Author Topic: Moving With Severe Anxiety and Depression  (Read 933 times)

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Offline aubidubi

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Moving With Severe Anxiety and Depression
« on: May 15, 2017, 11:43:35 AM »
So first off I'd like to apologize for this lengthily explanation, and I'd like to thank you for your time... I've been struggling with difficulties surrounding this for some time.

I have had severe anxiety my whole life. My mother, between relapses, was a psychiatrist who helped me with coping strategies since I was about 4 or 5. She experienced the same mental difficulties that I face, and knew that she had to protect me from "wondering thoughts," especially because I was acting impulsively on them. My mother, though she aided in my understanding of my mental state, contributed to my fears constantly. She was a drug addict, on and off, my whole life, and when I was 15, she relapsed and began using meth. Six months later, she had lost her job, we were being evicted from our home, my two year old brother was in foster care and my family members urged me to get emancipated. At sixteen I was living at friends houses, in cars, working full time at Chick-Fil-A and struggling to keep my grades in their perfect all A order. This is when I started to feel incredibly depressed. I began seeing many doctors, although my insurance NEVER covered any of them (I was spending $200+ JUST on monthly visits, and $100+ on monthly perception costs). I personally felt as though the doctors were just feeding me prescriptions that in no way, helped my anxiety or depression. I went from an A+ student without medication, but barely able to function, having panic attacks daily, and constantly sick from stress, to a healthy, functional, yet unmotivated, unresponsive lump in the couch. I graduated a year early, went off to college, and my grandparents, knowing that I would be alone, suggested that I get a dog. This is when everything started to change. I knew I wouldn't be able to afford college AND a psychiatrist so I began to wean myself off the medication, and put that money towards tuition. Once I put the down payment (including a pet deposit) on my first apartment (which I was able to afford due to financial aid, thank god!), I searched craigslist and found a farmer who's ranch dog had unexpectedly puppies. He was the only boy out of 14 puppies, and as soon as I met him my world lit up. I was no longer alone, I no longer felt distraught or disheartened by small, everyday setbacks. He looked at me with eyes full of unconditional love and gratitude, and caring for him everyday, training him to sit, stay, beg, lay down, it had so much more meaning that I would have ever imagined. I had someone to cuddle with at night and make me feel safe and loved in a word where I constantly felt undeserving. My grades began to rise again, I had a reason to wake up in the morning, and I had someone to alert me that I was panicking and needed to calm down... Even now, at 2 years old, he'll jump up from wherever he is when he hears my breathing sharpen and come to comfort me and make sure mommy's okay.
Well it's been two years without xanex, klonopin, SSRIs or seroquil, and I'll be moving to Hyde Park, New York to continue my college education. I am no longer seeing any kind of therapist or psychiatrist, as my insurance doesn't cover it and I cannot afford it. This poses another issue... I don't think I'll be able to afford a pet deposit on top of the already increased expenses that come with living in this area. I've researched a lot about emotional support animals, and the restrictions and regulations in place, and it states that I need a psychiatrists' letter to have him qualify as an emotional support animal. I feel that if I spend $200 for a psychiatrist visit, they will either want to see me for more sessions (they want more money) so that they can "truly" evaluate me, although I have extensive medical records and even documentation from time I've spent at mental rehabilitation centers, or they'll dismiss my claims all together. Another alternative would be to receive a letter from a doctor online, but I've read a lot about fraudulent letters, and I've read that some of these companies contribute to discrimination against people with ESAs, because they hand letters out like candy. I don't want to decide in between improving my education and providing/having my best friend provide for me, and I'm fearful that I'll have to make that decision due to financial instability.
Again, thank you so much for listening to my story. If you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to ask... I'm just trying to make sure that I won't have to sacrifice my other half for more "practical( :rolleyes:)" endeavors.

Offline Ariel

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Re: Moving With Severe Anxiety and Depression
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 01:07:23 PM »
Hi here. I can't do huge blocks of text very well most of the time but I think I got the gist of your post. Yes, all letters whether they're free and you print them off or you pay for them and some supposed psychiatrist somewhere in the world writes a letter for you, they're all fake, useless, and harmful. If you're not undergoing any current psychiatric treatment then you won't have anyone treating you for your psych conditions. You are correct in that an ethical psychiatrist is likely going to want to see you several times before writing a prescription or letter stating your disability related need for an ESA. If you cannot afford that, your only option that allows you to keep your dog I'd think would be to move to pet friendly housing.

