DAS for Anxiety-induced Neurological Attacks?

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by TLMAriel, May 5, 2018.

  1. TLMAriel

    TLMAriel Earning My Ears

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    Hi! I’m sorry for yet another DAS question, but I haven’t seen anything that is very similar to my condition.

    I have a neurological disorder that causes attacks that mimic a stroke. The only trigger I’ve been able to identify so far has been stress and anxiety. Crowds in confined places for prolonged periods make me very anxious, which then often triggers an attack.

    My symptoms can vary- inability to speak (or just stuttering or slurring, it depends), involuntary muscle movements- large and small, temporary blindness and/or paralysis. Usually paralysis is only in one arm and my face but it varies.

    I don’t know if I should ask for a DAS or not. I definitely feel like I need one, but I don’t know if I fit the qualifications and if I do, well I don’t know if they would give it to me. I’m a young, fairly fit mom and I don’t look sick unless I’m having an attack.

    I am scheduling our trip for low season and will have a touring plan, I’ll have meds. I just don’t know what will happen and that scares me. I don’t want to end up like that and have to drag my kids away from Disney.

    If I qualify, how would I present this as a need? Does it make sense as I’ve explained it here? It’s rather new to me so I still get nervous and embarrassed when i’m trying to explain it.

    Thank you!
     
  2. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

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    While you can't present a Drs note or letter to Guest Relations, you *can* write out in advance (for yourself) why you need the accommodation provided by a DAS. I know that other people here have done that, and found it helpful to organize their thoughts prior to approaching Guest Relations.

    How you look or your age don't impact your need or qualification for the DAS; all that matters is how having a DAS will help you. The CMs at GR understand about "invisible disabilities", so that shouldn't be a problem for you.

    If they do say that they can't issue you a DAS, you always have the option to go try a few rides or attractions and then come back to the GR and explain exactly what happened when you tried without it, and why you believe you need it. There is no rule (that we know of) that you can't go back and ask, after you have tried to go without it.

    Related: Will you have another adult with you, in case you experience an event while in the Parks? If not, are any of your children old enough (18 or older) to hold your MPOA and DPOA? (Medical Power of Attorney and Durable Power of Attorney) in the event you are unable to speak for yourself and require medical intervention? Not trying to freak you out, but you if you believe you will suffer an event while in the Parks (especially if you don't have DAS) then I think it's important to plan ahead as much as possible.
     
    Hopefully and abinormal like this.
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  4. Disneygal27

    Disneygal27 Mouseketeer

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    I don't think it would hurt to try for it if you think you'll benefit from it. Just have a plan B in case it doesn't work, and as mentioned, you can always go back. My dad did that once when he was first in his wheelchair, the CM assumed it was a mobility only issue but he has a few other needs since he's totally chair bound now.

    And I think the way you presented it makes sense, your second and third paragraphs paint a picture in my mind of your concerns and situation. Obviously none of us know if you'll qualify, but IMO it's definitely worth an ask. Worst case you just make the most of FPs and finding shorter lines, or take a midday break. Good luck!
     
  5. gap2368

    gap2368 DIS Veteran

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    All you can do is go to GR and talk to them about your needs as it has to do with waiting in the normal line and why waiting outside the lines will be better for you. I too look very young and can explain my needs just fine ( exspasily when I first get to Disney ) the CM has never ( well there was one time the CM told me I was lying but that is a story for another day and I did get a DAS that day).

    is there another adult going with you in case you have an attack or are your children old enough to help you if you need help
     
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  6. Mrsjvb

    Mrsjvb DIS Veteran

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    simply: you must be able to explain why you cannot wait in a standard line. the diagnosis is irrelevant this can be via written communication if that helps. it will not be of any use outside of lines: shows get crowded, as do the on site transportation( the lines to wait for the buses and monorail are often worse than many ride lines) many TS restaurants are CROWDED with tables very close to one another.
     
  7. married2mm

    married2mm DIS Veteran

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    Just on the ts restaurant front-
    We request a window or wall seat.
     
  8. fabfemmeboy

    fabfemmeboy Mouseketeer

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    Your symptoms sound very similar to mine, actually, and I have gotten a DAS in the past. I usually emphasize that my anxiety and stress go through the roof in confined crowded areas (like lines) and that's been enough...I'm also kind of self-conscious about the oddness of my condition and its symptoms, so I tend to avoid going into details about them unless it's absolutely necessary (because sure, healthy-looking person, you lose the ability to speak and randomly can't move your arm or leg for no particular reason. Mmhmm, sure). Instead, the important thing is to explain what you need (e.g. to wait in a different area) and why (because crowded noisy areas elevate your anxiety/stress and that causes problems). The CMs I spoke with seemed used to the idea of simple claustrophobia enough that they didn't probe further about the symptoms that result from the confined wait.
     
