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Blanket or not to blanket...

Discussion in 'Military & Emergency Services' started by Florian7051, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. Florian7051

    Florian7051 Well-Known Member

    That is the question... It has come apparently obvious to me that I'm not going to be able to hide my diagnosis much longer. As stated in another thread I was approved for a service dog because of several reasons (PTSD, anxiety, co-dependency, adverse physical problems with medications).

    My wife was an amateur photographer for a long while in the early years of my Marine Corps enlistment. As a matter of fact that's where pretty much all of my first deployment nest egg went to, but I digress. She still has it in her. She is always snapping pictures (and you know where they go... social media) It is only a matter of time before I get the dog, and after that it is only a matter of time before a picture of me and the dog make it to Facebook.

    There are so many Marine Corps (and other civilian) friends who have no idea that I suffer from PTSD, TBI, anxiety, and depression. I am sure I will lose some friends over coming out. I'm sure some will be overly supportive too. The question is do I write a blanket statement on Facebook coming out with my diagnosis or not? What are the pros and cons? If I do, do I do it now as a preemptive measure or do I wait until the last possible minute after a picture has been posted and then it looks like I'm back peddling to explain myself?

    I have lots of time to consider my options, but this has been weighing heavy on my mind. When I started my MEB I lost a lot of friends over coming out with my PTSD (I guess they weren't really friends to begin with). That point in my life was very painful emotionally; it drove me to isolation. I have to go through this again at some point. Is it one of those better sooner than later type things, or is it better to wait?

    I've played 2 scenarios in my head. 1) I could wait until the first picture of me and the dog hit Facebook and then come clean, or 2) I could write a blanket statement to all my friends saying that I just got approved entry into a service dog program and use that as an opener to come clean now.

    What do you think?
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  3. Still Standing

    Still Standing I'm a VIP

    I vote for the second choice. With this one you are the one in control of how to lay a foundation in such a way that the folks who know you will be able to adjust to the information. The first one is a shock approach. That one is not good and will elicit lots of questions, and disappointment that you kept this to yourself. Approach it as positively as possible. You might be surprise how they react. You might help others disclose their own PTSD. And the more positive you present this, the better. Yay! You are getting a dog! Celebrate it. Have a com-meet-the-dog party (if you can handle the stress of a gathering). This is a great time to educate everyone on the importance of PTSD dogs and how they add to your life. Remind them that PTSD is not uncommon among military people and this is a wonderful resource to have in order to live a better life. You are one of those who are blessed to have a dog come into your life as a partner. Don't hide it until the last minute. You take control of how you want to present your dog and personal information. Congrats on you new pooch! What a great blessing this is for you!
  4. EveHarrington

    EveHarrington _______ in progress. Premium Member

    I wouldn’t come out online.

    1....once it’s out there, it’s out there forever.

    2....Facebook privacy settings are notorious for failing, meaning everyone would be able to see it at some point

    3....Facebook doesn’t allow for personal interaction. You are putting something incredibly personal on a format that is incredibly impersonal. People will delete you in a heartbeat, no questions asked, instead of letting you explain.

    4....Your wife is a photographer. This makes it impossible to set a “no dog pic on Facebook” rule? If she’s that unsupportive, I’d keep the dog and boot the wife. PTSD concerns trump hobbies any day of the week. Nowadays everyone is an amateur photographer. It’s not an excuse for posting pics of you online that you don’t want.
    SaharaSon, OrangeJulius and Freida like this.
  5. Florian7051

    Florian7051 Well-Known Member

    I respect your opinion, but I'm not divorcing my wife of 11 years, because she's going to slip up and post a picture online... This isn't an intentional thing, this is a matter of inevitability. Just like when I told her not to post anything online when I started drinking again, but low and behold there was a picture at a family BBQ and there's a beer sitting next to me. She didn't do it intentionally it just sort of happened. Was I pissed about it? yes! Did I take it out on her? no! Why? because she didn't deserve it, it was an accident. The same thing is bound to happen sooner or later with the dog.

