music is life, music is breath, music is us


Blurry Beating (short film on Agoraphobia)

I saw this today and was crying by the end of it. I have had panic disorder with agoraphobia/depression since age 17 (the most severe strain of agoraphobia took hold at UCLA, kind of ironic that I reached my goal only to be unable to enjoy the campus). It isn’t something you get over, and it most certainly (if you truly have it) is not “all in your head.” At best, you try to handle it, but no matter what it is there. It doesn’t, as with any mental illness, simply go away. You can go to therapy, take your medicine, practice meditation/yoga/qigong (all of which I have done or am still doing), but it will be a part of you no matter what. If it is anything like I’ve experienced, it can derail your entire life, taking you from a fully functioning individual to a shell of a person who cannot walk 3 ft out of your home. It’s your brain’s neural reaction, and it is something neuroscientists still aren’t clear of the true cause, but all signs seem to lead in many ways to biochemistry in the mind (specifically with panic disorder as severe as mine, which causes the agoraphobia rather than agoraphobia being a stand-alone disorder like it is for some). This is a short film that is indie directed, and honestly if you have struggled with similar problems, you’ll get it. Is it totally accurate for every type of agoraphobia (i.e. agoraphobia as a symptom vs. agoraphobia as the illness itself)? No. However, it is difficult to translate physical symptoms that people have never felt into film art, especially since so many different illnesses can cause agoraphobia. I dedicate this to anyone who suffers, either in silence or out in the open, with mental illness. It is a cornerstone of my life, and I have accepted that, and I talk about it to let society know that I’m no less human than anyone else. I take it day to day, and some days are as bad as the protagonist has in this film.


6 responses

  1. Commendable on your part, Derek. I hear and get your words. I have a friend whose wife just had to quit her job because, in part, of her agoraphobia. She has been through an endless stream of meds, counseling and procedures. I know what they, as a couple, have been through. I find this clip to be a bit ‘tip of the iceberg’ and perhaps, too simplistic in its message. The depth of the affliction is so much deeper, even if/when portrayed in such promising, positive, and encouraging terms – even through an indie directed lens. Shared with empathy and due respect.

    December 15, 2013 at 12:43 am

    • Oh yeah, I mean to make a film about this is nearly impossible. But like I said, it is difficult to truly convey this issue with all its complexities. But I really appreciate you sharing and taking the time to watch. One love.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:45 am

  2. Thanks for the follow on friendlyfairytales. I can’t imagine not leaving my house, I go stir-crazy if I don’t get out for a day or two. We have so many comforts now, with stereos, flat rate long distance phone calling, grocery delivery, TV, internet connectivity, that must be some comfort. I have the opposite issue. I get claustrophobic in small spaces. I need to walk outside to feel happy. I wonder why, as a society, we have to all try to behave according to some range of “normal” that other people approve. If we don’t we need to be “medicated” or counseled. As if someone without our issue would have a prayer of understanding or “talking us out of it.” Agoraphobia and claustrophobia will probably prove to be genetic, to have been instrumental to our survival as a species. It makes sense to avoid things that make you uncomfortable. You sound like a peaceful person. Peace and Joy, Brenda

    December 15, 2013 at 2:17 am

    • hey thanks for the thoughtful response. My mom has claustrophobia so I get it. Enjoy the blog, there’s tons of stuff here so you are bound to find something you like musically.

      December 15, 2013 at 2:24 am

      • I will come again. Hugs, Brenda

        December 15, 2013 at 2:45 am

  3. Pingback: Getting the Agoraphobia Out In the Open | janetkwest

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