Something I would never consider doing all by myself is…
…lots of stuff, but since it’s been on my mind a little for a while lately, travelling by public transport, especially for long distances, particularly by train. I was doing it for a while in my life, well not by myself but with my orientation instructor, but it was pretty much like by myself, she was only there in case something bad would happen or I’d be terribly lost – which I was very often – – but practically I had to travel by myself and wasn’t able to ask her any questions or for any other help, if I wanted some hints I could only ask other people. That was a terrible thing and I always felt paralysing anxiety before and during orientation, because I was so terribly bad at it technically, due to my multiple issues like with balance or mobility etc. plus because of my anxieties. I guess I’ve mentioned in one of my very recent posts that because I didn’t have any other official diagnosis apart from blindness and Achilles tendons deffect that would be known for the staff at the school for the blind where I ws learning, they couldn’t adjust it more to me, they just wanted concrete diagnosis/diagnoses on paper, which in my case was rather hard, because my issues were too mild to be classified as a symptom of some more complex disorder, and too bad to be just ignored since they’ve impacted me a lot, so they were always referred to by doctors and other specialists kinda collectively and briefly as sensory integration issues or something similar. My Mum and me strived for either some clear and official diagnosis, or for some more individualised approach to me since even without labelling evidence of my issues was rather obvious, but finally we didn’t get either.
The period of me travelling short distance by public transport was very short, because shortly after I started doing it I left the school since the opportunity appeared, and I started doing it later than most of my peers because of all the above mentioned issues and so because I haven’t yet learnt all the necessary techniques and wasn’t confident in many areas that were familiar to me when many other kids were starting with public transport, so they gave me more time to prepare for it. I still lacked at lots of skills when I finally started travelling though.
Although my orientation tutor was a very nice person and generally we were getting along quite well, this is one of my most dreadful memories from the boarding school. I was only travelling by bus or sometimes by underground and only on very short distances, but that was a pure nightmare, from the very first minute to the last. All my phobias have been exacerbated during that time, like I was agoraphobic as long as I remember but it was rather mild, and at the time I was learning to commute by public transport it got worse so much that suddenly I was afraid of open spaces even with someone else whom I trusted, in spaces that I knew relatively well and felt relatively safe before so was constantly in extreme tension and being functional and normal was quite a challenge and I actually wonder how I was doing it so that no one noticed I’m going crazy.
I’ve never travelled by train completely by myself, but we were often told at school as little children that one day we will learn it and will be able to travel back and forth from home to school on our own. That seemed like quite an abstraction for me and I couldn’t get how I can ever do it, sounded a little scary, but at the same time I waited for it with some excitement, ’cause then I could be home every weekend if only I wanted. However years later I had a few opportunities to travel by train with complete or almost complete strangers. When I was like Zofijka’s age – 10-11 – my Mum had gal bladder surgery just before summer holidays, my Dad had a crazy job schedule and there was no one who would be able to pick me from school for holidays. So there was one woman from the staff going to the same part of the country where I live so they decided at school she will assist me during the journey. She was working in the boarding part for boys and one of the boys was going with her for some sort of concert where he was playing. They knew each other very well, but I didn’t know neither of them, so felt rather strange and not really safe. They had plenty of things to talk about during the journey, but since I hadn’t have a clue what they were talking about I felt a bit like a fifth wheel. And that made me thinking whether I would really like to travel by train on my own. It seemed quite overwhelming. Then I was also travelling back and forth with another girl’s mum, but she was a very nice person, plus we were travelling together more than once so I got to know her and liked her, but still, I didn’t like travelling with her because I just feel kinda unsafe. And it wasn’t just about commuting by train, if I was going somewhere by train with Mum or anyone else I knew really well, that was OK and even kinda exciting, maybe because it didn’t happen frequently. But when I had to travel with someone I didn’t know that well, I was very hypervigilant and overwhelmed.
and so when I started to learn to commute, I lost all the enthusiasm to the idea of travelling home by myself. I hadn’t got any lessons on travelling by train, but always thought that if going by bus even on a short distance is such a big deal for me that I can barely breath properly and be functioning, commuting by train has to be waay too exhausting then. Plus I felt discouraged, ’cause if I can’t manage any routes properly and anything I did seemed to be wrong, I couldn’t get how I could be able to manage a train ride, with changes. That seemed totally abstract and not worth the effort.
This came to my mind because of my recent encounter with the headmistress of the school for the blind where I was passing my finals, about which you can read more in my last Weekend Coffee Share post. That was unbelievable and to put it veery briefly she was comparing me with “brilliant” students at her school, who are better than me at just everything. And she told me one of the girls is commuting to school by train, and that’s what I should do too. No comment.
Nowadays, I don’t travel by myself at all, since there’s no need for it and, as it seems from all the above stuff, no way as well. My family travels everywhere by car, we have three cars, and now as we live in the town it’s much easier to move around on foot. Right now, even if it wouldn’t be such a big deal for me mentally and technically, I don’t even have anywhere particular to travel, I can go to my gramma by bus. 😀 We visit her bi-weekly, but I could be so nice and do it once a week. 😀
My life situation can, and might, change with time, and maybe I’ll be living on my own or something, and not have anyone to give me a lift everywhere I need, I don’t know, maybe with time I’d be able to manage my anxiety and other issues and learn at least some basic routes, or will go by taxi everywhere, or rely on my siblings, anyway, whatever future circumstances might be, I will NEVER, ever travel by train on my own! That’s way too scary.
What’s such thing for you?