    And you joke about "everyone" being an amateur photographer, but my wife really was/is. She spent 10's of thousands of dollars on her "hobby" not "everyone" is that dedicated, I'm sorry. Did she get paid for it? no! That's why I said amateur. It was more than just a hobby to her though. It wasn't like "geese she just likes to take a lot of pictures"

    Anyway, I appreciate you laying out the cons for me. I really do. I will definitely take that into consideration. I would just say try to exercise a bit more compassion and understanding at least until you know the details of the story, or at least ask questions to try to find out.
  6. EveHarrington

    EveHarrington _______ in progress. Premium Member

    I was just trying to help. You asked for my opinion and I gave it. I replied based on what you said, nothing more, nothing less. And given your response with more information about your situation, my opinion stays the same. Please note that my response says what *I* would do. I’m not telling you what to do. If you don’t like what people have to say, just don’t take their advice. It’s as simple as that. We aren’t mind readers who will know what’s best for you. People just try to help, that’s all. I won’t try to help you in the future.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
    OrangeJulius and Freida like this.
  7. LilyRose

    LilyRose Well-Known Member

    i think option 2 is the best. you have control in this. you and people around you can adjust to it. by the time you get your dog, there are less suprises and stress about that.
    with option 1 you could get overwhelmed with questions and reply's from people when you should get used to your dog and bond with him/her. you don't need the extra stress from not knowing how people will react.
  8. digger

    digger I'll just have a P please, Bob Moderator Donated

    I think perhaps I'd go with something more low key, just like, with the first picture, 'me and my new service dog :)' or even just 'me and my new dog :)'

    Unless you want to go into more detail and use it as an opportunity to do so as an opener with people, I would just put it out there as something that is and don't make a bigger deal of it than that. If other people then choose to make a bigger deal out of it themselves then comes the time when you decide whether you want to engage with that or not?
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  9. Justmehere

    Justmehere Defying the odds Moderator Premium Member


    You don’t actually have to say anything if you don’t want to say anything.

    When people ask about my service dog, I tell them the dog is “there for a health condition.” If they press further, I tell them my medical info is private.

    I’ve been in many pictures online with the dog, and maybe people wonder. When close friends ask, sometimes I risk telling them, sometimes I don’t. I know quite a few service dog users, some veterans, some not. The vast majority show up in photos with their dogs and don’t issue a Facebook statement about it to explain the purpose of the dog. Some do, and they are usually quite excited and comfortable with educating the public on it...and they usually get a few stupid remarks now and then. As you have already experienced, stigma is real. Even if it’s deleted off FB, that info is out there and people take a diagnosis of PTSD all kinds of screwy ways.

    I generally follow this rule of thumb: if I wouldn’t want it on the front page of the paper, I don’t post it on Facebook.

    If you want to tell everyone on social media, then that’s cool too - but I’d strongly suggest waiting and giving it some time until after you have the dog and get used to life with the dog, and figure out what your comfort level is around people knowing the purpose of the dog. Then you can share if you want to share about the dog, but remember, you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

    Most everyone on social media are mostly thinking about themselves anyhow.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  10. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

    I don't have an answer-- but I can tell you what happened with me...

    I worked in a 911 center. Picture the most type A high strung people you can imagine, then add that one of their required skills is to dig up information on people and find out what they are trying to hide.

    No one knew I was being treated for PTSD because I couldn't face the reasons why. I don't know what I thought would happen but I couldn't face the risk of judgement. When I got approved for a service dog I was both happy and upset. Happy that he would help me get thru the day - upset that I had a living breathing symbol of how broken I was that would be with me everywhere. I REALLY struggled with that. I told my HR manager that I was going to be bringing him to work and we started the accommodation paperwork. Because they are the employer they can ask more intrusive questions - Like give us the reasons you need to have him here. Not why I have him - but how I am going to use him. What is his purpose in the workplace

    She was very supportive the entire way but I was the first dispatcher anywhere to bring a service dog to work. So she insisted that we jump thru every hoop she could find. Her reasoning was that anyone who came behind me and "claimed" service dog would have to go thru the same hoops and that would stop fake ones. We also discussed how i was going to introduce him to the employees. I knew they were going to want to know the whole story just because ..that's who they are. And I wasn't going to talk. So we decided to introduce him at an inservice attended by most of the staff and follow up with an email. I brought him in for the first time that day. She went to the front of the room and said "we have a service dog joining us -- Please understand you cannot talk to him or pet him. If you have any questions please direct them to me." And that was it.

