Paws 4 Joanna



Hi there, my name is Joanna. I am a 22 year old university student studying psychology and gender studies. I am receiving the service dog to help me manage my epilepsy, complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), depression and severe anxiety.

Reading this may be surprising to some people who know me, as while I am an extroverted person, I tend to keep information about my past traumas and current struggles hidden. I worry more than I care to admit about other’s opinions and have, for as long as I remember, had a fear that if people found out what has happened they would think less of me or decide they no longer wanted to be around me. I know my friends and family would support me and stay by my side no matter what, and I am beginning to become more ok with who I am and all parts of myself, so here we go…

I was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2009 and since then have had two brain surgeries and a variety of medications in an attempt to manage seizures. While they have improved slightly I still experience unpredictable seizures that can be disruptive of everyday living and cause me to experience confusion and disorientation of my surroundings, dizziness and memory loss, among other symptoms. The seizures I have tend to be induced by stress, anxiety and lack of sleep, and because of this my episodes of anxiety, nightmares and flashbacks all are contributing factors. As a result of having PTSD, symptoms I have include nightmares and flashbacks, dissociation, panic attacks, hypervigilance, and being triggered by a variety of stimuli. I experience heightened anxiety in crowds of people and in dark spaces, am easily startled, and experience debilitating episodes of anxiety. As a result, daily living is an ongoing challenge.

The service dog I am going to receive will have a huge impact on managing these daily challenges. Having a companion with me everywhere will help to reduce my anxiety and keep me grounded, and redirect my thoughts to cope with episodes of panic attacks and flashbacks. These reductions in stress will in turn help to reduce the number and severity of seizures that I am having. It will also be a comfort knowing that the dog will be able to help me safely manage them.

With the support of my family, friends, and my new furry companion, I hope to eventually become a psychotherapist, focusing on trauma. I hope to share the coping strategies I have been learning over the past number of years, and assist others with their own journey.

Kingston 4 Paws is a phenomenal organization and I will always be grateful for this opportunity they are giving me. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please consider making a charitable donation to this organization on my page. Each service dog costs the organization $20,000 to $25,000, and any amount would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your generous support. Please provide the requested information so that Kingston 4 Paws can process your donation.










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