Category Archives: mental health

Hanson, And The Youth I Never Got To Have

DAMN YOUHANSON

 

So, feel free to judge me. I have no shame. I was listening to Hanson on YouTube yesterday.

Yeah.

Deal with it.

Anyways, it gets even more embracing than that.

So, I’m watching a live recording of their song This Time Around:

And as I’m watching the video, I realize that I’m staring at the guy singing… holy fuck dude, he was so fuckin hot! 

Look at him! 

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Look at the flawless skin. Those soft perfect lips. That perfect hair! That in-shape and healthy body. Look at that human perfection.

I’m 28. But I feel so much older. If anyone has read tis blog before you probably know, and for anyone who hasn’t, well, my past was filled with going through hell in my hometown of Ohio for being gay, running away to LA, only to wind up having sex on the streets for money, which did wonders for my mental stability, then I went to Melbourne where I struggled with anxiety, panic, and even became agoraphobic. I’ve been alone almost my entire life. Having to be an army of one. I’ve struggled with sex addiction. I struggle with my self-esteem. I feel alone all the time. And I fear I’ll never bee successful and that I’ll die alone.

On the inside, I’m not 28. I feel like a haggard 80 year old on their death bed. I don’t know how I’ve even managed to be such a horrible person. Or how I’ve managed to live this long.

And then watching this video, it just hit me. YOUTH. I never got to have a social life in high school. I hardly even had interaction with people my age. Nobody would speak to me. And then after high school when I went to LA… well, that wasn’t exactly my finest hour….

And Melbourne… I was collapsing every time I left my apartment. Who would want to hang out with me? How was I supposed to make friends when I couldn’t even walk to the grocery store without having a mental breakdown?

And now, in retrospect, I look back….

The “Prime years” of my life. The years where most people are stupid, innocent, and naive. The years when most people are their youngest, healthiest, prettiest selves. When all they want to do is have fun. Unaware of how cruel the world is.

All mine were wasted. Mine were filled with nothing but struggle, pain, and misery.

And now what do I do? 

The “Best Years” that everyone spends the rest of their lives talking about are gone. I never had them. In fact I’m hoping that most people’s Best years, are the Worst that ever happen in my life.

han

 

ugh…. look at these little twats. They made so much god damn money off that fucking song…

Ugh… Im bitter today, sorry. 

 

 

Anyways….

So, I guess this is something I need to learn to live with and accept. My past is the past. It’s over. I will never get to have carefree years or dog days of summer. I won’t ever know what it’s like go to a Prom or a college party. I won’t ever know the blissful feeling of truly thinking the world is an easy place where the biggest worries of your day is “What am I going to do this weekend.”

That isn’t my life. And I’m hoping that there’s somehow a strength in that.

I’m hoping that it means something, or leads to something.

I’m hoping that my experience, as crappy as it was, somehow provides me with some sort of insight that will make my life better in the long run.

But who knows…

All I do know is,

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OMG WHO IS THIS ONE? He’s sooooooo sexy too!

God damn cute boys… motherfuckers should come with a *trigger warning* sign attached to them.

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But uuugghhhh….. Long hair piano boy has that voice.  OMG. This is hard. Who am I crushing on harder? I don’t even know anymore…

 

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Ok, I’m actually really falling for guitar guy. He’s clearly The Man of brothers.

 

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OH FUCKING HELL…. Please, take me anywhere, I shall follow!

 

 

Alright people, I’m gonna go cry and masturbate or something.

Keep on keeping on!

~ The Dark Horse

 

PS- OF course this wasn’t proofread, I’ve been lost in the surprisingly amazing **cough cough** voices of the Hanson brothers.

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What China Taught Me

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So, I got back from China a month ago, and I realize I still havent blogged about my time there. And I think it’s pretty important to.  So, here it goes: I was there for a summer internship, and I recently returned back to Boston for school.

However, I’ve come back a changed man.

I feel more confident now. More sure of myself. Stronger. Wiser. and…. Well… I’m trying to figure out why.

Don’t get me wrong. I love this new feeling. I love feeling like I’ve somehow reached a new milestone in my life. A new “breakthrough” as the physiology world would like to call it.

