Life with Depression, Anxiety and Agoraphobia
Healing is messy. There will be both good and bad days. We need to be patient and gentle with ourselves
On the morning of 27th July, I was getting ready to keep my appointment with my psychiatrist scheduled at 10.30 a.m. I was already feeling exhausted despite only being awake for 4 hours.
I don’t struggle to shower but I struggle a lot to change into clothes that are acceptable in public and comb my hair. It just takes a huge toll on me.
I finally got ready and checked the time on my phone only to realize that I had a text from the nurse who works at the psychiatric clinic.
‘Hi Dharrsheena, good morning. Dr. Salina has a meeting to attend and hence can’t meet you today. Is it okay if you meet Dr. Victor*?’
*Victor isn't his real name
My anxiety skyrocketed and I was very agitated. I don’t do well with sudden changes, surprises, or any form of spontaneity.
I’ll give an analogy as an example. If I were to be given a ball, throwing the ball right at me would cause me extreme stress and anxiety.
I would prefer for the ball to be rolled slowly towards me. That way, I know the ball is coming and I can prepare myself to receive it.
I’ve been seeing Dr. Salina for the past year and I have never seen any other psychiatrist. I didn’t even know who Dr. Victor was.
I thought of cancelling the appointment but remembered that I still needed to go there to get my medications. So, I texted the nurse back.
‘Hi, good morning! I don’t think I would want to meet Dr. Victor. I’ll just wait for my new appointment date to meet Dr. Salina but I’ll come there shortly to collect my medications.’
I got a prompt reply from her.
‘Oh no, Dr. Victor is really good. You can meet him and collect your medications.’
I knew there was no point arguing with her so I texted back a quick ‘Okay’ and left my house.
Ten minutes later, I reached the clinic. I found a parking spot and quickly parallel parked. I was about to get out of my car when a car pulled up behind me.
My agoraphobia which was right beneath the surface when I left my house immediately reared its ugly head high above the surface.
I had to open my car door and quickly open my umbrella as it was raining and I was panicking doing that in the view of the person who parked behind me.
So, I thought I would wait until they got out of their car. I waited for 15 minutes and it was already 10.25 a.m.
This made me panic even more because I always like to be where I have to be at least 20 minutes earlier than the time I’m supposed to be there.
My fear of not being punctual took over and I got out of the car and quickly opened my umbrella. To my horror, the rain had stopped! I didn’t realize it! Now I was going to look like a fool walking with an umbrella.
I wanted to close the umbrella and put it back in my car but the person was still inside their car behind me and I was so scared of embarrassing myself.
It was going to be so embarrassing to have opened an umbrella without realizing the rain had stopped, then realizing and closing it and putting it back inside my car.
It was also going to be so embarrassing if I walked to the clinic with an open umbrella when it wasn’t raining.
I just didn’t know how to get out of this situation and I was panicking because I didn’t know which would be less embarrassing.
I could feel a full-blown panic attack on the way and I quickly decided I was just going to walk to the clinic with an open umbrella.
So, that’s what I did, pretending there was an imaginary rain and thank God the incoming panic attack subsided.
Upon reaching the clinic, the nurse took my vitals and while doing that, she did what I hated the most. Small talk!
I just tried my best to go along with it, smiling (not that she could see it over my face mask) and nodding whenever necessary.
Shortly after, I was called into the room by Dr. Victor. He asked how I was doing. I straight up told him that I have a difficult time talking let alone opening up to new people but I will answer whatever questions he asked if I felt comfortable with it.
I knew he wouldn’t mind as I saw papers from my file sprawled out on his table. He must have studied my file before calling me in. I’m sure he knew I was an introvert.
“What is your daily routine like?” he asked.
“Now it mostly revolves around Vocal, the platform I write for. I’ll either be writing something new, researching a topic I’m bound to write about, or reading the stories of other writers”, I answered.
He then asked, “Do you spend time outdoors?”
“Yup, just within my house compound but only about once or twice a week after I started writing on Vocal because sometimes when I’m writing, I don’t want to interrupt the momentum”, I said truthfully.
He then went on and on about the benefits of being outdoors, the sunlight, and the fresh air. If that wasn’t enough, he started going on about doing things out of my comfort zone.
“Do you exercise?” he asked to which I replied, “Yes, about 5 days a week. I do indoor walking for an hour each day and that covers about 7500 steps which is equivalent to 5.5 km”.
He suggested I expose myself to the outdoors more. He said I should be able to set goals for myself as I’m the only one who knows me the best.