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  9. TLMAriel

    TLMAriel Earning My Ears

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    Thank you all so much! I will be with my husband, fortunately so if something does happen he knows what to do.

    Of course I know crowds are inevitable. It’s the confined, prolonged crowd that gets me. I spend months pain stakingly optimizing my plans, but there will still be some things I will avoid. That’s a great tip about requesting a window or wal seat, thank you!

    FabFemmeBoy, that is so helpful, thank you! I’m sorry you deal with this, too. It’s such an odd, unpredictable and scary disease.
     
    Lilsia, fabfemmeboy and mamabunny like this.
  10. cobright

    cobright DIS Veteran

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    As a fellow anxiety disorder-er myself I usually respond to threads on the subject with, what I hope are, useful practical suggestions. I still may, but for now I will limit myself to one.

    When you go to Guest Relations to discuss a possible DAS program, consider doing it alone. It sounds counterintuitive to leave your husband behind on this but bringing him brings your kids and a lot of people who are normally models of stoicism find themselves choking when they have to explain their weaknesses in front of their children. The emotional weight of the words you have to use to explain your condition can be multiplied by the ears of your kids listening to them.

    I will offer one additional point that I hope eases your thoughts just a little. I anxiety pretty hard myself. Going on 17 years of pretty bad anxiety/PTSD now. Yet, WDW is so different from real life I find it very easy to be there. It's one of my very few actual 'safe' places. I hope you find it as easy to breath there as I do.

    Good luck.
     
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  11. DisneyOma

    DisneyOma DIS Veteran

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    It's not weakness, and should be nothing to hide from the kids. You know, kids are smart and they know things we don't think they have a clue about. They probably sense there's something someone is ashamed about. Also, the kids could have the same condition/feelings, and are being led to believe it's a weakness and something to hide, not deal with.
     
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  12. Selket

    Selket Been there - done that

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    I usually rent a scooter because of my terrible arthritic knees (both need replacing - it's a long story) - but I also had a brain injury from an accident a couple of years ago and especially right after I had more issues in crowds. I don't get a DAS but as for a couple of other things I suggest:

    ...for shopping - if you like to shop I found that the stores are not so crowded in the morning and early afternoon. I realize that is prime riding time but if your husband is taking the kids - it's a great time to shop. I tried to hit a few places when they're not crowded. The worst time is at the end of the day for that park, after fireworks, etc.

    ....bus - I sometimes just avoided the fireworks and left before them or during them - the busses are not very crowded then. I've also paid for the dessert party just to get the space - this was for the Jingle Bam one in DHS - that worked well. It was still crowded all around us but there was a designated area that had plenty of space (so no jostling for space or holding a space).

    ...restaurants - booking ADR's can be the ticket here. There are some less expensive options like The Plaza in the MK, and maybe SciFi Diner at DHS, etc. Another option is to eat at "off" times - a bit early for lunch or dinner, etc. That can be harder with kids in tow.

    ....quiet places - I don't know if there is a list of good quiet places in all the parks in the FAQ here but I generally have my "go-to" places in the parks
     
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  13. cobright

    cobright DIS Veteran

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    I debated this term with myself quite a bit and the last thing I intended was for this description to be taken as a pejorative against people, like myself, who have an anxiety disorder.

    To be clear, I believe that it is our weaknesses, as much as our strengths, that make us human. But an inability to effectively moderate one's own anxiety is certainly a weakness. There is no situation in which this condition is beneficial, though it probably comes from a set of 'wiring' meant to keep us out of danger, and it is of constant concern for it's detrimental effects on our lives. Having an anxiety disorder is not normal and it's certainly not a strength.

    That said, I think lot of what you say is true about relating one's condition and special needs to their children and the perceptiveness of children in general. I agree with all of that, but that doesn't change the fact that for some of us we are still very sensitive about our condition and one's children are a very special and also unecesssary audience for the particular conversation subject brought up in the OP.

    There shouldn't be a stigma attached. People shouldn't feel differently explaining any sort of disability. It doesn't always work out that way and sometimes we have to rely on coping stategies to get us through individual problems.
     
  14. DisneyOma

    DisneyOma DIS Veteran

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    cobright, I have anxiety/panic attacks myself, and so does one of my daughters. I know she reads these forums, so I will not share her private info, but I can say that I wish I had been more open about my issues with her a long time ago. I also works with kids with special needs, and the approach that works best for them, IMO, is to deal with the disability and find a way to do things anyways. Of course these are high school students, but I could tell some pretty sad stories if it wasn't illegal to share.
     
