Category Archives: agoraphobia

The Importance Of Having Role Models With Mental Illness

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So, I just finished reading Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher, and it was actually a really great book!  One thing that i really loved was open and honest she was about her life.   She spoke so openly about her friend dying beside her in bed, and about how she used drugs to numb her intense emotions.   Granted, I don’t agree with a lot of what happened in her life (I don’t do drugs or drink, so the idea of my mom coming to me at age 13 and telling me to smoke up with her was incredibly strange), but that isn’t the point.

 

The point is that this woman is not only an amazing storyteller, but also shows one of the truest signs of overcoming your problems:  

The ability to talk openly and laugh about them! 

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This then got me thinking about how great it was to hear someone be able to be so free, and so open.  And also, how great it felt to just know someone is out there talking about their mental illness and making waves in our culture!

And so then I set out to find other celebrities who have been open about mental illness (whether it be PTSD, panic, anxiety, depression), and some of the things I found were a bit shocking!

 

And the answer is, shockingly few.   I found a few articles on HuffPost and Buzzed and stuff, where a celebrity says they get “anxiety” (cough cough) about something every once in a while or some other kind of bullshit like that,  but none of it seemed to be what I live through.  For me, depression and anxiety are these massive weights that pull me down everyday.  They are always there and always trying to ruin me.  That is why Wishful Drinking was such a great read.   It wasn’t Amanda Seyfried talking for one paragraph about how she sometimes get upset thinking about her son possibly dying or something.  It was real, life-destroying mental problems, and I loved reading it!

 

So there needs to be more talk about this stuff I think.   Mental problems of all kinds: Depression, PTSD, Anxiety, Bi-Polar, Panic, all of it!   We need role models out there telling their stories.  Telling us it’s going to be ok.  Letting us know there is a life outside our issues.    I hope to be one of those voices someday.  I know it will be a rough and long road, but there is a severe lack of this kind of talk in our society, I hope to change that!

  • So what do you guys think?  Where do you stand with how society views mental illness and do you think we need more role models?  Or do you know of any great stories about mental illness to read?   Feel free to tell me everything in the comments!

 

~ The Dark Horse

 

(This was like 10% proofread!  ya baby ya!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Innocence Of Anxiety

sun

 

So, I was thinking the other day about the last few years.  About how I had been depressed for so much of my life, and then suddenly; anxiety, panic attacks, and agoraphobia were thrown on top of it.    Sometimes I look back and I get tears in my eyes.  I think of how scared I was back in Melbourne.    Australians are great people if you’re looking for a party…but they’re not the kinds of people who are there for you in times of need (They don’t really comprehend the idea of “times of need” actually).    So there I was, alone.  Dealing with crippling anxiety. And when I say crippling, I mean crippling.   I was literally collapsing and felt like I was dying.

 

But the other day I also got a little smile on my face.  It was odd, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was a child again.   I mean when you really think about it, when you start dealing with mental illness it’s almost like starting a whole new life.   Your entire world has changed.  You have to learn how to overcome obstacles.  You have to ask people for help.  Easy things becomes monumental successes.

 

Like I remember back when the panic attacks were happening a lot, even going to the grocery store was hard.  Just going around the block could bring about a massive panic attack.  I remember at one point I finally had had enough and so I called Lifeline and was like, “The grocery store is about 7 blocks away…I’m worried I’m going to pass out on the way there…can you help me?”

I got to the grocery store and was like I DID IT!!!!!    And the lady at Lifelife was like, Congrats!   This is such a big moment for you!   ….Yeah people, have you ever felt so proud of just making it the grocery store without dying?

 

 

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I think it’s interesting though.  This new idea I have.  Looking at the last four years of life as potentially a “rebirth” in a way.  And who doesn’t make mistakes as children?  We all do right?  How many of us would be alive right now if it wasn’t for our parents taking care of use when we were four years old?     So maybe I need to stop being so hard on myself for these last four years.  What happened in 2013 and 2014 was me trying to learn and figure out what the hell was going on without any help from anyone else.   Mistakes were bound to happen.

Mistakes are the only way we learn even when we have people teaching us, so when it comes to mental illness when so much of it has to be us hiding it, and pretending were fine… where society doesn’t want to help us…when were in it all on our own…

WE SHOULD BE FUCKING PROUD OF OURSELVES THAT WE ARE STILL ON THIS DAMN EARTH! 

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Look at that little girl?   Falling down on your face is normal when you’re a child people, ok?  Don’t let it get you down! 

 

 

 

 

 

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Also, falling on your side is completely acceptable when you’re trying to learn to navigate a new obstacle!  

 

 

 

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And sometimes you just fall on your face again… thats just life.  

 

 

Point is, I think were all doing a great job.  We are trying and dammit that means something, and fuck anyone who says differently.

