*psych

“Asking the proper question is the central action of transformation - in fairy tales, in analysis, and in individuation. The key question causes germination of consciousness. The properly shaped question always emanates from an essential curiosity about what stands behind. Questions are the keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to swing open.”

- Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
http://amzn.to/1DT7REg

Image Credit: John Larriva

I remember the second time I was in the hospital, and every couple of days they would make everyone shower/brush their teeth/hair, and would take away our privileges if we didn’t.

and they wouldn’t fucking believe that I had showered because my hair was still *unkept* and so they made me shower TWO more times. fuck you this is just what my hair does! it always stands up that’s how it is. don’t fucking distrust me just because you don’t understand my body

People ask me why I have an assistance dog. 

‘Is he a guide dog?’

'Are you epileptic?’

'Oh look it’s a hearing dog…he’s so cute, I want to pat him, but I can’t’

'You don’t look sick, how does he help you?’

People think I can’t see. People think I can’t hear.

I can see, and hear, I hear what you say, I hear you muttering.

Toby, as an assistance dog he is as important in my ‘care plan/supports’ what ever you want to call it as, my psych, my meds, my family and friends. My psychiatrist has signed a form stating how an assistance dog will help me. I don’t take Toby everywhere with me for the hell of it. Do you know how hard it is to take a dog everywhere with you? I would love to be able to go out without him. People stare. People point. Children scream. People talk to the dog and ignore me.

You may be wondering what Toby is trained to do. He alerts and responds to my anxiety. He alerts and responds to my hallucinations, both audio and visual. He acts as a block and provides a buffer between me and people when it’s busy. He provides deep pressure therapy and will engage with me to distract me from panic. (by nudging, pawing, sitting on me or licking in extreme cases) Today he even alerted to me feeling dizzy… He alerted and wouldn’t stop until I sat down, then he jumped on me, started nudging and licking until the world stopped spinning and the stars went away.

I know the use of an assistance dog isn’t the ‘norm’. Especially for psych stuff, but…it works for me. Toby is legally classed as medical equipment. Before you ask me to go anywhere without Toby, let me ask you this;

Can you alert to my anxiety?

Can you alert to my hallucinations, both audio and visual?

Can respond to both of those things appropriately and subtly like he does?

No? Didn’t think so.

You wouldn’t ask someone to go out without their wheelchair/walking stick/oxygen tank/ guide dog. Please don’t ask me to come out without Toby.

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