  15. cobright

    cobright DIS Veteran

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    I agree 100% Again, I'm not talking about hiding ones anxiety disorder from ones children. Whatever conversations the OP or whoever wish to have with their kids is a completely separate matter, but I agree that openness is a good policy.

    At the same time, especially if you get flustered easily or are worried about being able to explain your disability to a guest relations cm without getting emotional... a key skill to develop (imo) is taking steps in advance to 'shape' the situation in a way that reduces anxiety.

    A big part of my philosophy is that in addition to doing the long term work on one's self of learning to manage ones anxiety stressors, it's just as necessary to give one's self permission to cut some corners, socially, if doing so will prevent a panic attack. Nothing healthy happens during an acute anxiety event.

    The OP is already doing the work, every day, of becoming better able to manage her disorder. But if in this particular situation it would make her vacation easier to limit the audience of her DAS request conversation; or for that matter lying to the guest relations cm then I say go for it. Heck, if taking 3 or 4 minutes to herself in a companion restroom means the difference between a day in WDW with or without an anxiety attack then you do what you need to do.

    The worry of how one's choices will be evaluated and reviewed by the world around us, strangers and family alike, hang like a Sword of Damocles over many with anxiety disorders. So if having your kids with you when you buy a Mickey pretzel is no big deal, but maybe would cause added stress when you go to explain to the guy why being close to dozens of strangers in confined spaces for extended durations ... well then let hubby take them for a 10 minute walk while you punch that one off your to-do list.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  16. DisneyOma

    DisneyOma DIS Veteran

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    Are you really saying it's OK to lie because you have anxiety? Is that considered 'cutting corners' for you? Because if it is, then I will view all input form you on this forum in a totally different way, and I hope other stake that into account as well. If I'm wrong in my understanding about the above, (and I hope I am) could you clarify what you meant by "lying to the guest relations CM"?
     
  17. gap2368

    gap2368 DIS Veteran

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    I was wondering the same thing why would you lie to GREAT
     
  18. cobright

    cobright DIS Veteran

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    Firstly, I'm not suggesting that one lies in order to get an unfair advantage.

    I will give you an example case and you tell me which is the better course of action.
    The subject is an actual person. A friend of mine who had most of his anterior pelvic region destroyed by an IED in Afghanistan. This includes his primary sex organs, the urinary function of which has been replaced by a device with hoses and a plastic bag. Even after a couple years now, discussing his injury is painfully traumatic, triggering anxiety followed by deep depression. But a trip to WDW is impossible for him without a DAS because the device will fill or gather pressure often and at various times of the day that cannot be planned for or prevented and this necessitates a run to a bathroom.

    • Can we all agree that a DAS allowing him to receive a specified return time to his ride is a fair accommodation?
    Great. Now we consider getting this man into the most magical place on earth.
    1. If he has to honestly explain why he needs a DAS then he's just not going to go at all. Maybe eventually his PTSD will abate enough to discuss his situation without the horrible psychological trauma ruining the next day or two. Hopefully before his little girl is old enough to want to go visit Disney World.
    2. If he follows my advice: he walks up to GR, lets it slip that he's staying at Shades of Green and has an injured knee that prevents him from standing in line and an injured pelvic bone that prevents sitting in a mobility device. Since this doesn't actually describe him, because it's a lie, he's able to explain this condition without the emotional weight of his actual loss bearing down on him. He gets the DAS and enjoys his vacation with exactly the accommodation we all just agreed was fair.
    I'm sure someone, high enough on principle, will say that even if the accommodation he wants is fair, he doesn't deserve them if he's not willing to pay the emotional toll that comes along with asking for it honestly. A toll, I might add, that is not applied to everyone asking for the same accommodation. He should suffer the shame and humiliation intrinsic to recalling and describing his injuries if he really wants to be able to enjoy the park with his family.

    So take whatever input I make to this forum however you like. If lying to GR in order to get something they would have given you if you had told them the truth is what it takes to have a magical vacation with your family then (imo) the choice is easy.

    'Cutting corners', as I use it here, means shaping the situations into some version of itself that is easier to manage. If having a spouse near you when you do something reduces your anxiety then it's making sure they are their. If having a parent, or in-law, or your kids with you increases your anxiety when doing something, then it's finding a way for those people to be somewhere else. If going on Tower of Terror terrifies you because of some dark childhood trauma, and you'd rather just tell the gang that you're opting out because that last spin on RnRC made you a little queasy then take the easy way out.
     

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