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Agoriphobicdl and my Story

Hi,

Sorry its a little long winded and i did leave out somestuff but im new and just tring to work it out.
P.S not a writer

So here is my story. I have always been a hard worker and try to do my best thru out my life. I started working at the age of 12 doing odd summer jobs for dishwashing to throwing hay. I have always worked and to my knowledge my employers all seemed to like my work ethic and performance. Before I go any further, I want to say that in my adult life I have always been a social person and make a lot of friends and meet new people. So, I guess ill start were things started to go down hill for me. I used to be an electrician worked in that field all together for around 10 years. During which I injured my back and was unable to work. I sought treatment but nothing seemed to work and the risk reward for surgery did not seem like a good idea.

I tried to go back to work several times but was only ever able to last for a week or a month before I would be back in serious pain. So, I finally gave in a tried to do what the doctors said and not do anything to put pressure on it which did not leave me a lot of options. Unable to work and going thru my savings to try to stay afloat it ran out quick. I ended up loosing my house and my car. This is were things got bad my family got me an apartment and I was grateful, but the depression started slipping in after a while I just didn’t know what to do It took my mother showing up at my apartment banging on my door in tears because she thought I may have been dead. In most cases of depression people stop communicating with other and this is why she was like this because I hadn’t answered the phone in weeks. Seeing her this way upset me, but I still did not really know what to do. She finally asked me to go with here to see a doctor. After seeing a psychiatrist and counseling I realized that this was something I had been dealing with all my life when I was a kid I didn’t know that there was something wrong with me I just thought everyone felt this way. So I trudged on with a smile on my face cause I didn’t want everyone to know how I felt. This became my mask people started calling me smiley because I always had a smile on my face. I had friend and I was not what you would call popular, but everyone knew me and seemed to like me. I was the person that could hang out with several different groups and no one minded. It was not till halfway thru my Junior year I switched high schools and made a new friend and he introduced me to his friends. One of his friends I met instantly became friends and for the next few years it was us three plus the coming and going of girlfriends and some friends that came and went along the way, but we were always together. I guess that kind of gave me a sense of belonging in my life and for the first time even thou I was still smiling all the time it was because I was happy. Well as all thing happen thing change; we grow up get jobs get married and there is not that strong bond there like it was and that ok. I got married and I got divorced there were several emotional scars left by that experience that to this day have not healed.

Now were back to where I broke away. I eventually pulled out of this depression and started to feel as normal as I could being medicated all the time. I started back to work as a waiter which I thought would easy me back into things easily. I was wrong. Shortly after I started working their management took notice an made me one of the main bartenders. So, after a while of working as a bartender there it got to be a little frustrating. Every bartender does stuff their own way and either Management set the bar up to be the way it is, or the head bartenders do. So, what would happen is there were two bars in this place one was in the restaurant area and had two huge projection screens for sports and other stuff depending on what was going on. This is were the money was made for the bartenders. The other bar was over in an area were there was billiard and stuff and did not have a steady client base. One day I asked my manager if I could just work in the other bar and not the main bar for a while. So it started out slow but with the help of some people like my brother that was also a bartender there. You can only imagine the insanity that went on with the two of us behind a bar. Playing off each other arguing and carrying on in a fun way. For the most part it was just me and with that help I started getting regulars coming in and it became something that was more then it had ever been to the point people were asking if they could get shift over there now. It still was not like the main bar, but it was because I made the connections and friends and poured a pretty good drink that I start to see some business. Now the others did not do as well as I did over there, and I only didn’t work that bar on rare events. Sadly, the property that the bar leased from was owned by a casino and had chosen to not renew the lease with the bar. Which is not unheard-of Casinos like to bring in new things for their customers. So, with no warning and a $25 dollar severance…… they closed their doors. Luckily, I had just moved like the week before so no longer needed them for an employment reference. So, I picked up odd bartending jobs here and there when some of the local bars needed extra help and I started working at one of the bars as a bouncer. I do not really like that word, but you get the work that I was doing. It continued like this for a few years and I had also picked up a job working for an authorized retailer for a cellular company. Well one of my old contacts reached out and told me that a friend of his was going to be managing a higher end restaurant and was looking for some bartenders. This was at the time something new in the area that besides the casino no one had try to do. It was not far from the casino so it was very possible that this idea they had could go over very well. So I met with the Manger which turned out to be two partners in managing the place and a “silent owner”…… so the managers told me what they had envisioned and said they would like me to start right away. Well I never really liked leaving a job without a notice, but this company wasn’t the most carrying of my needs so I was like sure the other bars and the bounce job I had people that I could get to replace me for as long as I needed or even take it over. The restaurant did quite well for a time, and it was one of those places that the Chefs were the ones that were the management. They were only open in the evening and so they would put together an employee meal each night before we opened some time we would all sit down and eat as a group or depending on what had to be prepped for that night we would just eat when we had time before we opened but it was always good food. These guys were amazing doing 5 and 7 course meals for couple to large groups and the bar was just an extension of the food they had recipes for everything. Were talking you were waiting at least 3 to 5 minutes for a drink depending on what the fresh ingredients were in it, and some of them were also part of a show when you made the drink I learned a lot of things there about cooking and making drinks. So, remember that silent owner I mentioned well he started to be not so silent the place was making money but it wasn’t enough I guess for him he started to cut corners not paying the bills one time and was acting all around a little shady. The managers invited us over to one of there houses for a meeting. They had cooked for use but we all kind of knew what it was about. They told us that as of today that they had parted ways with the owner and would not be returning and it was up to each of us to do what ever we thought was right in our own minds.

