Not functioning without all of service dog’s tasks

littleoc

Sponsor
Hi, y’all ❤️

I’m struggling. My anxiety keeps bubbling up and I keep becoming suicidal and generally unwell. I’m struggling to get dressed, stay conscious, eat, go outside, or see things optimistically.

My service dog is becoming too old to help. I didn’t foresee becoming increasingly suicidal as a side effect of this. I didn’t realize how well she was keeping me okay, alive, and cared for.

I’m stuck in the house I was abused in. My mom’s behavior has not changed much. I do much better when I leave the house, unless my service dog isn’t there with me, offering security and grounding.

I have been having seizures and my service dog has only been able to help if im on the floor.

What do I do? I can’t stop believing I won’t make it past when she’s dies of old age, or imagining how much I’ll struggle to stay alive when she gets too old to help. I am blocking out the thoughts and trying to validate the fears, but I’m struggling.

Most of my mornings are starting out okay.

I feel incredibly stupid about this. I feel I should have learned by now how to live without my dog, and I have been practicing, but it ends badly. I’m not ready, and I hate that. I can’t bring in a puppy to this house. I can’t move out. Other people on this site have said that PTSD suffers with service dogs need to constantly be working to be free of needing a dog, and that psychiatrists hate people who rely on service dogs, and I really am trying. I am trying so hard but I end up... I want to say “failing.” It’s not even a distortion here, is it?

Can anyone offer words of support or something?

Sorry to be a downer. I’m struggling to be my normal optimistic self.

The last time I was this bad over and over like this was right before my service dog started accompanying me everywhere. I’m so scared of being that bad again. My quality of life was nothing. I had started starving from being unable to leave my home. And I wasn’t even living where I was constantly getting flashbacks. I went to a hospital eventually, continued to struggle until my dog was placed a with me.

I thought I had made enough progress. To the point that I could hide that I was having seizures. (I’m embarrassed about them.)

Any advice of literally any kind (including words of support) would help, I think.

Thank you ❤️
 

littleoc

Sponsor
Heres one thing I’m trying that’s I think is somewhat successful: trying to stay in contact with friends.

I’m feeling a lot of shame about my condition and have felt like I can’t talk to people’s because of it, which makes me feel isolated. But if I ignore that, trying to stay social isn’t a bad move, overall

I’ll try to think of more things. Venting like this can go ahead on the list though


Edit to add: I feel I have made a lot of progress, which is somehow worse, because it means that even with my progress I still am not normal without a dog. It’s a frustrating thought. I wish I could just get another dog.
 
Last edited:

RussellSue

Not Active
I have never had a service dog, so please understand if I am no help, at all. It sounds to me that some of what you are going through is a bit of grief, realizing that your dog isn't always going to be there for you. I imagine this is part of why reaching out to friends is helping.

I'm not sure what all your service dog does for you, but I do know a lot of people who have become very reliant on their smartphones as assistive technology with all the alarms, calendars, helpful apps and whatnot. I use mine to ensure I get my lunchtime meds every day and for EMDR.

Maybe if you made a list of the things that your dog is helping you with, you could start to work on one item at a time and begin to feel that you are making more progress toward being more independent and it might make you feel better about things. Some functions maybe your computer or phone could help with whereas others may be helped by different things.

One of the things that comes to mind to me is my weighted lap pad -- it helps a lot with my anxiety. I have found it too cumbersome to take places, but it helps a lot at home. I did buy a weighted belt and it seemed like it could be very helpful but I definitely looked as though I had developed quite a fat roll around my middle, so that's nothing something that is easy to hide, either. I also wear headphones, often -- big ones because they tend to keep people away and I prefer that when doing things like shopping. For me, exercise has been a godsend for depression and anxiety. I've finally reached a place where I look fit and that makes me feel safer, too.

Deep breathing is something I do a lot of, but you probably already do that. If not, it is very helpful.

Again, I don't know if any of that is useful, but it's what is coming to mind right now. I may think of more things later.

Best of luck to you! 🐳
 

Sideways

Moderator
Other people on this site have said that PTSD suffers with service dogs need to constantly be working to be free of needing a dog, and that psychiatrists hate people who rely on service dogs,
Bah humbug! Never heard a psychiatrist say this. They obviously don't get it.

