If you find yourself in an anxious group situation (such as a family get-together or meeting), set an alarm on your phone that will go off a minute after you set it. Make sure this alarm has the same sound as your ring tone. When the alarm rings, look at your phone and remark, “Sorry, guys, I have to take this.” This will allow you to leave the room for awhile to collect your thoughts. It also won’t draw the same concern as an extended bathroom break might.
If you have a psychiatric service dog, you can also train your dog to provide an out, too.
Similarly, you can investigate getting a psychiatric service dogs. These animals are unlike companion dogs in that they are trained to perform a particular set of tasks. And, unlike companion dogs, by law they are allowed to follow you everywhere you go. To learn more about the service, you can visit www.mentalhealthdogs.org. You can also check out an example list of tasks that a psychiatric service animal can perform.
My beautiful baby boy.
One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself is to get a cat. He calms me down when feeling anxious. Sometimes when I’m feeling manic, he comes and sits on my lap and I’m reluctant to move him because he’s sleeping. I also use him to check for hallucinations. If I see something, I throw a toy in its direction. If my cat notices it on his way to fetch the toy, that means it’s real. If he passes by it, then I know that it’s a hallucination. It’s not a fool-proof method, but in my experience, it works. You can check out where to find local shelter animals at Petfinder.com