Well if they were not going to be there, I was not going to be there they were the ones I had signed on to work with. So just like that again out of a job, but not for long I had call up my brother and was talking to him and he told me of a business that his company did work with that was needing a service tech for a Point of Sale system. So I made a call talked with the owner and I had an interview later that week and just like that back to work. The job was nice and it delete with mainly people I was already familiar with restaurants and bars in town but they also had other types of clients, but for the most part this was nice for me cause I knew who I was working with and how from being in the business knowing what can happen on any given night. I could make suggestions. Things were going great. Then it happened woke up one morning and bang it was back I knew immediately what was going on. My depression was back, and it came back with a vengeance. Every time I took a job I away told them the truth I struggled with depression and they all seemed to be ok with it. So when they noticed that I didn’t seem like myself after a few days one of the people I worked with approached me and asked if everything was alright. I told him that I was having so issues with my depression and I was just waiting to get in to see the doctor. I had talked to my family physician and we finally decided that I should go and see a psychiatrist. So, I finally got in to meet with this psychiatrist and from the word go I was sure the guy was a major prick. I stuck with it giving the benefit of doubt and we tried a pharmacy full of medications over the course of 3 years. By this time it was so bad that try as they did the people that I worked for could not keep me on they needed someone to replace me, and I understood I was missing a lot of work and they were very accommodating. It was just one of those things. Shortly after this we finally found a combination and meds that work not to make me better but to keep me stable. He had also determined that it was not psychological trauma but an actual chemical imbalance in my brain. So, he suggested ECT I had my reservations about this. I kept picturing the movies where they did electroshock therapy on people. So here I am a 34-year-old man going in to see the doctor with his mom ha-ha. He explained the process and the risks and the percentages that 93 percent or something like that responded to this treatment and it was like what I had thought of like in the movies. So we decided that we would give this a shot I mean keep throwing things at a problem somethings go to stick. So, about Âľ of the way thru the treatment time he asked me had I noticed any improvement. Unfortunately, I had not, and he decided that we should not continue with the treatment. There was no need to put my body thru it if there was not any sign of improvement. Trust me I agreed. I kept seeing him for regular appointments and making minor med adjustment. One day I got a call from a company that wanted to hire me for something that was a very interesting job to me with my back ground as an electrician and growing up working on cars and other machinery as well as my computer skills they wanted to hire me as a commissioning engineer. To what that ment was that I would travel all over North America and work on job sites on the products that the company build for distribution centers I didn’t have to worry about my back because of I was coming in after the construction was done and was mainly testing the systems and if there was a problem finding solutions or talking and working with people back at the office to find it. I don’t know if any of you have ever had this, but seeing as my issue was a chemical imbalance this job was very exciting and produce what ever chemicals not necessarily the right ones to snap me out of my depression and after a few meeting with them I took the job I would be gone for a few weeks and the home for a bit which gave me time to see the psychiatrist. As per the norm I was upfront about the issues that I faced. I was good for about 2 years I was happy and was making a lot of money more then I had even when I was working as an electrician. Then it happened again on one of my trips home I started feeling sick and at first thought it was just a really bad cold took a couple of days extra off and then I realized that I did have a cold but that was not all I was having another depression episode. So, I was put on sick leave and started working with my doctor again and after about 6 months was feeling better and went back to work. Two months later I was in the hotel I slept for almost 2 days straight and when I was not sleeping, I was just sitting in the shower letting the water run over me. I only left the room to go downstairs to get food. I called my boss and told him something was really wrong, and I needed to get home and see my doctor it was like all my meds had just stopped working. This time the put me on disability leave. By this time, I had actually been able to save up a decent amount of money. This time it was not just depression it was anxiety and agoraphobia which made no sense to me. This is why I included a lot of the previous jobs and things that I did. I just could not understand it and I couldn’t will myself to go out of my apartment. I could only go out a certain time like early in the morning or late at night when there was the least amount of people out. I would go to the grocery and get in and get out as fast as I could, or I would go thru a drive thru because I didn’t even want to go to a grocery for food. This continued till one day I woke up and I had a pinched nerve in my neck I tried everything shower, pain killers, massaging it anything and everything. I think I had probably drunk about a six pack of soda in the time from when I got up and when I finally decided to go to the ER. I drove my self there and explained to the admissions nurse that I thought I had a pinched nerve in my neck they immediately took me back and started hooking me up to all these machines and I started to freak out a bit because I knew that for a pinch neck this was not the treatment. Turns out I was having a heart attack and I was like I just have a pinched nerve in my neck. I was very shortly surrounded by what seamed like an army of doctors and nurses I looked up and all I could see were faces everywhere. They asked me who to contact and I gave them my parents info my parents are divorced so they asked which one would be my medical proxy and I was really starting to freak out after that one. By this time, they had stripped me down and had me in a gown and had started doing a heart cath. I think one of the nurses could tell I was freaking out and told me do not worry I will tell your mom that you had on clean underwear. The next thing I remember is waking up in the ICU. They had me pretty well medicated by this time, so I was not in pain and I was not freaking out. The doctor came in and brought my parents in and explained that I had several heart attacks over time and did not know it and that I had heart disease. It had progress to the point that I needed to have a triple by-pass. Obviously, my lifestyle did not help any always eating out and smoking since well in not sure how long, but I know it was not legal when I started. So here I am at 38 getting ready to have a triple bypass. Good thing they had me so out of it or I would have had another heart attack just from that news and everything else going on with me. So, I was in and out for a while sleeping a lot and finally the day came to do the surgery. So that happened and I could not get out of there fast enough after the surgery was over, and I had recovered enough. They were like well there is a few things you will have to do before you can get out of here. I was like so what do we have to do and let get going. So, I passed all their test and was ready to get out of there and then they were like well you can leave but you cannot stay by yourself. The #[email protected]# you say. I had to spend a week at my mom’s house. Luckily, I convinced here after about 3 days to take me home that or I annoyed her to death. I slept so well that first night in my own bed. So, after all that was over was straight back to being where I left off only now, I was taking more meds for my heart and had more anxiety and depression.

