Updates, and I’m on Instagram now!

Hi everyone, sorry it has been a looooonnnng time since I have posted on here. But, I am going to update you all on Nikki. Nikki has been doing great with her training, she has been learning many tasks and is super smart. I mean she can learn a task in two days, I think it’s the border collie in her, lol.

I am now off of medication (yay!) I’m going to see how well I can without being on it for a while with Nikki. Also Nikki will eventually be starting public access training with our awesome dog trainer, who I really like. She is so kind, patient, and really teaches well. 🙂

I also am on Instagram now! Please follow me @helper_dog_nikki

I hope everyone is doing well, and I apologize for the lack of posts. I’m trying to brainstorm some posts to do in the next few weeks for you all. Have a great week!!

 

Love~ Makayla and Nikki, service dog team.

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My struggle with unspecified anxiety disorder.

A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with unspecified anxiety disorder. The reason that I was diagnosed with this disorder is because my anxiety is very complicated. I have anxiety in social situations, Obsessive- compulsive like behaviors (worry, constant checking, routines, etc.), and I have panic attacks. I did not fit into the criteria for any anxiety disorder, so I was diagnosed with “unspecified” anxiety disorder.

My new SDiT (Service dog in training), Nikki can help me with my panic attacks. She can either do DPT with a treat offered or snuggle with me (which isn’t a task, but DPT is). This helps me when I am having a hard time with my anxiety or panic attacks. She is working on other tasks such as grounding, block, and cover. We haven’t gotten to anxiety alert and guide to exit yet.

Today has been sort of a hard day. Yesterday I had an emotional breakdown, and I was really struggling with my social anxiety

  • At doctor’s office:

Oh my gosh, my heart is pounding. I wish it would stop. Every muscle is tightening in my body, why am I feeling this way? This isn’t scary! I will be ok! Ugh, come on body! Calm down! Ugh, I hate this feeling.

  •  Walked into bathroom when they were waiting for the floor to dry on accident:

Oh my gosh! Why did I do that! I bet a lot of people saw that! What are they going to think of me? I bet they are going to think that I am so stupid. I wish I wasn’t so stupid!

  •  After reading upsetting text about a mistake a made:

(Crying on bed and snuggling with Nikki) Ugh, why did I do that! Social communication is so complicated, I’m always getting things wrong. I don’t want to communicate anymore, it’s too complicated. Why should I communicate when I’m just going to make mistakes and fail? What if the person is mad at me? What if the person mentions my mistake in front of others? Maybe I should stay home, so that I don’t cry in front of everyone or make a mistake.

 That is a peek inside my brain. I also have had my Zoloft increased to 50 mg, because the 25 mg was not working for my social anxiety. My doctor recommended increasing it to see if it will help in addition to Nikki. I haven’t felt a lot of side effects, except for feeling a bit shaky. I’m tired too, but they may have been because I had an emotional breakdown earlier today.

Sometimes I wish it wasn’t like this. I don’t know if it will ever get better or not. This is the  struggle I have with unspecified anxiety disorder.

 

I would like to get a service dog, here’s why

Lately I have been wanting my own service dog. I would like to get a puppy, and train it to be a service dog. So, why do I want a service dog? Well, I love dogs. I have always loved dogs since I was very small. I used to collect stuffed dogs, from poodles to Chihuahua’s.  I also work with a dog in a small dog club. I like doing rally courses and showmanship. It is fun, and challenges me to use problem solving when my dog doesn’t do something right or if I make a mistake.

I also like dogs because they are very calming to me. Petting a dog can make me feel a lot calmer. In my last vaulting performance, I had the opportunity to snuggle with an adorable Sussex spaniel puppy. His fur was super soft and I loved stroking his fur and holding him in my lap. I felt calmer as I stroked the puppy’s fur and my sensory processing seemed to be less noticeable, as I often hear every sound and sometimes get overwhelmed by sound.

I also have anxiety/panic attacks. Although I do not know if I am truly having panic attacks, but I do have symptoms including tight chest, sweaty palms, increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, shakiness, stomachache, burning in stomach and chest, tinging in hands, arms, legs, and feet, and sometimes difficulty breathing easily. All of these symptoms do not happen with each attack either, sometimes they are combined, and sometimes they are not.

These can make me feel very uncomfortable. One I had made me feel like I was dying, because my chest was so tight, and my stomach was hurting, and my heart rate was up. I felt like my whole body was going crazy on the inside. I can act pretty normal on the outside, even though on the inside my body is going nuts with anxiety.

Service dogs can help with anxiety by doing anxiety alerts, DPT (deep pressure therapy), guiding to an exit, getting help, etc. Service dogs can also help with autistic people with sensory processing difficulties and meltdowns. One autistic individual I read about found it easier to communicate to people with her service dog by her side.

I think a service dog would help me a lot. Although I am on Zoloft, It does not completely prevent anxiety/panic attacks. It has helped some, but it does not “cure” my anxiety. My mentor likes to think of medication as the foundation for working on your anxiety, if you have a firm foundation, then you can find it easier to work on your anxiety. I wasn’t put on medication for a long time, and even before going onto medication my therapist and I discussed whether or not it would be beneficial to me.

I hope someday that I can get a dog of my own to train as my own service dog. I know it would take a lot of time and effort, but I am willing to do that. I encourage anyone interested in a service dog to look into getting a service dog, or training one of their own. Service dogs are great dogs, they can help so many people with many different issues feel happier, safer, and more confident.

Anxiety and Autism, Prozac did not work for me

I have anxiety. I was put on Prozac (Fluoxetine) for my anxiety. My anxiety shows up in many different ways. I hate change, I am afraid of the dark, I have social anxiety, and I have obsessive compulsive behaviours. My compulsive behaviours include re-checking things constantly and making sure some things are correct, such as closing an open stair gate in the house. Sometimes I will get upsetting thoughts such as other family members getting hurt, or our barn catching on fire with my beloved horses inside of it.

Prozac did not work for me. This month I have had 6 anxiety attacks. My symptoms were shakiness, burning in chest and stomach, increased heart rate, tingling sensations, tight chest, and tight muscles. I also had suicidal thoughts from my anxiety and a huge meltdown. So yes, Prozac did not work for me. I was on Prozac for around 5 weeks.

My doctor decided to switch me to Zoloft. Zoloft is also a SSRI, but it is a little bit different than Prozac. I am starting out on a 25 mg dose to make sure I don’t react negatively to it. I am hoping the Zoloft will work with me. I will have to wait for four weeks to see if it works or not. Prozac didn’t work for me, but that does not mean that it cannot work for everyone. I know another family member who is on Prozac and is doing very well on it. Different individuals react differently to different types of medication.

Anxiety and Autism, it isn’t easy, but I will keep fighting.