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Discussion Starter #1
So, I've been thinking about having my dog become an ESA. I've done some reading on them and know what they can do and such. I know that you need a letter from a mental health doctor over just registering them.

I have never been to a doctor about my mental health. I tend to keep just how bad it is a secret out of fear. I tend to not sleep at night, staying up until 4 am just so that I have a lesser chance of having an 'attack'. For me, an attack is shaking really badly, crying, and being absolutely terrified. If I'm not absolutely exhausted when I go to bed, I'm afraid of having one of these attacks. So I stay up until I feel I'm extremely exhausted and then go to bed. This leads to me sleeping in to 10 am to past 12 pm.

I've had similar things happen to me during the day when I still went to school. My body would shake, as would my voice, my chest would tighten to the point it was hard to breathe. But I always thought I was just afraid of presenting things in front of the class. Maybe that's still all it is. All I know is that they're very similar.

I've done reading about what I think it could be but I have never been taught ANYTHING about mental health so I'm practically going blind here. What I know is what I've read online and what I've been told by my sister. So I never know how accurate it is.

I have had other problems, though I think this is the more serious of them all. It hasn't happened too often. The first time it happened terrified me so much that I haven't been sleeping properly since, staying up late as I mentioned before. Since then I've been extremely careful to make sure it never happened again. The one night that I didn't exhaust myself was the same night that it happened for the second time.

So... would this qualify me for an ESA or something else? Is it actually nothing serious and I'm just over reacting somehow? Any information you guys could give would be extremely helpful.
 

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So, I've been thinking about having my dog become an ESA. I've done some reading on them and know what they can do and such. I know that you need a letter from a mental health doctor over just registering them.

I have never been to a doctor about my mental health. I tend to keep just how bad it is a secret out of fear. I tend to not sleep at night, staying up until 4 am just so that I have a lesser chance of having an 'attack'. For me, an attack is shaking really badly, crying, and being absolutely terrified. If I'm not absolutely exhausted when I go to bed, I'm afraid of having one of these attacks. So I stay up until I feel I'm extremely exhausted and then go to bed. This leads to me sleeping in to 10 am to past 12 pm.

I've had similar things happen to me during the day when I still went to school. My body would shake, as would my voice, my chest would tighten to the point it was hard to breathe. But I always thought I was just afraid of presenting things in front of the class. Maybe that's still all it is. All I know is that they're very similar.

I've done reading about what I think it could be but I have never been taught ANYTHING about mental health so I'm practically going blind here. What I know is what I've read online and what I've been told by my sister. So I never know how accurate it is.

I have had other problems, though I think this is the more serious of them all. It hasn't happened too often. The first time it happened terrified me so much that I haven't been sleeping properly since, staying up late as I mentioned before. Since then I've been extremely careful to make sure it never happened again. The one night that I didn't exhaust myself was the same night that it happened for the second time.

So... would this qualify me for an ESA or something else? Is it actually nothing serious and I'm just over reacting somehow? Any information you guys could give would be extremely helpful.
You need to see a doctor, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Do you have someone you trust who can organise a visit and go in with you? I find it helpful to take in a list of symptoms and a list of things I want explored like referrals to mental health professionals.

If your attacks are panic attacks then yes I could see you being eligible for and ESA but it's really up to your medical team and noone can diagnose you over the internet.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You need to see a doctor, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Do you have someone you trust who can organise a visit and go in with you? I find it helpful to take in a list of symptoms and a list of things I want explored like referrals to mental health professionals.

If your attacks are panic attacks then yes I could see you being eligible for and ESA but it's really up to your medical team and noone can diagnose you over the internet.
I know that no one can diagnose me over the internet. I was just hoping for some sort of insight. Thank you for responding so quickly. I know you're right but I can't shake that fear of not wanting anyone close to me to know. Thank you.
 

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I know that no one can diagnose me over the internet. I was just hoping for some sort of insight. Thank you for responding so quickly. I know you're right but I can't shake that fear of not wanting anyone close to me to know. Thank you.
Yep, I get ya. The anticipation is awful, my doctor was incredibly kind when I saw her about my issues. I wish you the same and if you need any help I'd be happy to do what I can.
 

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Yep, I get ya. The anticipation is awful, my doctor was incredibly kind when I saw her about my issues. I wish you the same and if you need any help I'd be happy to do what I can.
Thank you. I'm actually really tempted to take your advise and go to the doctor.
 

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I have pretty bad anxiety and I was afraid of seeing someone to take care of it... My doctor picked up on it right away and gave me a prescription and it's made a HUGE difference.
You should really talk to someone (and they're the only ones who can prescribe an ESA too).
 

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I can definitely empathize on having severe symptoms but not wanting to see anyone about it. Freshman year of college, I was hit by amplified mental health symptoms far beyond what I had ever experience before (severe depression, anxiety/panic attacks, paranoia, splashes of agoraphobia), which worsened into Sophmore year when they forced me to withdraw mid semester. I have spent the last four years finding ways to cope with and minimize those issues. I now use a mixture of medication and a psychiatric service dog in order to do so.

Seeing a mental health professional is always an important first step. Sometimes it can take a few tries to find the right person to work with, but eventually you will, and it *will* help. When mental health symptoms begin to delegate how you live your life, it's time to get a professional involved. Good mental health professionals are non-judgemental, gentle, and encouraging.