So, at this point my psychiatrist suggested that I start looking in to filing for SSI disability. Also, the job I was working at had let me go and as soon as my insurance ran out, I would not be able to see my current doctor. So, I filed and also went on Medicaid for a while and if any of you have ever had the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with that I am truly sorry. Im sure its different is certain areas but here there are very few mental heath providers that except Medicaid so I finally found one and every thing seemed ok for a while I had to see a counselor and a psychiatrist even though it was a chemical imbalance. Once again it was like starting all over with the which med are we going to put you on this month. It was very hard for me to go to that place the lobby was always crowded and there were always kids screaming and crying and it just made things worse, so I had trouble sometimes making it to my appointments. Well they have this rule that if you miss more then 3 appointments in a year, they will no longer see you unless the doctor and the counselor decide otherwise. Well the counselor had no problem with me continuing to see him, but the psychiatrist would not see me. I was pissed how does a psychiatrist refuse to treat some one that has agoraphobia after missing only 3 appointments in a year I mean. I am lucky I made it to any of them. It takes hours of preparation just to get out the door. So the hunt was on for a new doctor. My primary physician agreed to continue with the last course of med that I was on. The next place I went to would only let me see a counselor. They had psychiatrist but they would only let me see one if they deemed it necessary and I got tossed around to so many different counselors that I do not think anyone knew what was going on. Finally, I just gave up on them. During this time my first application for SSI was denied I was told that would happen and then they had to review it and then they set a court date and I had to get a lawyer. Although I had already had a lawyer from the beginning because of some miscommunication from a phone interview with one of there associates that kept asking me questions about my heart and if I was doing better recovering from my heart attack. Which at the time I thought well this person really cares about how im doing and is invested in my case. Boy was I wrong that associate never asked me one question about my mental issues. Went back and told the lawyer that I was fine and they dropped me as a client because they only get paid if I get a favorable ruling and when I called to talk to the lawyer I was never able to speak to him directly I had to speak to someone else and they apologized for the misunderstanding but they would not be taking me back as a client because they had already notified them that they would not be representing me any longer. So I had to find a lawyer and for a already set court date and get him all the information from all my doctors and all the information from the previous lawyer. Finally found another one that took my case and was able to get the case rescheduled due to the circumstances. This lawyer was great and got me a favorable ruling. So, I was able to payback everyone that had helped me over the years that this had been going on.