I agree with @RussellSue that a lot of this is probably grief. Take a moment - you know deep down that this dog has been your best friend, constant companion, worked its lil arse off to help you when things are tough.

But the natural end to this doggo's life is inevitable, and it's okay. All the memories of the good things you've had between you, all the times doggo has made you smile or just plain breathe when nothing else could? Those will be immensely precious memories when this dog passes onto the next life.

And in time, when you're ready, you'll find a new companion. They share a different lifespan to us, but that's okay. Because this dog has known, every minute of its life, that it was loved by you, that it could trust you, depend on you the way you depended on it.

It's going to be sad. There's going to be grief. Grief is an emotion that signifies how important this creature's life has been to us, and that, all by itself? Is precious. In a life that started from immense trauma, this dog has shown you love, and that you are capable of having a loving relationship with another being.

And that? Is something that even this dog's passing will never take away. So cuddle up with doggo. Embrace that life has its ups and downs, joy and heartache. But overwhelmingly, with a dog by your side, you are capable of sharing love.

Sitting with you quietly as sadness washes over. Sitting with you when you remember the best of times, when doggo was a curious, energetic little pup that had no idea of the amazing bond and incredible life you would share together. Knowing that even as your dog ages, the love and trust between you is ageless.
 

Friday

Moderator
The last time I was this bad over and over like this was right before my service dog started accompanying me everywhere. I’m so scared of being that bad again. My quality of life was nothing. I had started starving from being unable to leave my home. And I wasn’t even living where I was constantly getting flashbacks. I went to a hospital eventually, continued to struggle until my dog was placed a with me.
Fear let’s you know something is a possibility.

So... knowing that it’s a possibility, what steps can you take to prevent that?

Ideal Version - New home, new dog, new income/support/structure

Likely Version -

Worst Case Scenario - You blink twice, realize your dog is 6 months gone, and you’re trapped starving at your moms as bad off as you were before or even worse >>> Inpatient hospital, rehab & home services, dog placement. ((IE exactly what you did, before)).

^^^ I left the likely version blank... because there are a helluva lot of different possibilities you CAN work towards, but whether or not you’re willing to, want to, or are able to? Is a different matter. As a case in point? ONE option would be booking yourself into a specialized trauma program right here & right now. Inpatient, rehab&home services, etc. I’m guessing that’s not something you’d be willing to do, as it would (probably?) mean leaving your dog during his last days. BUT??? Whilst that’s an option, it also gives you another plan of attack... Finding a trauma facility that will accept your service dog, along with you. If he’s got a couple years of life, just not working life, left in him? That might work out beautifully. If he’s got days/weeks/months, and a trauma placement would see you leaving on emergency vet runs twice a week? Not so much.

^^^ The likely version... is where to brainstorm, and where to act. Because, sure, the ideal version is lovely & the worst case is terrifying, but having those 2 bookends in place? It gives you a LOT of middle ground to start working with.

Similarly? Being honest is key. For the past 9 years... I could have had a really badass life IF I was willing to leave my son behind. I wasn’t willing to, so I’ve been existing in a kind of f*cked up limbo half life. Staying HERE? I know/knew meant being stalked, & harassed, & extremely limited in any kind of option for rebuilding my life / getting on top of symptoms (in the midst of ongoing & new trauma, with stress to my eyeballs). Priorities? Aren’t wrong. My priority was protecting my son; not rebuilding my own life. It means my life is utter rubbish. But I don’t regret that. Becuase it was the price for staying here. I regret some of the choices I’ve made DURING that time, but being unwilling to leave him isn’t one of them. If you’re unwilling to leave your dog? Or unwilling to leave your mom? Yes, there will be consequences for that. Some seen, some unforeseen (LMFAO Arrrrrgh. This? Is the first year I COULD have gotten on top of stuff. But? COVID. Thanks universe. Cheers. f*ck me.)

Being super honest about your priorities will let you plan actions to take, that you actually WILL take, when the time comes. As well as prepare for, in advance. (Like researching what facilities with doggo & without doggo). Ditto stuff with your mom.

