and family so I am safe. I don’t want anyone to read this and worry about my safety. Secondly I will be talking about suicide so this is a trigger warning to some of my friends. And Third, per usual, I am not looking for sympathy, I am hoping to help others reach understanding. So here it goes.
Disclaimer: none of these photos have anything to do with this topic. It is just serious so I am breaking it up with cute photos of my dogs. Also, I am not saying all doctors or emergency personal are bad, I actually have many that I really like, I am just pointing out a flaw in the system when it comes to the treatment of some illnesses.
A few weeks ago, I posted Part one of discrimination and now it is time for the second part. I’ve already discussed the general types of discrimination service dog handlers face but this next part is more towards mental illnesses or other invisible illnesses and the discrimination we face in the healthcare system. When I first started this article, I felt wronged by the treatment I receive when I have medical emergencies. But I am starting to realize I am not alone.
Recently with everything happening, I have been getting a lot of questions regarding treatment and whether others should pursue their own service dog. I want to start by saying I am not a medical professional and do not feel comfortable advising others what is the best form of treatment for them. So instead I want to talk a little bit about the process I went though to decide on a service dog, re explain the difference between Service dogs, emotional support animals and therapy dogs and some pros and cons. I am hoping this will clear up some things about me and Bella as a team, try to help guide others on how to approach a doctor about this treatment. Be prepared for a longer blog.
With all the attention we have been getting lately, I’ve noticed a lot of myths surrounding service dogs floating around on the comments section of different articles. I’ve decided that I think it is time to post about a lot of myths and facts that surround service dogs, their handlers and the team its self. Education is one of the most important parts of reaching equality for service dog teams. Some of these will be kind of obvious and others will be new. I got some of these from other service dog teams. Keep in mind these are questions many teams have heard or come a cross during their time as a service team.
After 2 years of acknowledging my illness and a year and a half of writing about it I have become stuck. I’ve shared my story, I have been very open about my treatment and struggle and I have tried to speak out. I recently had to face just how difficult breaking the stigma of mental illness can be. That realization is frustrating and discouraging.
Disclaimer: Very long post
Some times I don’t think People really understand what it’s like to have a mental illness. Why would they? It’s complicated. When someone has an illness you can see or an illness that is talked about more, they because easier to understand. When someone we care about has a cold or the flu, we worry about him or her. Family will make sure they have soup or tea or medication or that they are drinking enough. Even people you don’t see or talk to often will ask you how you are feeling and tell you its okay to miss something if you have to.
I know I haven’t written in a long time. Part of that is because life happened and Part of that is because I didn’t feel like I had anything important to share at the time. But this weekend everything caught up with me from the past few months and it really struck a chord.
It’s no secret that for years I have struggled with severe depression and major anxiety and panic disorder among other things (don’t get me started on my headaches and how much that can mess up my psych treatment). For years I kept quiet about this. I felt ashamed.
Today I had my first “at home” productive day in probably 2 months. Which is why I finally feel I can write again. Since my last post I have tried finding inspiration and time but I would come up with writer’s block or be too tired to write. The thing is, between general life and life with a mental illness, I kind of got off track. I have tried writing thousands of times to explain the radio silence and could not do it. I literally have 22.5 started posts in a file on my computer. But finally, here is my explanation and what is going on. Hopefully after getting this out and getting through this I will be able to get back to writing the things people are interested in on this blog, after all I have 22 blog topics started, Ha!
So I have been trying to write recently but I have had a writer’s block. I feel like it use to be so easy to get random inspiration, sit down with my computer and Bam! new blog post. But lately I don’t know what to write. I’ve been dealing with some med changes and it seemed like every time I sat down to write I would get mad about the topic and end up writing a rant that I can’t post. I don’t like posting rants because I feel like that is not what this blog forum is for. I started this blog to share my journey of what it is like to be a service dog handler in today’s society. Looking back I have shared funny stories of ridiculous encounters, I have shared personal stories of my struggles and I have helped to inform others about Mental Health and Service Dogs. The only thing is, recently, I feel like I have less stories to share. I don’t run in to crazies as much as I use to or so I feel. Then I got to thinking about it, have other people really gotten better or have I changed?
You know that saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? What if you read that book and it becomes one of your favorites, but then the cover changes? Do you judge the book by its new cover or do you remember you like the content and continue reading it anyway? I feel like in a way, this is what has happened to my life. I went from being a regular “book” and then my cover changed (insert Bella).