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.