TESTIMONY BY PATTI & PTSD SERVICE DOG TIAA
When I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 2005, I had no idea what it was. But my health, my social life, anxiety, everything, were all in decline. I had no idea how to function at that point – and I’m normally a high-functioning type A personality.
The doctor said, ‘You have PTSD,’ and I said, ‘I haven’t even been to war.’ The doctor told me, ‘Yeah, you’ve been to war. As a member of the RCMP, every day when you strapped on that gun belt, you went to war.’
For me, PTSD manifested itself in social isolation, a lack of self-care and my thought process. For most people the thought process begins at one point and ends at another. With me, my thoughts get broken up all along the way and get lost. When that happens, I just sit, turn inwards and do nothing.
So much changed when I was given Tiaa. If I sit still, go inward and do nothing, she will come along, nudge me and puts her head on me. And I have to take her out for a walk or get food. I can’t go out and meet people in the park if I’m wearing my pajamas, haven’t had a shower or dressed properly. I’m going out just for her, not for myself. But it’s begun to become my purpose.
Now, for every breath I take outdoors, I want two. For every lap I do around the park, I can’t wait to do another.
The medication prescribed for my PTSD doesn’t do anything for me. It’s Tiaa that’s my medication now and it really works.
The other thing is the other veterans I trained with have become my family. We all know that we have PTSD, we all cry, we all get angry, we all have outbursts and we are not alone. We keep each other going.