Category Archives: panic

ANOTHER ROUND OF EXPOSURE THERAPY

bodamain

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. 

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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! 

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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:

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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.

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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.)

 

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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.

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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

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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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best Mental Health Resource You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

beyond

 

So, one of the best resources for depression and anxiety I’ve ever experienced is an Australian website called Beyondblue.  Now, since most of you reading this have never lived in Australia, you probably have never heard of Beyondblue, hence the post!

It’s a great site that is friendly and fun (which really there isn’t enough of when talking about mental health).

The best part is that it covers EVERYTHING there is to cover.  If you scroll down on their homepage, you’ll find this:

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Who cares if this website wasn’t designed for our country, it’s great!  Plus it’s fun and funny.  I mean, just look at this video:

 

Now, this is not a paid advertisement I’m writing here  (although, fuck that would be amazing if I actually made money from this little blog)   But why I’m writing about this is actually because it is so important. 

Everything: Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, and Panic.  They’re all so scary to go through alone.  They’re extremely distressing.  That’s why it’s such a relief to go onto a website that is bright colorful, friendly, and funny.

We need that stuff!

We need more people telling us how to prepare ourselves for the bad times, how to live through the bad times, and how to thrive after them.   I hate always having people look at depression and stuff as like, “Well, my life is over…too bad.”

But that isn’t the case.   I remember when the show Lady Dynamite came out on Netflix there was a review for it that said, this isn’t a show about living with mental illness, it’s a show about thriving with mental illness. 

And I love that.  Let’s all learn to thrive.  It’s hard, sure.  But damn, it’s gotta be worth it!

Check out Beyonblue below!

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety

The Importance Of Having Role Models With Mental Illness

carrie

 

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!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do People Love To Put Others Down (Or, Let’s Learn To Tell Em’ To Fuck Off)

put

 

So, this world is full of pathetic people who desperately try to fit in, and in that quest, they literally end up getting lost in their own bullshit.   Then these people live their lives trying to be a constructed image of themselves to portray to the world.    These people….sadly…end up being a majority of the populous.  The commoner.

Take this for example, in the year 2000, it would have been deemed super lame to like superheroes.  Flash-forward to modern times…

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…And this infographic literally started at 2014… almost a good 6 years after the superhero craze began.

 

 

 

For another example, in the year 2000 liking music that used the banjo would have been seen as really stupid…

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And then suddenly bands like Mumford and Sons, and Old Crow Medicine show and shit dominated the hipster market.  The banjo became commonplace.

 

 

The point is, everything is relative.  “Cool” is literally dictated by the companies who sell you the product.   Don’t believe me?  OVERALLS are back people… fucking overalls.

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God, if you’re real, please destroy Coachella.   Also, PS people… like this fucker even knows what Ziggy Stardust is or who David Bowie is.  Which brings up another great point.  In 2000, liking artists that your parents listened to would have been extremely uncool.  However, in the present day people are buying Led Zeppelin shirts without even knowing any of their songs.

 

OK, SO WHAT IS MY POINT RIGHT?

My point is, be yourself.  Anyone who wants to put you down for dressing the way you dress, liking the music you like, or the way you act, or whatever the case… they’re all just posers.  They only like what is popular right now because they lack personality.  If you like bubble pop and miss bands like Aqua, then whatever, blast that music all you want.  In 20 years it will probably be cool again and suddenly the commoners will love you.

 

And secondly, don’t even let the common man’s opinions bring you down.  Once you know how easily the commoner is bought and sold, then their opinion should mean nothing.

Sure, they will love telling you not to chase your dreams, or to be more normal, or whatever-the-fuck.  But all you gotta is put a bitch in their place.

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OF COURSE THIS IS A METAPHOR.. Don’t actually smack a ho.   But trust me, by being yourself and not caring about what they say, then they lose all their power.  So in a way, you’re still giving em a good….

 

 

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…and you’re giving it to em’ right where it hurts!

 

Alright people, stay strong and stay yourselves!

