My anxiety is frustrating. My anxiety is frustrating because it doesn’t look like anxiety. It doesn’t look like teary eyes or huddling in the corner. My anxiety doesn’t look like your definition. Instead, my anxiety is my lack of ability to breathe. It is the migraine that starts at the nape of my neck and grows up to the top of my skull. It’s my heart beating so fast that I fear it might burst from my chest. It’s dreams that portray an entire workday. And you tell me that I don’t have a disability. You tell me that I have no need for an “emotional support animal” because I am a functioning human being who is just looking to get out of paying extra rent. What could a dog honestly do to help? Nevermind that when my thoughts spiral out of control the scent of her soft head is the only thing that steadies me. That when I want nothing more than to bundle up and hide inside forever, she convinces me to get outside and walk. She teaches me to stop and smell the flowers (and the dirt, and the grass, and the rocks).
And I’m 23. I’m a new graduate and I am trying to make a living for myself. And now I have anxiety medicine to buy. A small white pill that I’ve been taking for over a year and see no end in sight. Do you think that I enjoy relying on medication? Do you think I like the look the pharmacist gives me when they ask if I have any questions? I don’t. And I am taking every step possible to find a solution. Yoga, exercise, a healthy diet, journaling… I even changed my entire career because my dream job was too stressful.
I understand that there is a fine line when it comes to emotional support animals. Believe me, in my line of business working in the apartment industry, I know there are individuals who choose to abuse this right. But when a girl sits down in front of you and she’s scared and she asks for your help; take a moment to actually listen to her. Don’t just assume that she’s trying to save a few bucks on rent. Don’t just assume that she’s being dramatic. Listen to her and understand that it took an insane amount of courage to confess the way she is feeling. She is not crazy; she is just looking for a little bit of help.