A year later now on Medicare and SSI I was still looking for a Doctor that took now Medicare well my Original psychiatrist took Medicare, but you had to be over 55 to see him with it. I still to this day think if I could get past his receptionist, I may have been able to get him to take me back on as a patient after the history. So I visited every doctor that treated mental illness that took Medicare and none of them would take me on as a patient do to the medication I was already on and didn’t feel comfortable with it. Nice to know that they can not feel comfortable about medication as a reason not to treat the sick.

So, I move out of my apartment an into a less expensive one and closer to my friends. I was never able to find a doctor to take me on as a patient and my primary physician is still prescribing my meds. I did make some progress over the next couple of years was able to get out more all thou it did require once I was out a few beers to keep me out. I do not drink at home. I only drink in social settings and never in execs. Just enough to keep me calm. I also was receiving pension benefits because while its nice to have Medicare and SSI. The amount does not pay enough really what I would call comfortable living situation I pay rent utilities insurance and medical bills and what ever is left goes for food which isn’t a lot. With my pension I tried to figure out ways to work or make money some way I have run across a lot of scams, jobs that are not flexible to deal with my issues. I know what I am looking for is hard to get but because I cant keep a sleep schedule because im tired all the time and needing to work from home. Its hard to find. I finally may have a couple of ideas but its going to take time to get them going. I moved again after my pension ran out for another cheaper place. One of my ideas was shot out of the water when the basement of the house im renting is a wet basement which wouldn’t work for me. Then 2020 happened lol there were several things that happened this year that have reversed my progress. The only thing I can say is that I was at least prepared for being stuck in side iv been practicing for years. Hope this helps some one some way and feel free to ask questions or if you have any ideas to help feel free to message me.

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Wow, honored you took so much time to write out all the details of your story. Sounds like a brutal rollercoaster. Ups and downs from successes at jobs and then health problems that take you out – whether your back, your heart, or your mind…ebb and flow of connection with friends from high school to your brother to your family to your ex wife…ups and downs of depression, this seemingly random onset of agoraphobia…man, it just feels like you’ve been out on open ocean in a dingy getting tossed about by the weather of the world. Feels like you have very little orienting as to where you’re going or why you’re here or WTF is going on. All the while, it seems like you’re just trying to find a way to enjoy the ride without getting knocked off and drowning. What’s cool is that it seems like you get rescued in one way or another when you do get knocked off – by friends, by family, by a handful of good professionals you’ve encountered along the way – which is a redeeming part to the story.

Anyways, man, thank you for sharing your story and your heart. I’m glad to know you.

-Nate

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Thanks @NateTriesAgain i appreciate your incite and illustration of my story iv been dealing with this for a long time and have had set backs and breakthroughs. I really just want people to know that there not alone and that there are people that are out there with similar issue and you can make it thru to the next day. I limited alot of the things that i put in my story because i feel like there were things that i left out that i should have posted but i didnt want to distract from the overall message. I really do want to help. I actually learned about this site from one of your affiliates that runs a small twitch stream that i know in rl. I have some plans to do some other stuff in the future to try and help i feel like a dialouge with others that have issues such as mine or even different issues that people deal with gives us a better understanding of each other and what is going on around us. I am also glad for sites like these that exists. I am not trying to talk politics but just my opinion on the subject that there is not enough awarenous and support from are government of how big Mental Health Issues are now. While i do think it mainly because of the current age of the majority of are representatives that have not had experience with this or just in how the standers were with dealing with such things in there generation. Especially with were we are right now in the grand scheme of things people are dealing with a lot more than ever put in to situations they have not had to deal with and not knowing how to cope with these new emotions that they are feeling. All i see is people passing the blame around as to well its the parents fault, it the kids today, even the entertainment industry and video games. If these were the sole underling problems there would be a lot more examples than what we have seen. While these things can stimulate and already underling issue. Sorry again i tend to ramble but i mean well i guess i my self am frustrated with how there is an large amount of ignorance and lack of education for these topics. I just tring to find some way in my own way to help were ever i can.

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Hi @agoraphobicdl
Thank you for sharing your story
I am sorry you injured your back.
From what you said about being a hard worker from a young age I can see why you would feel lost when your injury took you out of work. Im glad you were able to get back into some jobs you enjoyed.
It is good that your mum helped you to go see someone and that you have support there, From doctors and family. You have had a big yo-yo ride of a time.

To have heart attacks and a bypass must have been hard on you, on top of everything.
You’ve had an extensive medical journey and I’m sorry you had so much trouble with the lawyer issues and getting the help you needed.

Im happy you have fought through this and are here to share your story. The emotional wounds that you said have still not healed, I hope one day that you do feel you’re starting to heal.

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