Keep trying.

Keep working.

And keep falling! 

 

~ The Dark Horse

(No, of course this wasn’t proofread, why would you ask such a silly question?)

 

 

 

Agoraphobic No More!

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So the picture above is part of campus.   It’s this in-between space.  What you’re looking at in the background is the sciences and laws school campuses and if you were to look left from where these food trucks and people are you would be looking at Harvard Yard, which is where all the liberal arts are.

So I was in the library all morning yesterday writing and reading and I was like you know what it’s beautiful out right now.  I’m going to get a tea and walk around for a bit.  So I go for a walk.  I walk past the Law School (which has some beautiful buildings), and my favorites are the zoology and biology buildings because they have big statues of animals and there are even animals engraved into the walls.  Its really cool!

So, anyways, then I get back to this open part and I sit there and look and am like, you know what, this is actually a really nice spot.   I was thinking about how when my parents come to visit in the summer maybe I’ll walk em around campus and we can get some food from the food trucks and stuff.

And then suddenly memories from Australia came rushing back into my head.   Memories about walking outside of my apartment in the city and having this feeling rush over me.

This intense fear that I WAS GOING TO INSTANTLY DIE. 

Can I get a “what what” from all the homies out there with agoraphobia?  You know the feeling im talking about!   That dizzy feeling.  Your breathing becomes really hard.  Your brain suddenly feels like its expanding and will quickly burst out of your skull.   Suddenly your legs are shaking.   You are now convinced this is it:  You are for some unknown reason about to die.  Maybe an undiagnosed illness?  Maybe your food was poisoned?  Maybe a heart-attack?  You could say maybe forever but it doesn’t matter.  Death is death, and the fact is, you’re going to die.

So you run and hide.  Normally, back into your house….and then suddenly it all seems to slowly go away.  And you feel fine.   Your home is your safe space.  The place where you can feel ok…. but really what its become is your tomb.   Your life is now gone.  Because you’re never able to be yourself in the real world.   You’ve confined yourself into a life that is un-lived.

So here is another picture of campus I took yesterday.  A picture of Harvard Yard:

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Also, PS- I didn’t take these pictures for my own pleasure, I took them for this blog post. So please don’t think Im an awful photographer based on these haha!  They’re purpose is just to show the campus.

Ugh, but look at me ramble on, ANYHOO, back to the story:

So you can see above, more open spaces with people in them.  Again, for any of you out there with agoraphobia I know how scary these look.  Trust me, I was there once.

SO WHAT DID I DO?

~ Well for starters I got myself back into therapy.  I will never forget the end of my first therapy session in Australia.  I sat there and said to my therapist, “So what am i supposed to do until next session?”.  And she kind of gave me this look of like…what do you mean?  And I was like… “Well do you have any advice as to how I’m supposed to walk home…without like…passing out and collapsing?”

Oh man, I was a handful.

~  Also, the suicide hotline and lifeline.  CALL THEM.  And no, don’t roll your eyes or give me that look or I’ll smack the shit out of you.  CALL THEM.   Trust me, I did….I used to all the time.  Seriously!    Call them and just be honest.  Be like, “Look i’m not suicidal, but I’m overcome with this feeling that I’m going to die whenever I walk outside.  Please be on the phone with me, and just be there”.  The first few times I was even like, look here’s where I am.  I either have agoraphobia, or have an undiagnosed illness that will kill me.  Im going to start walking around…if i stop talking and you think i’m dead, call the cops.

Here are a list of all Lifeline numbers:

Lifeline List

If the link doesn’t open, just google lifeline.  The number for your country will come up.

~ Also, time.  It takes time!   Trust me, the first few times you walk outside its really scary!  But after 100 times you’re like… well I haven’t died yet so maybe this is all in my head.

~But most importantly..and I mean this...

THE

MOST

IMPORTANT

THING

TO

KNOW

IS

THAT

YOU

ARE

SO

BRAVE.

YES! It takes bravery.  Sure, you can have a therapist, and you can call lifeline.  And everyone can tell you its all in your head.  But to us, its so real.   The feeling of blood-curdling fear is there.  And people who don’t have agoraphobia do not understand what that fear is like.  So for you to go outside.  For you to face the idea of dying straight in the face.   For you to face your panic….it will take bravery.   And never ever forget how strong you are when you’re able to go out there and rock shit out!

 

Ok so to sum it all up, lets use some Starship Troopers Gifs:

 

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So, yes.  Sometimes mental illness can seem like a giant scary alien insect that will surely kill you.

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But you know what, with some hard work and determination, even taking down a giant alien space bug is possible.

 

 

 

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Lookin’ good soldier.

 

 

Alright guys, keep up the good work!

 

~ The Dark Horse