A Service Dog for Beth
My name is Beth. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia, Bipolar Disorder, and PTSD. A service dog would absolutely change my life.
I dream of going back to school for my masters degree, working in a nonprofit, traveling, spending time with friends and family, and engaging in hobbies and activities in the community. I’ve gotten precious glimpses of life beyond my diagnoses, but I’ve been unable to work consistently or participate in much for most of my adult life, as so much time and energy goes into managing my symptoms.
My disorders make it difficult for me to participate in daily life, maintain a healthy routine, take medications, meet my nutritional needs, and socialize with others. Leaving my house is a constant struggle. I dissociate, get disoriented, and frequently lose track of time. These things make following a routine or running errands (like grocery shopping) unmanageable. Extreme paranoia keeps me hyper-vigilant for potential threats whenever I am outside my home. Attempting to navigate the world in this state often triggers panic attacks and heightens my startle response, causing me to be easily unsettled by others or feel trapped in a store or my car. Outings are exhausting and I sometimes take days to overcome. Taking my two kids out is also greatly complicated by my symptoms: I often need another adult with us and am forced to keep our outings short. When in a building alone, I spend a lot of time peeking out windows, checking locks, or staying up late to “guard” the house. I often wake up in a panic or am startled awake by nightmares or am gripped by flashbacks and panic attacks that can last over an hour.
A service dog will help me manage my symptoms in so many ways. They can alert me to my rising anxiety sooner; help me come out of flashbacks, dissociative episodes, and panic attacks; alert me to the presence of others; search my home to reassure me that there are no intruders; bring me medication when I am frozen in place; guide me to a safe place when I get dizzy and disoriented; and so much more. They will help me maintain a routine and enable me to consistently take care of myself so that I can focus on healing my trauma and building a life that involves more than managing my health.
I had given up hope that my life could look different. It took me two years of hard work after learning how a service dog could help me believe I am worthy of a fuller life. I cannot put into words how much having a service dog as a partner means to me or how grateful I am for all donations towards my goal. Thank you for helping find independence and making a better future for myself possible.