    It didn't go over well. People were pretty much awful to me because they wanted to know why I had him. One co worker even told me.. "You should have been the one to say he was here and tell us why. You had no right to keep that information from us". Seriously. Over time people got used to him being around but the animosity didn't stop until several months later when I started letting him run around the room on Fridays with his vest off so people could pet him. Suddenly they didn't care as much why I had him.

    I posted some vague stuff on FB about his training process, or funny things he had done, but didn't make a big announcement or anything. Just one day there were photos of him on my feed. My thinking was if you were close enough to me to know he was coming and why - then I didn't need to announce it to you. As for the rest? They didn't need to know anything about me or him. If they asked questions I said Oh yea, that's my service dog. If they asked why I just ignored them. They usually didn't ask more than once

    As for friends? lost some - gained some. The ones I lost weren't worth keeping.

    It was a tough transition but a lot of it was because I hadn't made peace with the diagnosis yet. I still thought of it as I had failed, I was weak, blah blah. I still don't tell people my diagnosis but I'm more comfortable with the whole thing now. If people ask I tell them he is an alert dog and they will jump to their own conclusion. I just smile and move on

    hope that helps!
  11. OrangeJulius

    OrangeJulius Active Member Premium Member

    I agree with @Freida ! Neither!

    I don't have a service dog or PTSD but I am pretty private. I wouldn't do any announcement. The dog would just appear in his first photounpurposefully and that would be that. I would act like everyone knew I had a dog. Someone will inevitably say they didnt know I had a dog....I'd say yeah got him last month. He's great! Or if yoy wanted to tell them more you have that option. And honestly, if you didnt even answer any questions that wete posed....nobody would even notice....they will scroll and move on.

    IMHO, it will be much less dramatic than you're thinking for the average FB friend. But I'm sure there are a few specific nosy FB friends that you have in mind....in which case I could only answer thoughtfully if I knew more.
  12. Florian7051

    Florian7051 Well-Known Member

    The FB friends I'm worried about are the ones I deployed with. Granted we saw our fair share of action, but we weren't exactly kicking in doors and moving street to street either. I feel like I need to explain myself to them (because so many had it so much worse than I did) The thing is I have complex PTSD and a long laundry list of traumas; combat was only 1 of many that exasperated my condition. I feel like a fraud or like I don't rate because my worst traumas didn't come from combat. Don't get me wrong, combat definitely played a role in affecting my PTSD, and still does to this day, but my friends ONLY see what happened to me in combat. I'm afraid they are going to be like WTF??? What do you mean you have PTSD??? From what??? Then I have to explain myself (even though I know I don't). This is why I don't even talk to any of them anymore. I just happen to have a lot of them still on my FB page.
    blackemerald1 and scout86 like this.
  13. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

    oh I so get this!!!! They are just starting to recognize PTSD in dispatch but there is still a badge of honor in sucking it up and moving on. So yea, when I walked in with SD there was a lot of WTF?? And I'm not a combat vet - I just had a series of unfortunate events while I was in. So I worried about how my military friends on FB were going to deal because they have no idea of the backstory. I've also struggled quite a bit because I feel like a huge fraud sucking up resources that should go to combat vets and not stupid little girls who got into a few bad situations. (I'm getting better about that due largely to the people here..but still)

    If they aren't people that you are friends with in the real world you could just unfriend them. I did that with a few folks and it really solved many of the issues. If you want to offer an explanation you could just say it came from stuff other than combat, or after you got home.

    Or, ask yourself why you want to tell them. Are you defending yourself? Or are they people who truly care for you and you don't want to hide the truth from then because you want their support? There's a pretty big difference between the two.
    SaharaSon, blackemerald1 and scout86 like this.
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