“I think what I have been through has made me more courageous. It’s made me more wholehearted, much more empathetic with and for people that find it difficult being in the world, because it’s a difficult world to be in.”
Philip sought help after being harassed and bullied by his neighbour. He worked with a therapist to recognise and talk about his anxiety and create strategies to move forward.
I think what I have been through has made me more courageous. It’s made me more wholehearted, much more empathetic with and for people that find it difficult being in the world, because it’s a difficult world to be in.
For me, growing up as a kid being disabled, living in a non-disabled family and a predominantly non-disabled world, and then in my late teens coming out as being gay and that adding another layer of difference and kind of feeling like I didn’t fit and having to find or create my own place and invite people into that, I think that layered experience just created the foundation of anxiety.
One of my neighbours began being aggressive and abusive to me. So he knew who I was because of my profile, so he would yell homophobic slurs. It was just a feeling of despair, hopelessness, helplessness, real fear.
This experience of bullying was a … I think I was just deeply shocked. I just lost my faith in humanity. I couldn’t believe that people would target someone like me who is obviously physically vulnerable. But you know, I kind of have always been an advocate for human rights and fairness and equality, and it impacted me at a soul level. You know, it was a spiritual disappointment.
Luckily, I got a gem of a new neighbour, and so that was such a relief. I contacted a therapist that I've worked with. She allowed me to protect myself – so to, you know, visualise a field around me of protection, to see the anxiety that I’ve felt as something that was outside of me rather than inside of me, recognising that anxiety is just a feeling.
It was that ability to articulate what I was feeling during those 2 years – that was one of the things that kept me on the planet.
What I have learnt about my anxiety was that it was real. It was a real response to a real situation. And so I think it’s important to ask for help. Ask anyone for help and keep asking because you might not get it the first time.