And I think I’ve discovered what happened:

I was teaching English with this program. The program was horrible. The other Americans there were racist against Chinese people. They hated China and thought it was so “like totally weird” as one girl put it. And so, I had no choice but to breakaway.

SH sunset

 

I taught my class. I had to obviously. It was how I was making my money in China. But after the schoolday was over, I left. I didn’t hang with the Americans at all. I needed to escape their toxic, and frankly, disgusting fucking attitude towards the world. I still get mad just thinking about it.

Like when my boss…my 35 year old boss who chose to work in China picked up a pair of child scissors, and then said “I wish they made full-sized scissors in this country, but Asians have these damn midget hands” ……

There are so many problems with that, not to mention that my classroom had full-sized scissors, so my boss had either gone his entire 3 years in China using only child scissors, or he just didn’t respect Chinese people (and apparently little people either).

And that was just one of MANY…. Don’t even get me started on the time when my boss brought the two African American teachers into a classroom and said, “We’re doing a scavenger hunt for the students and one of the tasks is to take a picture with someone born in Africa, so they’re probably going to come up to you and ask for pictures… is that ok?”

FIRST OFF: THIS IS COMPLETELY TRUE. PEOPLE, I SHIT YOU NOT.

AND SECONDLY, WHY SAY THAT WHILE I’M IN THE ROOM? HOW STUPID ARE YOU? So obviously, when the two black teachers went and told everyone what he said, I was there to back their story up.

OK. MOVING FORWARD. MY BLOOD PRESSURE IS GOING OFF THE CHARTS JUST THINKING ABOUT THAT FUCKING PROGRAM.

 

ANYWAYS…..

So there I am. In China. I don’t know much of the language. I don’t know a single person. And the one thing that I’m sure of is that I want nothing to do with anyone in my program. I signed up for that program being promised a great way to visit China, make some money, and have a group of friends to explore with.

That wasn’t going to happen…..

So, I ventured out alone. I had no other choice. I couldn’t handle being around a group of people who went, “Squat toilets? OMG EWWWW LIKE, WHERE ARE WE, THE JUNGLE??”

I joined a gym. Gyms are a great way to burn off energy, meet people, stay healthy… and hey, if all else failed, and I literally couldn’t find anything to do, considering I was now in China alone, I could always bum around at the gym for hours.

So, I went to the nearest gym (which was three subway stops away at the China Art Museum Station). I walked in and held up my translation app. I tried showing the words, JOIN, GYM, MEMBERSHIP, WORKOUT, and EXERCISE, but nothing worked. The women at the front desk didn’t understand.

So I mimed the actions of lifting weights. Then I pointed to me. And then I pointed at the ground. Trying to show Me, workout, here. Finally, the women understood. They went and got a trainer to give me a tour. The trainer, named Tommy, was hot as all fucking hell.

PEOPLE LISTEN TO ME -> The young men of Shanghai are like the fucking Asian Adonis.

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They’re way taller than any Asian stereotype. They gym like crazy. Their skin is perfect and hair always impeccable.

I stared at Tommy and shook his hand. Oh my god his biceps.

He didn’t speak much English, and I didn’t speak much Chinese. We toured the gym completely using translate apps.

He would speak into the app: “1,000Rmb for the summer.”

It would translate it to English, and then he would hand me the phone.

I would then say, “1,000 is too much. Make it lower.”

Then it would translate it to Mandarin, and I would hand it back to Tommy.

Something about haggling with an app, rather than face-to-face emboldened me. It was much easier to demand a cheaper price when you didn’t have to look the guy in the eye when asked.

Finally, after much back-and-forth and such, we arranged that I would pay 600Rmb for the summer. A good 400Rmb cheaper than the original offer. After I paid, Tommy, my new gym buddy, had me add him on WeChat (which is like the Chinese WhatsApp…and Facebook…and Instagram…and Apple Pay…it’s kind of like everything, really)

That night, I felt proud. I had just walked into a gym and managed to get a membership and haggle the price, even though I hardly spoke the language at all.

Then, I got a message from Tommy. It was in Chinese, but luckily WeChat has a mode that translates it.