I have a very short attention span and at that moment, I was thankful for that because although what he said did trigger me, I didn’t feel the full impact of it as I had already partially zoned out.
He then continued talking about something which I have no recollection of as I had fully zoned out at this point. I was somewhere else but my body was sitting in front of him and nodding whenever it felt appropriate.
I only zoned back in when he handed me my medications and said, “Please don’t overdose. I read what you did in your file”.
“Don’t worry, I won’t. I’m in a better place now”
“Even if you’re not in a better place, please don’t ever do it. It would hurt everyone around you and those who care about you. Even we feel depressed if our patients do this. Don’t be selfish”.
Selfish. That word triggered me so bad but I remained calm, thanked him, and walked out of his room.
On the way back home, I could only think about how shitty he made me feel about myself.
Yes, this is the first time he has met me and just reading up about me from my file doesn’t really help him to know exactly what I had gone through and currently going through.
He may have said everything he did with good intentions and I’m not blaming him in any way. I’m just saying how it made me feel.
He said I needed to step out of my comfort zone, gradually, every two weeks. What he doesn’t know is the extent I struggle even inside my comfort zone.
Not every day is a good day. I have days where I still can’t do anything, even the things in my comfort zone.
So for now, my priority is to be comfortable in my comfort zone. I’m not at all living but merely surviving as life is a struggle for me.
He told me to not be selfish. If I indeed was selfish, I would have done what I did before reaching my teenage years.
I held on and did my best to survive for 21 years before giving in to the demons in my head.
Calling me selfish only makes me want to do it more as I felt unappreciated for the effort I had put in for 21 years.
But don’t worry, I won’t. I love writing and I’m so happy to have discovered Vocal and the Vocal Facebook groups where I’ve made wonderful friends.
The reason I wrote this was to show how mentally unstable I am, how my depression, anxiety, and agoraphobia affect me, and how small things trigger me.
I’ve pushed myself beyond my breaking point for far too long and now, I want to be gentle and patient with myself.
I’ve forced myself to do things I don’t like just for the happiness of others but now, I want to focus on my happiness.
Now, I need to be there for myself. I need to put myself first. I need to be my number one priority.
Thank you for reading this. If you liked my writing, please subscribe and click the heart.
About the Creator
Dharrsheena Raja Segarran
My mental health decline brought along a lot of Darkness and I embraced it. This Darkness flows out in the form of Horror Stories and Dark Poetry 🖤
FB Profile - Dharrsheena Raja Segarran 💖
FB Group - True Crime, Horror Story and Dark Poetry
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I just realized that though I have read this a few times, I have never commented. I think you are incredibly brave to share things about yourself like this, especially with the tremendous effort that just daily living requires. Our writing is like a silhouette of our inner selves, very often telling little secrets about us that even we sometimes don't realize. I don't agree with Dr. Victor saying anything you do is selfish for a number of reasons. Because he is NOT your usual doctor does not give him the right to cast you in any sort of negative light. If he had put the effort into reading your file that he wanted to present by having it in front of him, he should have had the professionalism to treat you in an appropriate manner. I can tell by your writings that you are highly intelligent, and that you care deeply for others, which is probably at the root of your desire to be "seen as doing things appropriately " in public. I'm very proud of your efforts to be kind when it is so much more gratifying not to be, and for supporting others. Despite what you call a mental health decline, I see a bright, gifted individual with the potential to accomplish anything in time. 😉
Thank you for writing this… it’s hard to be vulnerable in our writing but it’s so important to share and normalize not feeling ok. Writing is therapeutic for me as well and I understand so many of the feelings expressed in this piece. Sending you ❤️❤️❤️
Hi Dhar, sorry it took me so long to read this, going through my own ups and downs, I hope you are doing well. You are brave, I'm not sure that I could do therapy, I would rather write in solitude. I really hope it helps you though, talking through stuff with someone is more healthy than bottling it up. Be well my friend.
Writing can be so therapeutic. You have done so well to be to open up about your situation :) it's far from an easy thing to do. Thank you for sharing ❤️
You are so courageous!!! You are not alone!!! Sending love & hugs!!!
As I have written elsewhere: No map is needed To find the Natural Way. Any path will do. Your path is yours and you're walking it just find from where I'm standing. :-)
Beautifully written my friend, I felt your anxiety and tamped down anger at lack of bedside manner. I have more to write to you but it's of a more sensitive nature than seems appropriate here. Well done!