~The Dark Horse

 

 

I’m Actually Feeling Stronger, And So Can You!

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There is a surprisingly large number of muscular duck drawings online…

Im not sure why and I’m not going to ask.  I feel it’s just safer to live in ignorance.

 

Hopefully it caught your attention,  but the big news is that I’m actually feeling really good about myself right now!  HOW FUCKING AWESOME IS THAT?

 

My first semester at Harvard just finished and I got straight A’s.     I wrote a big thesis paper on the Heaven’s Gate group.  And to write the paper I interviewed multiple scholars who studied the group and some members who left the group before the mass suicide.  It was amazing!  I felt like an investigative reporter!   (Finals were the reason why I wasn’t blogging….it got intense).  But i absolutely loved every moment of it!

 

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On top of that, I got involved in one of the groups on campus and have been helping with putting together events and stuff, which is awesome.   I mean, if you were to ask me how satisfied I was with my life a year ago…the answer would have been dismal.   Very very dismal.  But after a lot of hard work and some should searching I feel like i’m coming more into myself.   I’m growing to be as strong and courageous as I always believed I could be.  Like some massive spark has been lit.

But let me hammer this point in….It takes work.  LOTS AND LOTS OF WORK.

For those of us out there with depression, anxiety, panic, and any other type of mental illness, TRYING IS FUCKING HARD.  

 

Like, seriously fucking almost impossible.

So, then what do we do?   Well for me, I just envision the life I want to live.   I want to change the world.  I want life to be amazing.  And how I see it, there are two options… give up and kill myself or try my fucking hardest to rock the shit out of this world!  And I think it’s worth it to try.

 

We only have one life.  We have to try.  And you know what, maybe we can end up changing the world!

 

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~ The Dark Horse

THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION: A Primer

Law of Attraction

 

Alright bitches listen up.   This is Law Of Attraction 101.  Sit down and buckle up buttercup cuz were in for one hell of a ride.

The other day I saw a comment from someone who told me about the law of attraction.  Now, the law of attraction isn’t a new concept to me and probably isn’t to any of you out there.  But, it’s something I feel we often forget about or don’t think about and remember enough.  So let’s jump right in!

The principle of the law of attraction is that thoughts, intentions, and beliefs are forms of energy.  And like energies attract to each other.  So for all y’all non-science folk out there, what this means is:

If you think and create a positive atmosphere, you shall receive more positives.  If you create a negative atmosphere, you shall receive more negative.

So, to all my homies out there with depression and anxiety (what! what!) This is SUPER BAD NEWS FOR US because we have a tendency to get lost in the negative and are unable to come out of it.  And you know what DOUBLE SUCKS? A lot of us out there have good reason to be the way we are.  A lot of us have been trampled on by others.  We’ve been treated unfairly.  Perhaps have been through traumatic experiences that haunt us.   So managing to produce positivity into the world is a lot fucking harder said than done.

 

But lets all be real here…

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If these two fuckers can do it, then so can we.

 

Yeah Pierce Brosnan, enjoy your happy-ever-after you lucky bastard…  Ok ok ok wait.  This is wrong.  I need to be positive and happy.   Must produce good will amongst men and whatnot.

How about this chart?  Let’s see if this helps:

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Ok nowhere on this chart does it say that I have to be happy for Pierce Brosnan…

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Ok but lets be real here.  We need to remember to focus on the good in life.  On something big and meaningful. something good!  And then you need to try and achieve those goals with the most honest and kind intentions you can muster.   Even if others treat you poorly, don’t then also treat others poorly, because all you’re doing is creating another unhappy person on this planet.

 

Still don’t believe me?  Well let’s just see what some other people have to say…

 

 

Ever hear of a little fellow named Albert Einstein?

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How about a certain someone named Buddha?

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Or maybe a man named Pierce Brosn…..what wait what?

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Dammit Brosnan!  get out of my damn blog post!  …altought, great quote.

 

So there ya go people.  Just remember.  Produce good.  Receive Good.

 

The Dark Horse