The “likely” to happen section? Unlike best & worst case scenarios is usually quite complicated. It usually takes time to build/work through. Because Black & white is easy, and grey usually isn’t.
 

Freida

Sponsor
hat PTSD suffers with service dogs need to constantly be working to be free of needing a dog, and that psychiatrists hate people who rely on service dogs,
nope.
Not sure where you got that but I have never been told that by any t or shrinky dink. In fact, the VA (usually stuck in drugs only mode) has jumped on the ptsd dog bandwagon and is working on connecting vets with dogs.

More real thought? Grieving your dog because you see a life without her and how hard that is going to be.
But it doesn't mean the door is closed on getting another dog. Note - not a new dog. Your not replacing your girl. This will be just a different one.

You can train a dog on your own, so maybe you can take that as a challenge to keep you active? You don't need a puppy, an older dog from the pound can work just as well. Call your local humane society and tell them you are looking for one you can train - they should be able to help you find a young dog with the right temperament. Theirs lots of videos on youtube to help you train or maybe hire a private trainer (that's the route I went.) Plus it will get you out of the house and away from your mom for a bit

You won't be forgetting her.
You will be teaching a new dog as a way to honor her for showing you that a dog can be the answer to your prayer

Losing your girl is going to be horrible
But you will get thru it
We will help you
And a new pup will help you work towards a future as a way to honor her
 

Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
out. Other people on this site have said that PTSD suffers with service dogs need to constantly be working to be free of needing a dog, and that psychiatrists hate people who rely on service dogs, and I really am trying. I am trying so hard but I end up... I want to say “failing.” It’s not even a distortion here, is it?

I noticed some strong members posting, so I have full confidence you have had some wonderful support.
You mentioned above in your quote that PTSD sufferers may offer that “we” need to be free of our Service Dogs.
Insofar as other people’s opinions (including mine), treat it as ears: most everyone has them.

However not everyone has a service dog- which in my home State for PTSD- falls under the heading of a psychiatric service dog. Not a minimal commitment but a full onslaught red flag of a warning ⚠️ that this person is better served in the community with their trusty side kick. My dog comes with me to therapy... my T welcomes him in. I have a disability... an unseen at times complex disability and how I choose to deal healthily within my mental spectrum is endorsed by many associations, professionals, as well as other members or constituents within this disability.

You are not alone.

But please consider therapy if you’re not already in it as well as possibly suicide boards (because you are not alone in this either) to guide your ideation onto a neutral path if it continues to grow. The therapy will be awesome to help you mentally prepare to acquire another dog in which to be of service for your needs. I also have found therapy to be very helpful in navigating my suicide ideation. You are stronger than you know.
 

littleoc

Sponsor
Thank you all so much. You’ve helped me organize my thoughts so it’s logical again and not the anxiety taking over.

I did read most of these replies offline before I was willing to log back in to reply, but I really want y’all to know that you helped a lot. Especially with the word “grief.” I didn’t realize the panic I felt had anything to do with grief.

I’ll be back to give a more thorough reply later (I haven’t slept yet... ocd is getting to me this week) but I wanted to make sure I said thank you for the support. It means a lot ❤️
 

Hskermdic

New Here
Hi, y’all ❤️

I’m struggling. My anxiety keeps bubbling up and I keep becoming suicidal and generally unwell. I’m struggling to get dressed, stay conscious, eat, go outside, or see things optimistically.

My service dog is becoming too old to help. I didn’t foresee becoming increasingly suicidal as a side effect of this. I didn’t realize how well she was keeping me okay, alive, and cared for.

I’m stuck in the house I was abused in. My mom’s behavior has not changed much. I do much better when I leave the house, unless my service dog isn’t there with me, offering security and grounding.

I have been having seizures and my service dog has only been able to help if im on the floor.

What do I do? I can’t stop believing I won’t make it past when she’s dies of old age, or imagining how much I’ll struggle to stay alive when she gets too old to help. I am blocking out the thoughts and trying to validate the fears, but I’m struggling.

Most of my mornings are starting out okay.

I feel incredibly stupid about this. I feel I should have learned by now how to live without my dog, and I have been practicing, but it ends badly. I’m not ready, and I hate that. I can’t bring in a puppy to this house. I can’t move out. Other people on this site have said that PTSD suffers with service dogs need to constantly be working to be free of needing a dog, and that psychiatrists hate people who rely on service dogs, and I really am trying. I am trying so hard but I end up... I want to say “failing.” It’s not even a distortion here, is it?

