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Hypomania?/Is this a terrible idea?


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For the past 1.5-2 months I have been feeling like the inside of my skull is on fire and/or crawling with ants.  I wake up a lot earlier and have been really irritable and restless, even at work.  The same thing has happened the past two springs, but it seems to be getting worse.  Last year it was followed by an absolutely crippling depression in late summer/early fall, then I've been doing great since around October.  I thought that it was because I finally had achieved a mindset in which I could see a future for myself and regulate my emotions when needed, and that the misery of the past 10 years was finally over.  Then, out of the blue, February and the 3rd annual spring fever struck...  My ex-therapist thought about diagnosing me with BPII last spring, but wasn't sure if it fit. 

 

Now to the problem:  I have decided that I absolutely must have a dog.  I am employed, and can theoretically afford it, but would start getting closer to paycheck to paycheck living, and I should be saving for graduate school, which I am starting to apply to in the fall.  The other problem is that I can't have a dog long-term in my current living situation, so I am frantically trying to move into anything I can get ASAP... I currently pay very low rent because I live with my aunt, so then I definitely wouldn't be saving money, although I would probably be breaking even.  I am picking up my dog on Wednesday, and the whole thing sounds perfectly reasonable to me, but my parents are telling me that I am out of my mind.  I have called my ex-therapist (not currently seeing anyone) 4 times in the past month and a half, but she hasn't called me back...

 

So my questions are: could this be hypomania, and does this sound completely crazy and/or grandiose? 

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Most likely a dog walker during the day, and a run when I get home.  I'm planning to have her registered as a therapy dog so that she can come to work with me now, and I have a few friends who have incorporated their therapy dogs into their grad school placement, so that might be a possibility as well.  She is apartment-sized and doesn't bark, so living theoretically wouldn't be an issue.  I have answers to all of the logistical questions, but I don't know if they are actually reasonable answers. 

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Hi Rojatta,

 

If you are concerned that you are hypomanic, I encourage you to hold off on getting a dog until several months have passed.

 

Here's why: Dogs bond with humans. If you make a hasty decision to get a dog and then for any reason are unable to keep it, the dog suffers the loss of the bond with you, much like a child being taken into foster care.

 

Here's are some good articles that ask you to think through lots of variables related to getting a dog before you commit: 

http://www.akc.org/future_dog_owner/ready_for_dog.cfm

http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/adoption-pet-care/are-you-ready.html

 

Although this pdf is geared toward families, it gets at the nitty gritty of living full time with a dog:

http://www.thegryphonpress.com/pdf/ReadKit.pdf

 

Therapy dogs are wonderful assets. However, they require more specialized training than your average dog. They have to have good basic obedience, canine good citizen skills, in addition to specialized therapy skills as well as regular grooming and health care before working as a therapy dog. Also, your dog must have the right temperament and the desire to be a therapy dog. There's no promise that the dog you are eyeing would be able to meet these qualifications.

 

If your dog can't or doesn't want to be a therapy dog, will he/she be at home alone all day while you are in grad school? How will you pay for the dogwalker while you are in school?

 

If getting a dog will put you living paycheck to paycheck, how will you pay for the dog's veterinary care? Do you have the time, patience, and money to train your dog to be well behaved?

 

If you are getting a dog on Wednesday, have you seriously thought through all these questions (especially the ones that are asked in the pdf)? This includes the very real possibility of taking care of an injured, sick, or aging dog.

 

PLEASE take your time and find your FOREVER dog, and give your dog the best chance at having a FOREVER home. They deserve stability, just like we do. 

Edited by Wooster
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Getting a dog and immediately turning it into a "therapy" dog (IT DOESN'T EVEN KNOW YOU) sounds pretty grandiose to me.....


So, yes, hypomanic, and no, not a good plan.   IF your head is "full of ants" I'd worry about getting YOU to grad school never mind a dog.

And I hate this "therapy animal" BS as a way for convenience.   No, it doesn't work like that.

Anna

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It sounds like a bad idea to me. Even once you are stable mood-wise I'd probably wait on getting a dog. They are expensive and require a LOT of your time and attention. Most people who own dogs don't give them enough time and attention. I tell most people under age 65 who want a dog to be absolutely sure they have enough time on their hands for it.

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As much as I hate to say it, I think you need to hold off on getting this dog.

 

You say your head is full of ants, you'll be living paycheck to paycheck (which I assume will be worse once you move out of your aunt's house and into a higher cost apt), it is rather grandiose to think you can "make" this dog into a therapy dog, and you'll be in grad school which will take up a LOT of your attention.

 

Best to wait awhile and see where your situation leads and how you feel mentally.

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Dogs are awesome, and I really couldn't imagine life without one. 

 

That said, when I got my dog, I had NO idea what I was getting into. None. Vet bills were about 5X more expensive than I imagined. She needs special expensive food since she is intolerant of grains, and she woke us up whining every night until she was fully house-trained. I also grew up having dogs all my life, but owning one on my own was WAY different.

 

Even if you have found an amazing, calm, sweet, perfect dog, there will be events and expenses and experiences within the first year of owning him or her that you can't anticipate right now. I know when I have my mind set on something and someone tries to caution me like this, I will nod and smile, and think, "Well, I can handle whatever. I'm sure I know what I'm doing." But definitely at least think about some of the words shared with you on this thread. For instance, my dog ate a pack of gum the first year I had her. Since that could kill a dog, I had to take her to get her stomach pumped and stay overnight at the vet. It cost $1700. Do you have $1700 in your bank account? We barely did. And then we gave it to the vet.

 

FYI, dog walkers cost from 15-20 bucks a day, usually. We had one and it was great, but the money is ... a lot. I gotta say, I could not at all have handled or afforded a dog in grad school, not at all. 

 

Having a dog is amazing, and so rewarding, and it DOES get easy, absolutely. I can only share my experience with you ... that first year was really really tough.

 

Sorry if I sound harsh. I get super upset when someone gets a dog and then has to give it back or take it to an animal shelter because they couldn't take care of it (not saying that will be you... but it would have been me in grad school ... I'm really glad I waited til I lived in a house and had a partner that could help me care for the beast). Also, if you suspect something is (hypo)mania-related, it usually is. 

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