Dispatches From My Agoraphobic Tower

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So, I recently stumbled across my old photos from when I was living in Melbourne, Australia.  I haven’t looked at these in years, and just seeing them flooded my mind with memories.

During my time in Melbourne, my unchecked depression and anxiety quickly developed in panic disorder, which quickly developed into agoraphobia. I was alone in a foreign country, locked away in my little apartment cube, afraid to interact with the world around me.

 

Honestly, it’s so strange. Because All me memories of Melbourne are so awful. The thought of Melbourne fills me with nothing but loneliness, dread, pain, and misery.

But then, I saw this picture:

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I took this from the roof my apartment complex. How could such a beautiful view ever have been scarred into my brain as bad? How have I always thought of Melbourne as the ugliest most miserable city I’ve ever seen?

Was Melbourne really that bad?  or was it me?

Was I the one that was ugly and miserable? 

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Look at that! How many urban areas have are quality that good?

I think this is a perfect example of how your mental health really effects everything. I mean, depression and anxiety isn’t just about being sad. It’s about feeling such a cold, dark, sad misery, that somehow, a sight as beautiful as this, was skewed into what I perceived at that time to be hell.

And that’s why we need better mental health support. Not just in America, but all around the world. I don’t ever want anyone to feel how horrible I did in Melbourne. I used to hide in my shower and cry until I could hardly breathe. I was fired from my job because I kept collapsing from panic attacks, and was blowing all my money on therapy, and take-out food because I couldn’t even walk to the grocery store.

To this day, my parents think I blew all my money in Australia partying. They have never fully forgiven me for how “sloppy” I was there. And I paid the price for it. After my time in Australia, I returned home to Ohio and picked up a job in retail. My parents thought that me having to return to Ohio with my tail between my legs, forced to work in retail for a year while I re-figured out my life, was good punishment for my immaturity and selfishness of going broke abroad.

They still have no idea that all my money was being blown on therapy and food. They also don’t know that while back in Ohio, I got back into therapy. The University in my hometown offers free-to-the-public therapy were grad students studying psychology act as your therapist.

My mom thinks that I was out running around town, when in reality I was in exposure therapy.  I know a day will come when I will need to tell my parents the truth. That in reality, I wasn’t as strong as they I thought I was. While they thought I was out having the time of my life, I was actually in the lowest stages of my life thus far.

 

But there’s also hope.

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I didn’t due in Australia. And I didn’t when  I came home and got into therapy.  In fact, I got stronger. I got better. And it inspired me to start writing. We may think that those tough moments are the end. We may think that there’s no going on, but there is. 

THERE IS ALWAYS A TOMORROW.

THERE IS ALWAYS A CHANCE TO HEAL AND BE BETTER .

And here’s how: 

Alright people, listen up. Step number 1: Call Lifeline. I don’t care if you’re not suicidal, if you’re at a point in your life when just living through the day seems impossible, call them. I literally used to call Lifeline everyday back when I was agoraphobic. They are so understanding and not scary at all! never hesitate to call and just say, look, I’m really struggling to just be alive right now. Whether it’s depression, anxiety, panic, PTSD, bullying, or any of the others. If you’re that miserable, YOU DESERVE TO HAVE AN EAR TO SPEAK INTO. AND NEVER FORGET THAT.

This is a list of lifelines around the world:

I have called at least 4 of them, and can tell you, these services are amazing

List of Lifelines

Step number 2: Find inspiration! There are some great sites out there that helped me get through horrific times.

Beyond Blue. An Australian website that is fantastic!

Beyond Blue

 

THIS WAY UP! Online therapy for the busy person. I’ve used them, they’re great!

This Way Up

 

ADAA. Resources for Depression and Anxiety

ADAA

 

And most importantly, NEVR EVER GIVE UP! if you ever think you can’t go on. Call Lifeline, reach out to a friend, or even write a comment on this blog. I’ll totally respond and tell you you’re a kick-ass motherfucker.

I’ll leave you with this sunset from the roof of my building in Melbourne, which, I somehow didn’t recognize as beautiful back then, but do now. 

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~ The Dark Horse

(was the proofread? ugh… I can’t be inspirational, and proofread!)

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4 thoughts on “Dispatches From My Agoraphobic Tower

  1. Thank you for this post. I’ve been MIA because depression is an asshat but I’m glad to catch up on your posts and see this.

    I’ve been to Melbourne once (my second trip ever out of Western Australia) and it was paid for by Beyond Blue 😊 (once a year all ten or so of us volunteer peer supporters on the BB online forums are flown and given some TLC. It is truly special. Your photos remind me of the hotel I was in… Staring out like the country bumpkin I am thinking I don’t deserve this but wow.

    I love and appreciate seeing you promote this organisation because they lead the way in mental health support (no shit) and have helped keep me alive.

    Now you’re going to be a big time media superstar you’ll have the power to influence and make change. Remember ages ago we talked about the US needing an organisation like BB? … Maybe it will be you that makes this happen. That is a fkn amazing thought.

    If you ever decide that is the way you want to go drop me a line ok and I’ll get you in touch with people who can help. No pressure though ok!

    1. Dude, Beyond Blue is one of the most amazing organizations ever. If I ever get a voice that has some sort of power to it, I’m totally going to try and create an American branch of it!

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