In terms of looking into an emotional support animal specifically, I think it's first important to clarify what you mean by emotional support animal. In the US (if that is where you are) ESAs have certain protections in housing and in flying, but handlers are not granted the public access rights that service dog handler have (i.e., they are not allowed in non-pet-friendly stores). If you are looking for a dog that would accompany you in public, that is a service dog and that dog would need to be specifically trained in appropriate public access behaviors as well as at least one task that directly mitigates your disability/ies. Keep in mind that in the US there is no registration requirement and no federal registration. Some states have voluntary registries, but aside from those there are no legitimate registries.

Also, unfortunately, there are less and less metal health professionals that are on board with writing letters for dogs these days, and they worry greatly about any liability. It can be difficult to find someone willing to meet *just* to write a letter of need for that reason and, really, using a service animal or ESA as the sole coping mechanism is a plan that often backfires if the animal gets sick or dies or needs to miss a day of work for any reason.

Seeing a mental health professional and working on building coping skills, unpacking issues surrounding symptoms, and finding the right pharmaceutical or herbal options is, far and away, the best think I did for myself.
 

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In terms of looking into an emotional support animal specifically, I think it's first important to clarify what you mean by emotional support animal. In the US (if that is where you are) ESAs have certain protections in housing and in flying, but handlers are not granted the public access rights that service dog handler have (i.e., they are not allowed in non-pet-friendly stores). If you are looking for a dog that would accompany you in public, that is a service dog and that dog would need to be specifically trained in appropriate public access behaviors as well as at least one task that directly mitigates your disability/ies. Keep in mind that in the US there is no registration requirement and no federal registration. Some states have voluntary registries, but aside from those there are no legitimate registries.
+10000.... It's refreshing when I see someone explain it so perfectly!
ADA and majority of state laws do not give ESA's the same rights as service dogs. ADA defines the need for a service dog as someone with a disability and someone that needs the dog to complete tasks to assist with that disability.

So if you are looking for an ESA, then that will be just for your benefit in your home. In regards to if you qualify... yes no maybe. I would say you're definitely a decent candidate, but I agree with everyone else in that you should seek a professional first.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can definitely empathize on having severe symptoms but not wanting to see anyone about it. Freshman year of college, I was hit by amplified mental health symptoms far beyond what I had ever experience before (severe depression, anxiety/panic attacks, paranoia, splashes of agoraphobia), which worsened into Sophmore year when they forced me to withdraw mid semester. I have spent the last four years finding ways to cope with and minimize those issues. I now use a mixture of medication and a psychiatric service dog in order to do so.

Seeing a mental health professional is always an important first step. Sometimes it can take a few tries to find the right person to work with, but eventually you will, and it *will* help. When mental health symptoms begin to delegate how you live your life, it's time to get a professional involved. Good mental health professionals are non-judgemental, gentle, and encouraging.

In terms of looking into an emotional support animal specifically, I think it's first important to clarify what you mean by emotional support animal. In the US (if that is where you are) ESAs have certain protections in housing and in flying, but handlers are not granted the public access rights that service dog handler have (i.e., they are not allowed in non-pet-friendly stores). If you are looking for a dog that would accompany you in public, that is a service dog and that dog would need to be specifically trained in appropriate public access behaviors as well as at least one task that directly mitigates your disability/ies. Keep in mind that in the US there is no registration requirement and no federal registration. Some states have voluntary registries, but aside from those there are no legitimate registries.

Also, unfortunately, there are less and less metal health professionals that are on board with writing letters for dogs these days, and they worry greatly about any liability. It can be difficult to find someone willing to meet *just* to write a letter of need for that reason and, really, using a service animal or ESA as the sole coping mechanism is a plan that often backfires if the animal gets sick or dies or needs to miss a day of work for any reason.

Seeing a mental health professional and working on building coping skills, unpacking issues surrounding symptoms, and finding the right pharmaceutical or herbal options is, far and away, the best think I did for myself.
I have researched ESAs and was aware that they cannot go into non pet friendly stores the way a service dog can. That's alright for me, as I'm alright when I'm in stores or otherwise. I live in Canada but I think the rules for ESAs are virtually the same. I have been doing better. I've found something that helps me and, since I've been working out every day, I haven't had an attack. I'm far from perfectly fine but I am getting better.

Thank you so much for telling me more about ESAs. I hope you're doing good as well.
 

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I live in Canada but I think the rules for ESAs are virtually the same.
Emotional Support Animals only exist in the US, in Canada they are simply pets and even with a letter prescribing an emotional support animal you are offered no protections under the law. If I knew your province I could link the housing laws for you, but service animals are the only animals we as disabled people have any protections to keep.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Emotional Support Animals only exist in the US, in Canada they are simply pets and even with a letter prescribing an emotional support animal you are offered no protections under the law. If I knew your province I could link the housing laws for you, but service animals are the only animals we as disabled people have any protections to keep.
Oh, thank you. I didn't know that. I must have been looking at US websites, as I didn't see it anywhere saying they weren't in Canada. Thank you.
 

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I understand the mistake, information on working animals for people with disabilities is more difficult to find if you are outside the US. Even if you are American the first results that come up on google are the registries or certifications which do not grant any legal protection. Then add that Americans seem to be the vocal kind, and that the world seems to keep an eye on them means that even if the website you were on was maintained by a Canadian the chances are they simply were uneducated because of the prevalence of the American information. It is a vicious and daunting cycle that service animal handlers like myself face on the daily basis, because even Canadian News agencies will quote American law for Canadian stories.

Sorry about the rant, I am just tired of this. I just wish that people would go to government run websites and search for the laws there instead of business websites or something ran by some random person.
 

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Sorry about the rant, I am just tired of this. I just wish that people would go to government run websites and search for the laws there instead of business websites or something ran by some random person.
You don't have to apologize. I understand how frustrating it must be.
 
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