Ergh, train time. One of the worst parts of my day is train time. I always get the same train at exactly the same time every day. The same carriage, the same door, the same seat. I time the train just right so that I get the empty one. If I’m there early I watch everyone running for the train packed out with people. Little do they know if they waited back a few moments an almost empty train would be right along.
Well today I’m late and I don’t know how it happened. Just by 7 minutes but that to me is super late. There is no way I’m going to make my usual train which I always ALWAYS get and I’m slightly terrified.
If I don’t get a seat on the train I often have panic attacks or have to get off to stop myself from fainting. If it’s a shorter journey and I’m with friends it’s not so bad but I still can’t shake that anxious dizzy feeling no matter what. I end up in cold sweats feeling sick and completely drained.
I get to the train platform and it’s relatively busy, not super busy but busy enough. I stand in my usual spot but there is a girl already there waiting. Perhaps this is her ‘usual spot’ at this time of day. I don’t know. I’m not used to this alien time. I would normally see the same families and individuals travelling to school and work every day and we all understand where each other stand and wait for that train. We don’t stand in each other’s space and we all know about the secret empty train.
In this alien time I don’t know who has right of way and who stands where. Anyone else would just find a darn spot to stand in and get on with it! I unfortunately have to stand as close to my spot as I can. This poor girl on the platform must think I’m such a weirdo. Of all the empty space on the platform I choose to come and stand right next to her. Yup I would think I was a bit strange too.
In the distance I see a scary sight, my ‘stalker’ a man who has been following me on the trains for the past year. Police have taken him off the train in the past and issued him a harassment warning. I haven’t seen him since that warning but now that I’m late he is here. Luckily he stays away.
Many people don’t realise that people with mental health problems are much more likely to be victims of crime – people often think they’re the perpetrators! Well sadly I’m an easy target as it’s easy to figure out my routine. I’ll post another blog at some point about all 4 of my stalkers at different times of life.
A train arrives, it’s not empty (of course it’s not it’s rush hour and the secret train has gone). My brain is now having this crazy battle with itself. Do I get on? Do I wait and take a chance that the next one might be empty? Even though the closer we get to rush hour the more manic it will be?
The doors stop in front of me and I step on. I kind of have to as others are waiting behind me. I move down the carriage to stand by the seats. I always do my best to stand in an area with as many seats as possible. I figure there is more possibility of someone standing and me getting a seat if I’m next to a large number of them.
I watch everyone’s moves discreetly. Who is folding up and putting their newspaper away ready to stand? Who is picking up their bags? There have been times where I have spent entire journeys on edge waiting for this to happen and not a single person has got up. In the past I have had to ask for a seat between stations before I fall down.
So now I’m standing in the carriage, hoping, wishing someone gets off. I know the stations people are most likely to get off at so I’m hyper vigilant at these stations. All this hypersensitivity is really draining and heightens my anxiety.
And oh my goodness someone is getting off! Close to me is an older lady, not elderly but old enough. I worry if I should let her take the seat first. What kind of a complete bitch would people think I am if I sit down without giving her the option? But despite her age, what people don’t understand is that I’m so much less able to stand on this train than she is. (Presuming she doesn’t have a non visible disability too).
Luckily she doesn’t go for the seat, she’s not even interested. Now I’m sitting the fun begins. I’m relived I have a seat but I’m already feeling sick now and the motion of the train doesn’t help so this sickness is sadly going to stay for the entire journey.
I’m on edge now because every time a child gets on, or an elderly person or particularly a pregnant lady, I’m internally begging that they don’t stand near me. I literally could not stand up right now without fainting. This isn’t just a ‘mental’ thing but a physical thing. It’s incredible how much influence your mind has over the body.
So now I will spend the rest of my journey on edge hoping I don’t have to be the one that hides my face when they get on and wishing that someone else offers first. The sad thing is that my disability can’t be seen and it’s not obvious and unfortunately this world does judge people by the way they look and appear.
‘You look absolutely fine’ I’ve heard in the past.
I’m glad I’m sitting now but I can’t wait for this journey to be over so that I can shake this sickness and not feel on edge every waking moment. But whatever happens I know I’ll make it through and that’s a positive start.
Hopeful on a Monday.
Update: in my haste this morning and panic I’ve actually gone to the wrong office. So after the embarrassment of logging on and suddenly realising I should be somewhere else, I’m now back on the trains again! Wish me luck!