Choice of words are utmost important and what he said was not right. Yet again we can’t blame anyone because different people see this from different perspective. All I can say is stay strong and do things in your comfort zone first💕
Writing always helps the mind to release bad stuff. It's good that you are able to do things now. Always put yourself first. A beautiful article.
Do whatever is best for you! I struggle with anxiety a lot.There are times when life seems overwhelming, like I can no longer handle it. I am not saying this to gain sympathy, just to show that you are not alone, and there are people out there who care and understand.
Selfish?! Oh my god, I woulda socked him! I'm so sorry this happened, but well done in describing your frustration. I'm so grateful you're here. Neither of us is selfish, and neither of us will do it. Deal?
I hope that you are not forced to have to see Dr. Victor again. This suggestions about you getting outside of your comfort zone and being outdoors more often or wrong. He should have been congratulating you on finding an outlet with Vocal. Instead he went right past the day-to-day baby steps that a person needs to take in their healing and he went right for the big steps. The other parts of your healing will come with time. Right now you need to focus on what is making you feel good and keeping your busy and occupied. Also he did not have to bring up the overdosing thing and the selfish comment. None of that needed to be said. Fortunately you made it through a visit with him and you're here and able to write about it. That is a win.
Gosh, thank you for being so open and brave in sharing your story. It’s refreshing to see such raw humanness in your writing, and I’m so angry at his use of selfish. Your writing really made that word sit with me, let alone how you felt. You have a real talent, please keep writing! ♥️
It was a pleasure to read this honest and compelling snapshot into your everyday life. Talking about your struggles can be empowering. Well done! I also identify with something seemingly small setting one off. You are bringing light to real world issues that are sometimes unsaid. Thank you.
Dharrsheena, my heart goes out to you. Healing is a messy affair, and it takes a long time to overcome are greatest enemies (the ones which live within us). Thank you for sharing. I've found that it helps to express the things we keep bottled up inside of us, to let it flow freely. Keep going one day at a time, doing whatever you have to do to heal and thrive. Bless you, my dear, and live long and prosper.
I loved that you were able to release your thoughts and emotions into your writing and that you had the incredible courage to share it :) I hope you're able to look back on what you wrote and realize just how strong you are and how hard you're trying. I appreciate all of the writing you do because it's always so authentic. Keep doing you, friend
Aww, healing is messy, and individualized. No one can fully understand what another is going through, even if it is the same event. We all react, decompress and heal differently. Yay for you and the distance you have covered! Being able to share this part of you is huge, thank you for being so vulnerable. This was a very selfless act, that will benefit someone else <3
Such an honest and brave story. Thank you for sharing.
thank you for sharing.
You know it is relatable I don't like unexpected change either. My last counseling session- My counselor was leaving anyway for a new job- said "OK NO NEW PEOPLE....DONE!", about a week before lockdown 2020. Need to o again I think BUT HAVEN'T been in a car ANYWHERE since,,, Going stir crazy BUT won't budge I THINK THAT FILL IN DR WAS RUDE TO CALL YOU SELFISH- Not Supportive as they ARE SUPPOSED TO BE. My teacher/mom I talked to on my b-day said I need to go out -get sun & fresh air..."We don't have fresh air outside" Anyway Too many people wanna push "get out of your comfort zone" I HATE THAT! DIG IN HARDER TO "NO!" Do you! When and as much as YOU feel COMFORTABLE! Best wishes
The fact that you can write it out is very healthy. I think you may be doing better than you think.
Thank you for sharing your story - that, in itself, must be scary! Yes, you take care of YOU - and keep writing! 😄
I am sorry . You tried and that’s all that matter. Dr. Victor might not be a go fit for you. How you feel is how it affect your day. I learn to say No bye practicing in the mirror. I know by experience Asian culture it matter what others think of you no matter if it’s true or not. Positive affirmations and positive self talk can improve the process. I wish you will. I glad that you are kind to yourself. As you get older you will learn what some doctor say is not law. They only knew for a few hours and base on others opinion. This take me back to Sindfield the show with Elaine. You know yourself best and what work best for you. 🌹♥️🙏🏽
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Good on you! I used to have no problem performing in bands and singing in front of people. Even public speaking wasn't a problem to me. Until I contracted a lung disease. After going through the experience that I was suffocating or drowning a few times my anxiety levels have become just as you have described. I can now relate to everything you have mentioned here. From prefering to stay home, to being on time for appointments. good job my dear friend and best wishes.👍