Depression and my dog at a far distance
I'm planning on transferring in fall of 2016 as an undergraduate for psychology, specifically for behavioral neuroscience. There are 13 schools I'm planning to apply to, all of which are on the east or west coast, or very far north. I am an excellent student and with no intentions of sounding pompous, I am a prospect at schools including Johns Hopkins, Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley.
I, however, am also effected by clinical depression, severe anxiety and panic attacks, PTSD, SAD, and a host of similar disabilities.
My family doctor tried me on a dozen medicines before giving up and sending me to a psychiatrist. At the moment he has me on a few very strong medications that are having some undesired effects, so I've slowly cut back the dosages. The problems still occur pretty regularly if I'm not on the full dose.
I have found that by taking less medication and being around my dog more has dramatically helped. My dog, a 100lb deaf Great Dane, has become my best friend. She goes with me whenever possible, and when I start feeling the physical or emotional symptoms, I stop what I'm doing and just focus on her and giving her attention. I feel the weight coming off almost instantly, and within 20 minutes I'm okay to resume as I was before.
Going to any of those schools mentioned will mean the most I'd see my family and friends would be once, maybe twice, a year.
Doing well in school is extremely important to me amd my future goals, but I feel that going this far away, I won't be able to handle the problems without my dog.
She has been taken through all levels of obedience our local club offers, and responds perfectly to hand signs.
I'm thinking, because of the situation I'll be facing, of taking her to someone or someplace that could help her and I learn how to become an emotional support team. Then when I go 30 hours away, I'll still have something familiar, and the one thing that seems to help me.
I'm scared that this choice will interfere with the college experience. I am not a party going student, but I don't want to be treated like someone with a disability. I have a an autistic brother and its downright cruel how not only society, but the whole system treats him.
It also might mean limiting my school choices, as a dog as big as mine would be quite an addition to a small shared dorm room. It is also a lot more responsibility because she would still need to be fed, exercised, etc.frequently. I would be limited either way, but I'm not sure which is be better off doing: taking her or leaving her here.
Regardless, I plan on taking her somewhere to get certified so I can have the option.
I will be talking to my psychiatrist about this at my next appointment, but I was curious as to other people's opinions, even if you haven't been in the same situation.
She's my best friend, and with the bond we've formed, I know I'm hers.
Is there the possibility you could take an apartment instead of the dorms next year? (one that allows well-behaved animals, of course)?
Another option is to talk about getting your dog certified as a Companion Animal. It's not the same as the Seeing Eye Dog certification. There have been changes in the definition of medically certification for companion dogs, not only to provide assistance for physical disabilities, but for emotional companionship and mental well-being, as well. Explore this possibility.
Of course, talk to your school's student health center. They may have ideas, too. You are not the first student to deal with this, I bet.