He said he wanted to hangout. He could teach me Chinese and I could teach him English.

Obviously I said yes. How could I turn down a hot straight gym guy who wanted to hang out with me?

I told him yes.

He responded with: 哥们

I translated it, and it read brothers. 

I didn’t immediately know what it meant, but I imagined that it was probably the Chinese version of calling someone “Bro”. The idea that a hot guy called me bro made my heart beat fast… also, it got me a little horny.

 

SH FC 1

My gym was in Pudong, along with my work. So I started visiting areas of Puxi a lot (the other side of the river). I did a lot of exploring around The French Concession, Shanghai’s  trendiest area. It’s tree-lined streets, cafes, and mega-malls were always fun. And it was there that I made another group of friends. I wandered into a bookstore/cafe called The Mix Place.

 

I was walking around, flipping trough books and magazines, blown away by cool this place was. Then a girl next to me, very shyly informed me that the books here are all in Chinese.

I smiled, and said that it was fine. Then I complimented her on how good her English was. She blushed and acted shy. She told me studied a year in America, in San Diego. Then her friends, another girl, and a guy (who of course was fucking hot as hell. How do these Shanghainese guys stay so fucking fit?) We got to talking. I told them about my love of Asian food, and how I fell in love street food like Jianbing and baos.

They were all impressed that I, an American, had ventured into the realm of Shanghai street food. We all swapped WeChats.

Flash-forward a few days, and we were all hanging out again. Running amok all over the city. Imagine one of those movie montages where a group of friends are running around town, eating all the food, laughing, walking through the city lights, and there’s all that fun music playing to much fanfare, hoo-ha, and pfeffernusse.

We tried foods I wouldn’t dare alone. Stinky Tofu, century eggs, Chicken stomach.

We also got amazing treats, like milk tea, bubble tea, duck jerky, soup dumplings, and the list went on.

 

It was a culinary bender of epic proportions.

And we did this A LOT! It wasn’t just once! These people became good friends of mine. We hung out a lot, and It was amazing. They showed me Shanghai.  The ins, the outs. The wonderful, and the even more wonderful.

train

 

On the train, where to next? The options were endless.

 

 

BUT DON’T THINK I STOPPED GOING TO THE GYM! I gymed 5 days a week.

And Tommy was a big help with that. Being able to walk in and get a high-five from that sexy motherfucker was a huge incentive. Then we’d say hi and ask each other how we we’re doing. Then there was this one time when I saw him in the locker room. After his shifts, he would work out… and I saw him in his underwear! (squeal!)  Oh my god. I don’t know what else to say besides that he was just a beautiful work of art.

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And then came the day when we actually hung out. We got coffee (but both of us ordered tea) We did a lot of talking through WeChat translate and Google Translate. He always gave me a look though… A look that made me think maybe, just maybe… he wasn’t straight. I never asked him, I liked the silent, multi-language game of cat and mouse we had developed.  Was I his bro? Was he just a super confident and sexy-as-all-hell man?    … or was he secretly wanting me as much as I wanting him?

 

Through Tommy, I was introduced to more of the Shanghai gym bros. And I have to admit, I developed crushes on all of them.  And here’s the best part: Shanghai has 24 million people. There isn’t much room to have personal space. To solve this problem, the folks of Shanghai just stopped caring about personal space. (How easy is that?) It was totally normal for one of the gym bros to see me in the locker room, while he was completely naked, just chillin out naked, cuz why not? And then just start chatting with me. My eyes would always wander southward… glimpsing at the pecs….the six pack….the adonis belt…. OMG HOW DO THEY DO IT? 

 

By the end of the summer, between my French Concession friends, and my gym bros, I had a very full social life in Shanghai. More full than here in America actually…

Is that kind of sad?  Naw.

Anyways, it’s like this: I realized that I built a life for myself in a city I didn’t know, learning the language as I went along. It was a crash course in life. But I did it. I survived.

Nay!…not survived, I thrived!

I said fuck you to the all douchebags around me. They spent their entire summer experiencing “China” only by clubbing with other Westerners in the tourist clubs until 4am, coming back to campus, having to wake up at 730 to “teach”, after class they’d go take their naps, so they could be ready to hit the clubs again that night.

