Thursday, January 6, 2011

Service animals and hidden dis-abilities

This is an issue that i have been doing a great deal of reading up on recently and to be honest getting more than a bit ticked off with the government. People with hidden dis-abilities frequently get hassled about having their animals with them now. once this change in the law goes into effect I know people who will be totally home bound. I have always used rescued cats as my service animal. I train them myself or maybe they watch and train me or maybe we train each other. With a cat you can never be sure. I don't take my cat every where with me and to be honest the reason I take him when I visit family is because he is very high energy and without me there to keep him occupied he pulls my decor off the walls to play with the nails and pushpins. He also has a bit of separation anxiety being that someone dumped him in my cousin's truck at a work site when he was barely weaned. He is also only 7 months old so is still a kitten. My animal helps with PTSD and dissociative symptoms as well as alerting me to needing to take meds in the evening at a reasonable hour so I sleep at night, prompts me to eat and to drink. When I am around people they can help me with those things but when alone I forget those things more often than not. With dissociation and getting grounded I can honestly say I have found cats easier to train than people.
I have one friend who also has several hidden dis-abilities and she is on her third cat. She has to travel with the cat but does to need to bring him inside unless it is overnight, she is in particularly bad mental shape, or she is at high risk for exposure to an sunlight. Among other things she has an extreme sensitivity to sunlight which, not only causes her to start blistering after only about 30 seconds of exposure,it causes her to lose consciousness after 20 minutes. She has no family of friends in the state she now lives in and has been refused services multiple times due to the DSS decided she was just malingering. She provided them with documentation from all her past drs., documentation from present docs, hospital records from the time prior to her moving there and she is on SSD and has been given the designation of permanently disabled not expected to recover. Social security does not just hand out that designation. But it means nothing in the new state's DSS since they have decided she is just faking. They have even gone so far as to put false information into the electronic records that make her out to be a violent fraud. Her cat alerts her to the sun's movements. Forces her to move if the sun is getting too close, cues her to go get her mail when the sun goes down, and many many other things including his most recent trick which is opening the front door to let himself back in so she does not get even that tiny bit of sun.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Starting the new year right

My apologies for being MIA for a the last two weeks. Unfortunately I forgot myself and allowed another to make me feel I was a bad person. worthless. unlovable. I think we've all felt that way at some point and often it has been someone we cared about who put us in that place. A guy put me there but this morning I was flipping through my CDs looking for something to play and I found my copy of the Eurythmics that has the song about walking out the door of some guy who doesn't think she will actually leave him. Can't remember the name right now. In my 20s.... pre-TBI (Traumatic brain injury) my mom used to say that was my theme song. If a guy didn't treat me right I walked. I did it more than once from relationships where the guy thought I should be a doormat or be under his control.
Guess at this point I should admit I never dated before college really. was too busy... school, jr year exchange student to Norway, sr year spent doing 2 yrs. studies at once and taking chorus during my lunch period, vioce lessions, flute lessons, bass clarinet lessons, chorus, band, concerts, teaching myself multiple instruments, practice for lessone before school, during my lunch period, folk group at church and the list goes on. I did a lot and didn't really have time plus I was extremely shy. Once I got to college I didn't date anywhere near the number of people the campus gossips had me connected with but that was when I had my first relationships and I was the one who walked everytime... even the times I let the guy think he was the who had the idea of breaking up.
In the last 20 years I'm had a few relationships and I have walked from a few of them but more I have put up with bad treatment because my sense of self worth has fallen with each new hidden or not quite so hidden dis-ability I have developed or sustained. When you have a hidden dis-ability it is those who know you best who do the most damage to your self esteem and self image on top of what you do yourself. I've had to lose many friends over the years for self protection because they couldn't handle the changes but the damage I have done to myself is among the hardest to heal. I have more than one hidden dis-ability and with each there have come new losses of abilities. Losing abilities that defined you in many ways is very difficult to get past. You lose your sense of self when all the things that have defined you disappear like smoke.
BUT.... this morning I woke up and looked for some music to put on. the first CD I stopped on had the song "Would I lie to you?" by the Eurythmics. That song reminded me of who I really am under all the other "stuff".
Maybe I can't remember how to make change any more but I am still a great person who has a lot to give and  I am not going to allow anyone to take that away from me.I'm done trying to get him to see I am still the same person he knew, trying to get him to understand anything. If he can't see that I am a great person and have a lot to give it is his loss so This year I am starting out with the affirmation:
I am a great person with a lot to give and I don't need people who can't see that in my life.