I have done a lot of research on this topic and think I would benefit from a service dog. I have severe depression/anxiety. I am on some of the strongest medicine on the market that is newly released (and have tried about everything else) and still have night terrors, hallucinations, panic attacks, am unable to pay attention in class, unable to stay asleep/wake up, and frequently have meltdowns.
I am NOT trying to cheat the system, in fact, I am not going to even consider any of my own dogs (I have two already at home. I don't need an emotional support animal). I believe I would benefit from the following trained behaviors, and the reasons why I think they would help me are listed for most:
-Obsession redirection ...my hands are tore to pieces where I pick my fingers subconsciously. I don't realize I am doing it until I'm usually covered in blood.
- Tactile stimulation .... I am gradually falling behind in classes because I obsess with thoughts and can zone out for hours at a time and an earthquake could occur and I am unlikely to notice (we believe this is a side effect from my medication and not my disease, regardless, it's hard to live with).
-Crowd Control assistance... I am very easy to startle and often break down and uncontrollably shake even when people just jokingly make sudden movements towards me. The dog can stand in a way that maximizes a distance between me and other people. (NOT in an aggressive way or anything, just more of a deterrent for people from startling me.)
-Arousal from disassociate spells... much like the tactile stimulation, the dog can be trained to respond to a sound that can go off at certain times (such as for class) that the dog then alerts the partner to, even if the partner is asleep or out of zone mentally. (Both something I struggle with)
-Fear Management... Not technically something that is trained so it would not be a true task, but a large dog can be reassuring that can set some fears at ease since it is less likely for someone to try and hurt you with the dog. This would just be a side bonus, such as being able to cuddle with it at night when having a bad day, or playing fetch to take a break.
So obviously I have thought a lot about this, but I become SILENT at the doctors. I'm afraid no one will support this decision. My mom goes with me because I have such severe anxiety I can hardly speak up about anything. I'm afraid my mother/the doctor will think I'm being dramatic and overplaying my condition. (this is the kind of thing most of my family accuses me of and I have believed them over the years). So anytime I even think about bringing up the subject, I nearly set myself into a meltdown (this was incredibly hard to write). Does anyone have any tips for me? Am I being dramatic and overplaying this? Please try to be nice in your responses. Thank you.