I don't know how difficult or desirable that would be for you in your situation. If you have insurance or Medicaid I'd look into seeing what doctors will be willing to treat/oversee your mental health care treatment. It doesn't have to be a psychiatrist, but it needs to be a licensed professional (doctor, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, social worker, etc) who is treating you for your mental health conditions and psychiatric disability to write the letter for you. Good luck, I hope you can figure something out so you don't need to worry about moving with your dog.
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Moving With Severe Anxiety and Depression
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 01:56:52 PM »
ESA letters must come from a mental health professional who is treating you.  A landlord isn't obligated in any way because of a letter purchased over the internet by someone who is not treating you, so it's wasted money.

You get to make your own informed choices about the course that treatment takes.  If you don't want to take medication, you don't have to.  You could choose talk therapy with a LCSW instead (individual or group), which would also cost a lot less than seeing a psychiatrist.

Would you need to see them more than once?  Yes.  It needs to be someone who is treating you, who believes you are disabled by mental illness and wants you to have an ESA as part of their treatment plan for you.  But you could work out with them a schedule that you can manage.

Which will cost more, the pet deposit or the treatment?  I don't know.  You'd need to figure that out for yourself.  But I bet the treatment would do you a lot more good.  You said your mom helped you with coping skills and I'd wager there are some you haven't yet discovered since different therapists have different preferences in styles of treatment.  You'd have someone to independently help you keep track of your function, someone you could consult in a crisis.  And if, as you suspect, you're mostly in a holding pattern of maintenance, then you might only need to see them a handful of times a year, maybe once every other month, for example.  You can negotiate and work that out with them.

If you call your county's health department you might find there are sliding scale mental health services available in your area to make them more affordable.
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Offline EverConfused

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Re: Moving With Severe Anxiety and Depression
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2017, 02:59:02 PM »
your college might have free mental health services for students. that might be worth looking into if you haven't already. they might also be able to help connect you with low cost treatment options in the community.

i hope you're able to find treatment that's affordable and accessible for you. you deserve that support.
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Offline Poedog

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Re: Moving With Severe Anxiety and Depression
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2017, 04:55:33 PM »
First of all, I am SO sorry that you have been through so much. You should be so incredibly proud of yourself that you were able to graduate high school, go to college, etc. That is amazing.

Second of all, I agree with what EverConfused said. I am not sure exactly how you would do it logistically (if your grandparents/a friend was close enough to take your dog for a week or two until you could get a letter, if you could speak to the housing place, find pet friendly housing, etc.), but most colleges have free counseling sessions (even our 2 year tech school has them) and they should be able to write you the letter.

Best of luck, I hope you are able to figure it out and I hope you are so proud of how well you are doing.

Offline aubidubi

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Re: Moving With Severe Anxiety and Depression
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2017, 09:10:49 PM »
Thank you all so much for your helpful comments.
I was on CHIP before I turned 18, but once I was of legal age the state made it increasingly more difficult to receive benefits. I go to an online university, due to a horrible freshmen experience with a lot of panic attacks in classrooms with 300+ students and because I'm also working full time to afford insurance, car payments, utilities, rent, etc, I don't get enough financial aid to pay for that external support (although once I'm able to get into smaller classes my junior and senior years, enrolling full time will be possible)... My entire mother's side of the family is currently "assisting" my mother 300 miles from here... Just a bit of explination as to why I can't take my pup to be cared for by them/ why I can't be anymore of a burden on them. Thank you for your explanations! Before I move, i.e. have to transfer my insurance/ start paying higher utilities and rental prices, I'm going to have to seek a psychiatrist that I can trust, and that hopefully won't think I'm seeing them simply for an ESA letter (maybe I won't mention that on the first visit  :wink: ). I'm glad to know that I should stay away from any/all online sources! Thank you so much for saving me from their scams/enabling that market! Again, thank you so much for your time and patience!:smile:

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Moving With Severe Anxiety and Depression
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2017, 10:30:49 PM »
It doesn't have to be a psychiatrist.  If that's what you prefer, that's fine.  But lower cost options are just as legitimate for the purposes of an ESA letter.  Maybe you had someone specific in mind that you already trust who happens to be a psychiatrist or simply prefer working with a psychiatrist.  That's fine.  Just so you have full information though, it doesn't have to be from a psychiatrist (you mentioned cost being an issue).

The letter could be from pretty much any mental health care professional seeing you for mental illness, including your own general practitioner or primary care provider, nurse practitioner, licensed clinical social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist.  If it's a person who has a license that entitles them to treat people with mental illness and they're seeing/treating you, then they should be covered for writing you an ESA letter.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 10:32:35 PM by Kirsten »
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline EverConfused

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Re: Moving With Severe Anxiety and Depression
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2017, 10:51:16 PM »
i'm so sorry it has been so hard to access care. if you are moving to a new state, it might be worth seeing if you're eligible for medicaid or other low cost health insurance options in your new state. the options and eligibility requirements do vary quite a bit from state to state.

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