They ended up loving “China” by avoiding China. They stayed in their groups of 10 or more Americans, keeping each other safe and in a bubble that would never be questioned. They were weak.

On the flight home, I thought of Tommy, and the other sexy as fuck gym bros.

blarg

 

And then I thought of my French Concession friends. And how much fun I had running all over the city, eating everything in site.

And that’s when I realized I had balls. 4 years ago I was collapsing from agoraphobia in Australia. The depression I was trying to fix, alone, for the past ten years had finally broken me. The depression brought anxiety, which brought panic, which ultimately led me to lock myself in my apartment, afraid to experience more panic attacks in the outsides world..

But now, I felt like the King of Shanghai.

How time flies right? 

 

~ The Dark Horse

(PS- I’d like to thank Harry Shum Jr. for standing in as my “Tommy” visual representation.)

 

 

 

What I Learned From “Walden”

walde

 

So, every American probably knows about Henry David Thoreau’s classic, Walden; or A Life In The Woods, but better known simply as Walden.

We had to read that book for my rhetoric class, and yesterday was our class discussion on it. In my opinion, Thoreau was an obnoxious asshole who thought he was better than other people, but was actually a spoiled little privileged piece of shit. (You can only imagine how much my class of English nerds loved hearing that…)

The class is cross-sectioned, meaning various majors can take the class because it can be applied to multiple fields, such as English, Crit Lit, Philosophy, and people like me, in the writing program (I however, am the only person in the class from the writing program.)

So there I am, stuck in this class with all these English majors who are trained to read between the lines and are saying things like, “Oh I noticed Thoreau’s use of religious metaphors, I wonder what the Christian context of this book is and how it impacted and influenced Thoreau in his life?”

And in my head, I’m like…. NONE! He literally states in the book that he hates organized religions. Most likely he described the woods as a Garden of Eden because he was writing to America in the 1800’s when almost everyone was a devout Christian, so it was just an easy metaphor!

Ugh… academics are so far up their own fuckin ass sometimes.

walde

 

ANYWAYS, that isn’t what this post is about. It’s about this: 

At one point, one of the English major guys was reading his favorite passage from Walden, where Thoreau is listing off all the fauna he sees in the Walden woods.

And the guy reads the word lichen. But he pronounces it as Lich-in even though the word is pronounced as Lie-kin. And I sat there and paused.

Suddenly, memories rushed into my head.

I remembered eating lichen when I was up North in the NWT.

NWT

After I graduated from college in Los Angeles, I was destroyed. I was depressed, lonely, and miserable. I had an eating disorder. I was getting sick all the time. I had a sex addiction. I was collapsing all over the place.

I had also fallen in love with American Transcendentalism, and had already read a bit of Thoreau (and didn’t like him much). I was also reading people like Emerson and Muir. They all praised the ideas of running away into the woods, escaping the trappings of the capitalist lifestyle, and living in the moment.

I searched and searched for a form of redemption. I needed to run away and escape LA. I needed to escape the hell I was living in.  Finally, I found an opprotunity to live up North where my shelter would be provided. I would be living 90 miles away from the nearest road. The only way to and from the lake I’d be living on was hiking it, or float plane. I’d have to make at least a 3 month commitment in order to have my transportation paid for. I would be living in a “Cabin” that was really just a plywood box.

Below are a few pictures for you. When I got really sad, I took chalk and drew on the inside of my cabin walls! It always made me feel happier.

 

Ok, I’m getting lost in thought.  Stay on track, stray on track!

 

So, at one point, we had a group of people from the Dene tribe living with us, bringing the grand total of people living in the woods to a whopping 10.  However, it was better than a few weeks before when there were only 2 of us.  That shit was like The Shining.

NWT

 

OMG, I’m getting off track again.

