Monday, June 4, 2012

Recovery on the Road: 10,000 Mile Checkup

Six months ago my psychiatric service dog Maeve, my cat Sibol, and I set out on the road in our new home, the Maevemobile.  The goal was to advance my recovery and to support my mission of fighting stigma and getting the word out about the rights of people with psychiatric disabilities to have emotional support animals and service dogs under federal law -- and do both within the limits of my monthly social security check (see my Tour Page). Now, after 6 months and 10,000 miles, it's time to take stock.  

  • My mission has been advanced 
  • My mental health is noticeably improved
  • My physical health has changed but is neither dramatically better nor worse
  • My fiscal health is improving
  • No public speaking done during this maiden trip. Instead I focused on my writing skills.
  • Wrote and submitted two proposals (on time!) and recruited co-presenters for presentations at national mental health conferences 
  • Significant increase in network (including becoming active on Google+)
  • Gathered much useful personal experience in acceptance of psychiatric service dogs in public accommodations throughout the country (see Maeve's Business Honor Roll)
  • Continued to help individuals who contacted me about getting  or keeping emotional support animals or service dogs (see Contact Us page)
  • Spoke to many individuals in the states I visited
  • Educated personnel at many businesses and federal employees/volunteers at national parks, monuments, and forests
Mental Health:
  • No depressions severe enough to impact basic life functioning more than a day or so (improvement)
  • No hypomanic episodes that caused regrettable behavior or severe discomfort (improvement)
  • No suicidal ideation (BIG improvement)
  • Temporary increase in PTSD symptoms (unrelated to travel, see note at bottom of post)
  • Other anxiety symptoms not significantly increased or decreased
  • Ability to function while suffering anxiety increased
  • Cognitive ability significantly increased
    • ability to write improved
    • memory improved
  • Increased ability to tolerate stress
Physical Health:
  • Skin is in noticeably better condition
  • Migraines slightly worse (elevation changes may be a migraine trigger for me)
  • Irritable bowel symptoms that had been in remission were experienced intermittently (I wasn't consistent in my healthy eating plan)
  • Chronic neuropathic pain attacks are much less frequent
  • Very significant drop in spending (excluding one-time purchases for van)
  • Some months (in which there were no one-time purchases for van) were only half my previous monthly average
Note: increase in PTSD symptoms was due to exposure to a trigger while helping my mother recover from an injury that required hospitalization, and in- and out-patient rehab treatment.

Joanne Shortell, Maeve's Service Human
call us using "call Maeve and Joanne" at

Joanne Shortell, Maeve's Service Human We would LOVE to speak to your group free of charge

Joanne and Maeve (her psychiatric service poodle) help people with psychiatric disabilities discover their rights to emotional support animals in no-pets housing without pet deposits or pet fees and their rights to service dogs

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