When I Told a Train Worker About My Chronic Anxiety
A couple of months ago, I had to face the huge challenge of getting on Eurostar on my own to meet my family in Paris. Having not gone on any form of public transportation for more than a year, you can imagine the anxiety this caused.
I had been dreading it for weeks. I had a train for the weekend I could not miss. So traveling out with my family was not an option. I had broken down each step of the journey hundreds of times, but this was not helping. I even did an illustration to break down the journey and prove to myself how simple it would be.
The issue was not only getting onto a train, but also the extra stress of crowds of people, passport control, security and getting on the train. Everything.
Friends and family were so supportive, and I knew they were just at the other end of the phone. One friend even offered to get on the train with me, but I knew it was an important for my recovery to do it on my own.
The day came. I was so anxious about it that I arrived to the station more than two hours early, my sensory anxiety tool kit in hand. (This is something I carry with me to help ground me in high anxiety situations.)
I arrived to the unexpected news that I was too early to go through security. I would have to wait in the main station. As you can imagine, this only fueled my anxiety. I could feel my chest tightening, legs and arms shaking and heart beginning to race. I think the lady I spoke to could sense this and directed me to the ticket office where I could possibly get onto an earlier train, but she wasn’t sure.
I went to the ticket office and somehow ended up telling the lady at the desk I struggle with chronic anxiety. Within moments of saying that, she was whizzing me through passport control and security. She put me on the next train, which was leaving in 15 minutes. She saw me to my seat, and I even got an upgrade in the process!
I was so shocked by this reaction and kindness. When she left me on the train, I said, “Thank you so much. I just want to hug you right now,” and with that she did! Then, she said to me, “Don’t worry. Everything will be OK!”
This just shows that people do understand, and it is nothing to be ashamed of to ask for help. There are lots of people who do care. Never be ashamed to ask for help. You never know who you many find.
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