Look, long story short, we had to live off the land. We grew our own food (The 30 days of light really helped with things growing crazy fast), we hunted moose, we fished for whitefish and Pike. And, it being the Boreal Forest, we foraged. The Far North is loaded with wild strawberries, raspberries, juniper berries, Rosehips, spinach, this green plant that’s sort of like spinach, and my absolute favorite, Saskatoon berries. Saskatoon berries made the best jam in the whole world! Another food source, the Dene told us, was lichen, Reindeer Moss in particular. They showed us many ways to eat it, sometimes simply mixing it into whatever you’ve just cooked to add more nutrition.  I became the foregoing king. Like a truffle pig surrounded by….idk…some really fertile truffle forest i suppose, I could spot a wild berry bush from a mile away.

 

Flash-forward to yesterday: I’m back in the classroom, listening to this beatnik blabber on about how mystical it is that Thoreau found plants in the woods.

And I asked myself… Who actually understands Thoreau better? This English nerd could read Walden 500 times, but he’ll mispronounce lichen every time. Also, has he ever even seen lichen? Has he ever eaten it?

I felt a rush of self confidence come over me. These academics like to think they’re the smartest people in the world. They think they know everything better than everyone else.

But do they? 

How much have they actually been through? What do they really know?

There is a quote, but I don’t really know how it goes. It says something like:

One man grows up sitting inside reading books about knives, another man grows up working in a shed making knives. Which of the two is more likely to cut himself?

Point is, I’m realizing as I get older that I’ve actually done a lot, and I’ve been through a lot. A lot that other people haven’t ever been through. And slowly but surely, my confidence level grows. My self respect increases. I feel more and more worthy.

Yes, I ran away into the woods because I was a complete mess…. but how many people can say they’ve ran away into the woods? How many people grew their own food and caught their own fish? How many people get to see the Northern Lights?

And I think a lot of us are like that.  Those who have been through things like depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD, or just being the outcast who had no one to turn to…any and all of it really. 

We may not have had the easiest lives, but we got degrees from the school of hard knocks, which taught us valuable lessons. Lessons that maybe we don’t even know we’ve learned yet. And as corny as it sounds, I think that’s worth something.

I think maybe it makes our story all the more interesting.

It’s like the end of that Robert Frost poem:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

Which again, academics just love to get this one wrong. It’s really popular these days in English classes to teach that Frost didn’t think “the road less traveled” was any more exciting or fulfilling. They say he believed it was simply, different.

To that, I say fuck y’all. That’s just more talk from people who have spent their lives in the plushes of academia.

Was being a complete mess in LA, then losing my mind, and running away into the woods the easy option?

No. of course not.

But then I think about an alternative; The paved, easy path. I wonder what my life would have looked like if I had gone to some big public university in a college town in Ohio or something, joined a frat, drank at parties, and instagrammed it….would that have been a better life? HELL FUCKIN’ NO. 

After all, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

 

Keep on walkin’!

~ The Dark Horse

 

The Internet Has Gotten Meaner

mean

 

So, question for everyone out there… is anyone else noticing that Americans are just fucking insane these days? I started this blog in what, 2013 or something? And never did I have a problem with crazy people harassing me.  In fact, I used to have a rule where I would allow and like any comment on my blog, even if it was saying I was full of shit. Because I believe that it’s important to hear multiple opinions.

But ever since we entered the Trump era, things have changed. They’ve gotten progressively worse actually. Now, it’s become a regular occasion to log-on and have multiple comments telling me that I’m a shitty person.

 

I just got back from China where I had an internship all summer. In China they have the “Great Firewall” so I haven’t been able to check WordPress until today. Logging on and looking at the comments and stuff from the past few months, there were multiple insane,  enraged, hateful comments.  And for what?  If anyone has read this blog, it’s me talking about depression, anxiety and how I’m an outcast.  What about that is enough to send people into a spiral of rage?   I’m reminded of the Dixie Chicks song Not Read To Make Nice where she says,

“And how in the world
Can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Saying that I better
Shut up and sing
Or my life will be over?”

 

And granted, I have written an Anti-Trump post:

Being INFJ During The Trump Era

and yes, a majority of the hatred is aimed at this post. Where I’m told daily that I’m not a patriot, or a Christian, or a good person, or intelligent, and so on.

But still…. people… my blog has like 300 followers. I’m really not worth targeting with giant 20-paragraph long comments that have no plot or coherent message. Can’t you go find something better to do with yourselves?  For example, perhaps you could go learn to be the good Christians you claim to be? I don’t know… just an idea.  

