HealthMental Health

Chronicles Of Claustrophobia

Trigger Warning


I woke up to the sound of my alarm at five in the morning and cursed my life. It is the first thing I do every day like every other adult I know, does. I realized I knew exactly how my day was going to pass. There was nothing to look forward to and I had completely come to terms with that. I remember when I was fifteen or so, I would feel sorry for the adults running to work every morning; their heads held upright, but eyes drooping down. I guess now, my neighbor’s kids feel the same about me.

I stumbled my way through the mess in my room and stood in front of the mirror. My big round eyes looked rounder, rather swollen, though I haven’t been crying for a week or so. I asked myself if I slept well. I couldn’t answer. My face had patches of dried blood all over. My fingers too were red and when I looked at my bed sheet, I found I had made a mess again. I swore some bad words and realized how much I hated myself for existing.

Well, I have a severe case of a disease that the doctors say is incurable. It is a billionaire’s disease and I have known for a long time that I’m not going to make it out of it. But the problem is, until the end comes, I have to pretend like I’m living a life. I have to tell myself that I’m strong enough to handle it even though I know very well that I am not. I have to put up a normal face, sometimes even a smiling one and get dressed and go out and face normal adult problems

I have to do everything ordinary even though at the back of my mind I know, it’s all pointless and temporary.

All that blood on my bed sheet doesn’t scare me anymore. It only still makes me giddy, though I don’t know why. My head was reeling and my sight felt hazy for a moment, maybe because I bled out all night. But over time I had learned to handle it on my own and I guess, that’s the saddest part.

I have always chosen nothingness over grief but this morning was different.

For some reason, I didn’t feel like wearing the mask. I wondered how so many people fighting so many deadly diseases overcome this feeling of helplessness and post motivational messages on social media. Are they pretending too? Motivation for me, is way out of sight. All I want is to somehow survive the days I am left with. I laughed at myself when I realized how worthless my life had become. How and when did this happen? I had no answer again. I chose to ditch classes and curled up on my blood stained bed and the pain in my head that I’ve been trying to ignore for the past few weeks, came rushing back again.

The last one year was a roller coaster ride for me. I have had sleepless nights for months with the doctors warning me of severe clinical depression. But then, the doctors have warned me of so many things over time that I have learned to ignore them inherently. They told me once that I had only five months to live and sometime later they said its only three months. All these warnings or rather, information confuses me. I don’t understand what to do and what not to do in this span of time. Some days I want to list down the people I want to meet or the places I want to see or the number of kisses I want from my boyfriend. On some other days, like today, I just want this pain to end.

I cried like I had to compensate for not crying for one whole week. Crying makes me feel better. It makes me feel real. I wondered what it would be like to have someone who would understand this feeling and not just sympathize with it. But I shrugged that feeling off. I couldn’t afford thinking about another human being who would not only help me through my sickness but would also be able to comprehend it.

In very plain terms, I guess, I started feeling the need for somebody who would love me in all my bad days like this. The kind of love that is selfless and kind; that which is pure in all its forms. For a moment I wanted someone to run their hands through my hair and tell me it is okay to be afraid. I wanted someone to tell me I looked beautiful with my blood smudged face and that he loved me. I wanted to be told that I was not alone in this. I hated myself for always fantasizing about someone else to hold my hand through this fight. But all my life, I have never felt worthy of anyone’s love. I have been molested and beaten up. I have been left for someone better and sometimes, even for no reason at all.

For a girl fighting cancer with no one around, I thought maybe it was worth a shot. Maybe I would do myself some justice if I’d just find the right person who would walk with me till the end, selflessly out of love and not pity.

I thought maybe, just maybe, I was not that difficult to love.

But the moment I start building my hopes up, something dark at the back of my mind keeps reminding me that it is all in vain. It keeps telling me that the clock is ticking. It’s ticking my life away. There’s no time for any right person. Hell, there’s hardly any time for me to put myself upright. There’s hardly any time to visit mountains or seas or meet new people or drink some wine. There’s no time for good things. I don’t deserve those good things.

I let the grief take shelter in me. This life and everything around it was only making me more claustrophobic. Every day, every moment, this darkness keeps pulling me into it; deeper and deeper and it will keep doing so, until the day I hit the ground.

That moment, curled up on my bed, I gave up.

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Biologist by day, writer by night. Follow Sinchana on Instagram or read more articles from Sinchana on Thought Catalog.