Right now, I just feel scared. Tense. Like someone is going to yell at me. I did so many things right today.
- I woke up on time to get my husband to work and keep the car.
- I got the car to the repair shop early and managed Dora in the crowded lobby.
- I went to the car rental place, answered the questions I could, completed the process, and brought the car home.
- I bought the yarn I’ve been meaning to get so that I can make a gift for a friend.
- I went to the post office at my husband’s request to pick up a package; it wasn’t there.
- I exercised for 40 minutes today, when I really haven’t put forth any effort since the winter started. (For me, <20 degrees Fahrenheit is too intense. I don’t have winter gear that’s actually good at preventing frostbite, and I have bad circulation all year round, so winters are tough enough without feeling my skin change texture after 5 minutes.)
- I went to the post office again, waited in line, showed them the tracking number, and asked them to check on it for me. (They found it!)
- I picked up my husband on time and we made it home safely.
That was all good. All of it. Moreover, Dora was in public, on duty, five different times today. That’s five places where strangers can:
- Talk to her instead of me while she’s supposed to be focusing
- Try to pet her
- Tell me that “it’s fine” when I ask them not to pet her
- Look at me strangely when I body block them and move her behind me so they can’t pet her when they try again after I’ve already told them no
- Ask me who I’m training her for
- Ask me if I know when I have to give her to the disabled person
- Ask me if she’s a therapy dog when her vest says “service dog” and we are in a place where therapy dogs don’t work (restaurants, repair shops, gas stations, banks, etc.)
- Ask me what she’s trained to do (which is simultaneously asking me to explain my disability to them despite us never having met before)
- Try to talk to me while I’m clearly talking to someone else, like the cashier or the government employee
- Continue trying to talk to me after I ignore their first comment (because I’m just trying to move things along for me, the paid employee in front of me, and everyone in line behind me)
- Tell me that I’m going to rip her throat open with her collar if I’m not careful (yeah, that was a fun day)
- Ask me if she’s necessary for a medical purpose and then keep hounding me when I say “yes” because they totally think I’m lying
- Make an offhanded remark about how ‘they should have put up a sign’ (which will presumably say “No service animals allowed here. Go ahead and sue us. We dare you.”)
- Backtrack when they finally understand that she’s a service dog and that’s what I meant when I said that I need her for a medical reason
… I’m sure there’s more, but honestly, I’m tired of thinking up things that have happened to me in the last calendar year. For someone who already had social anxiety, believed she was a toxin that drained life from those around her, believed she was invisible, etc., it’s really been overwhelming.
So… what do I feel guilty about?
Staying home tonight, taking a bubble bath, and trying to relax. I chose to do that because I realized that I was staring blankly into space and once my eyes stop focusing, things only go downhill. Going out in public (again) may have pushed me into a meltdown. Better to take care of myself, right?
So why do I feel so guilty for NOT GOING? No one is blaming me! Why won’t my muscles release? Why can’t I breathe normally or just believe that I’m done for the day? I’m so tired.