Can anyone offer words of support or something?

Sorry to be a downer. I’m struggling to be my normal optimistic self.

The last time I was this bad over and over like this was right before my service dog started accompanying me everywhere. I’m so scared of being that bad again. My quality of life was nothing. I had started starving from being unable to leave my home. And I wasn’t even living where I was constantly getting flashbacks. I went to a hospital eventually, continued to struggle until my dog was placed a with me.

I thought I had made enough progress. To the point that I could hide that I was having seizures. (I’m embarrassed about them.)

Any advice of literally any kind (including words of support) would help, I think.

Thank you ❤️
I have a service dog and can't imagine living without her. I know the day will come when she needs to retire. If that time comes I will not hesitate to try to add a replacement Service Dog. I don't know if that helps but I think I can imagine a little of what it might be like to transition to not having a service dog.
 
Other people on this site have said that PTSD suffers with service dogs need to constantly be working to be free of needing a dog, and that psychiatrists hate people who rely on service dogs, and I really am trying. I am trying so hard but I end up... I want to say “failing.” It’s not even a distortion here, is it?

^Wow - I've not ever heard of this and I cannot understand the reasoning behind it tbh. So disregard those notions.

Hope you're doing okay atm @littleoc
 

littleoc

Sponsor
^Wow - I've not ever heard of this and I cannot understand the reasoning behind it tbh. So disregard those notions.

Hope you're doing okay atm @littleoc
Yeah, you're right. I was referring to a post on here a couple of years ago (which i won't fish out right now) saying that the point of a service dog for ptsd was to try to eventually not need one, and I totally internalized it and thought of myself as a failure for being unable to do things without her.

Thank you.

I've found I love this dog, in particular, dearly. I want to take care of her in old age and make sure she's got everything she needs. My family jokes I'm gonna marry her. It's difficult to imagine a transition, and seeing it as grief helps.

There's also just a panic of knowing that I'll be in serious danger because of my mother's choice, more than my own. My dog is going to have to retire before I can have a steady replacement. She needed me to pay her bills, and live in her house which is so hoarded that, even though it's much cleaner now, I feel uncomfortable having one dog in.

My goal is to move out, and apply for a program dog, because I struggled to train my current one. She is still lacking in a couple of ways, but she DOES get her job done and she's saved my life several times.

I hope I don't die waiting on my other dog -- that is my main concern. A bit bleak, so I have a safety plan. That leaves me fearing that I will cease to "improve" my life once I have no service dog, and that I'll have to lose some of my reputation as a good employee, etc.

I might have a new job now, but I hesitate to bring her to work with me. It's stressful. The working environment will be hectic and I dread trying to figure out and navigate my disability without her.

But, with a job, I can have the money for a program dog. The problem will be getting approved; how do I tell a new program that I don't currently have a good home for a new dog? They'd obviously pick another applicant...

Tough stuff. Am trying the plan thing, though. I am planning this out, a step at a time.
 
So I can only imagine. I too love my dog that much and push the idea of her not being in my life away whenever that notion creeps up and taps me softly on my shoulder. The reality is, I tell myself, she's a young healthy dog and it will be long time before I must face the prospect of her retiring or even worse. And believe it or not, but I've had relatives tell me that I should not be so attached to a dog because eventually I will lose her. They've said comments to that effect... like... ' I just hope she doesn't break your heart'... blah !! I find that mentality hard to deal with because to get the most from my dog I must be all in. Not half way, not now and then but all of her, all of me, all of the time. So it means I am headed for a broken heart I guess.

For plans @littleoc - think about the bureaucracy and the number of documents, forms, referrals, letters etc etc that you'll have to get and who from. Start compiling those or at least contacting the people you'll need them from and letting them know what you'll need and when. That will take a lot of those stressors down a peg or too.

Don't immediately think you'll be passed over by another applicant. If moving out is a reality then plan on that happening and proceed with good faith.

Best of luck my friend and well done for caring for your mother, yourself and your dog!!
 
Top