 

Anyways, I guess my point is this:  my post never calls anyone out by name (Except Trump one time…but fuck that guy) so it really isn’t hurting anyone, is it? In fact, my blog doesn’t really go against anyone in general, so I’m really confused by the recent wave of online anger that been brewing the past year or two.   Let’s all try to regain our humanity a little bit? You’re more than welcome to disagree with me and tell me why you disagree. And I’ll like your comment, respond to it, and post it too!  But when the best thing you can tell me is that I’m a stupid fake who is evil…. and then can’t even provide me with examples… then there’s a problem.

Oh, and before I go….

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I just had to re-apply some Shade quick…

 

 

Later bitches,

The Dark Horse

 

A Simple Moment

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So, I was walking along the Charles River the other evening, and despite my intense desire to this hate world and fill my mind with pessimism….I saw this.

 

I took this picture of a mother goose with her little chicks all cuddled up with each other to stay warm. In that moment my heart was melting.  And I hate it when my heart melts because It feels like weakness…but uuuuugggghhhhhhhh BABY GEESE CHICKS!

Just look at em!

Even the coldest, hardest heart has to give in sometimes.

 

river

As I walked along the river, the cuteness continued.  There were goose chicks everywhere!  Some looked like teenage geese, while others were just learning how use their little flippers to walk. Mother and father geese stood guard as their little ones plopped in and out of the river.  I have never seen so many geese chicks before, and I’ve never been able to be so close to them!  These geese didn’t even care that we were there.  I’m gonna say there was probably like, at least 50 geese chicks around me.  Waddling with the adorableness of springtime.

I just said the adorableness of springtime…  Ugh, I hate myself right now.

But cmon, how can you not feel all gooey inside after watching little chicks waddle their butts and trip over their flippers that are just way too big for their little baby goose bodies?

 

Anyways, what’s my point here?  Oh, right!  Ok, the point here is this:  We have a way of getting so lost in our heads sometimes that we forgot to enjoy the world around us.  We stress about things, we regret the past, we dread the future, we feel lonely, we feel overworked, we feel a lot of things.  But then suddenly, a baby goose waddles by and instantly you’re brought back into the real world. You’re pulled out from that dark cavernous head of yours and you remember…..

…Oh yeah, the sun is shining. It’s a blue sky. I have an ice tea with me. And there is complete unabashed innocence and purity waddling right on by. That goose chick doesn’t care about struggles, he just wants to catch up to his buddies who are learning how to grow up and fly. He’s living in the moment….SO WHY AREN’T WE?

Let’s try and find more moments to enjoy. let’s try to find more moments that will bring us into the real world.  More moments that will make us smile, because let’s all be real here…. we humans never smile enough.

 

Go get inspired!

~ The Dark Horse

ANOTHER ROUND OF EXPOSURE THERAPY

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Hey everyone out there with anxiety and panic! Have you ever said to yourself,

“Gee wiz fellas, you know what I think would just be too great for my mental health? Extremely small, confined spaces, that are dark, smelly, and require lots of physical exertion?”

Well then, I have I got the place for you! 

Do you know those Escape Rooms that are so popular?  Well did you know that there is a chain called Boda Borg?  It’s like a Chucky Cheese playpen for adults. You go in and it’s literally 20 escape rooms. Very elaborate, long, multiple-roomed escape rooms. Some are more mental, some are more physical. Some require both.

I’ve made a good group of friends here at Harvard through a gaming club. And it’s been discussed that we should do a Boda Borg day sometime. And well, yesterday ended up being the day.

 

***A brief history for anyone reading this post who hasn’t read my blog in the past***

I’ve struggled with depression since I was a kid (bullying and being gay in conservative America…blah blah blah, you get it.)  And then after years of not taking care of myself and never addressing the depression,  I started breaking out into anxiety attacks at 20. By 23, I was full-blown agoraphobic. That’s when I started writing this blog. And from there I started the very long, bumpy road of recovery from completely insane, to regaining my humanity in an attempt to live my life rather than hide from it…

 

So anyways, when I arrived at Boda Borg yesterday, I was like… Oh holy fuck. 

boda3

 

Have you ever watched those claustrophobic movies like The Descent? Or how about weird torture movies like SAW? And have you been like, thank god I don’t have to go through that?  Then great news! In Boda Borg you can do both! 

descent

 

 

Our first “Mission” was called PLATOON. And we walked into this room and had to find the supplies that we were told to get.  Once we found them, A tiny little door that you had to crawl into was unlocked. And when I say tiny little door, I’m not kidding.  Here’s an example of what the door-openings look like:

boda7

 

It was practically pitch-black inside, with only a few little orange lights to add just enough light to allow to see where the walls were.

Inside this dark box, you realized you have to crawl and snake your way between platforms UPWARDS in almost complete blackness. You climb your way all the way from crawling-height on the first floor, up to the second floor!  (I graciously made a visual representation for everyone below)

 

ENTER

 

Oh and I forgot to mention!!!  So, every time you progress to a new room in Boda Borg, the door closes behind you AND LOCKS! So, we get into this cramped area and the door locks behind us, and it’s tight, and dark, so sort of disorienting. I try pushing the little door open to get some light in, but it’s locked… Now, I don’t believe in God. But in that moment, I silently said to God, or the Universe, or whatever, “Look, if you allow me to have a panic attack in front of my newfound friends, I swear, I will fucking kill you.”

We started snaking our way up the platforms, on our knees, bending our bodies, lifting ourselves up little by little. I could feel panic at my side. I could feel it just wanting to break loose and cause havoc. But, I stayed calm.  Deep breath in, deep breath out, and lift!  Up to the next platform I went. Then I crawled over to the next opening. Deep breath in, deep breath out, and lift! When we finally made it to the top and I could see the light of the room (which, the rooms themselves can be claustrophobic to some, but after snaking your way through thatthe rooms are a refreshing wide-open expanse.

boda2

 

But soon you figure out that Boda Borg is filled with nothing but these panic-inducing tactics.  Almost everything requires crawling through tight passageways, or climbing up tight passageways, or climbing across tight passageways (as I found in one tube that had monkey-bars running through it. The tube itself is lined with sensors, so if your body touches it at any point, you fail and have to restart the entire mission.)

 

boda4

 

As the day went on, it began to get fun. It’s like a panic attack actually.  When you start getting panic attacks, you’re like,

OH MY GOD I’M DYING!!!!!!!

But after a hundred panic attacks, you’re like…

OMG WHATEVER, THESE HAVEN’T KILLED ME YET. I’M SO OVER IT.

It’s just like that.  Another room, another insanely claustrophobic space that you’ve been locked into.  But they haven’t killed you so far, right?

I started loosening up. I started really enjoying myself. I started to have a lot of fun!  We ended up being there 8 hours! You can buy a 35 dollar day pass that allows you unlimited access the entire day.  And we we’re determined to beat all 20 missions.

boda1

Here’s a great example btw:  When I say these spaces are tight, I’m not kidding.  They’e like the scenes in Alien where they’re climbing through the ventilation ducts

alien

 

But here’s one thing I will say: Having friends there helped so much. Knowing that you were there with friends as a team, was amazing. Because you weren’t alone. You weren’t abandoned. And isn’t that really the root cause of most of our anxiety and panic anyways?  It’s always the fear that we’re going to be helpless somehow?

But with friends there, it’s fun. You have support. You have laughter. You have fun!

And that’s so true with mental health in general.  Humans are social creatures. We need meaningful interaction with others, otherwise, we lose our fuckin’ brains. I know a lost of us like to think that we’re the lone wolf or whatever, but take it from someone who literally had to be a lone wolf for some much of my life…

It isn’t fun and it isn’t glorious. It’s fucking miserable. 

I fully believe that support is the number 1 key to helping us stay sane and happy.  And I’m glad that I’ve made some friends here, and I’m glad that I’m in a place where I can challenge my depression, anxiety, and panic.

What do you guys think helps you the most when confronting your fears?

 

~ The Dark Horse

(And no, this isn’t proofread. It’s summer vacation, and I aint proofreading shit)