This particular poem deserves an explanation.
I have been catching trains, busses and the tube for years. I was the queen of public transport. No journey to long and far or near and short. I moved to London at the age of eighteen. I had already become familiar with the London underground from as young as sixteen, as I would often visit the, “Big City of London” to perfect my acting skills at the likes of, “The National Youth Theatre” where I lived in halls and ferried myself around the city, to and from classes. I also have a lot of family in London and would find myself travelling from north to south, quite frequently whilst in the city.
From fourteen, I would often catch a train alone, all the way from Birmingham to Devon and back again, to visit my best friend at the time.
I had been catching busses alone in Birmingham from the age of ten/eleven. Being a city girl and then growing up and moving to an even bigger city, I was always comfortable and confident using public transport. Somewhere along the way, after having my breakdown, I first had troubles leaving the house at all, then as my confidence began to grow back, surprisingly I began to experience panic attacks every time I had to travel via public transport. The sort that draw unwanted attention and have you quite beside yourself. I really thought that I was ready to travel again but evidently, I was not! It got to the point that I just had to stop trying. It was making me so unwell, the panic, the anxiety, simply wasn’t worth it. I then discovered walking. This is now my favourite type of transportation, providing that I am not wearing heels. I am not always financially equipped to rely upon taxi’s, yet I still had hospital appointments to commit to, and so I used my feet. Some days I walk over six miles but if I have my music on, know the route, comfortable shoes on, the whole travelling experience is far less stressful. The fresh air and exercise really helps my mental health, but sometimes either the weather, distance, or my state of mind, can hinder the option of walking.
Most of my best friends live in London, the city that was my home for eleven whole years. It is a little one sided expecting them to come and visit me all the time but whilst I am in recovery, such a huge journey to see them is not currently an option. I have missed many a special occasion, because my mental health has hindered my confidence, abilities and to some extent my freedom! Someone recently asked me, “Why would you let such a little thing like anxiety dictate your life and what you want to do with it? After all, what is the worst that could happen.” All though the question came from a good place, it sparked a flame of anger inside of me! No one lets their health deteriorate by choice. No one welcomes any illness or symptoms, whether it be an illness of the mind or body. No one opts for pain or misery. No one would welcome all that I have had to endure with my sickness over the years, the psychosis, hallucinations, suicidal feelings, self hate, self loathing, self-harm, the weight gain. No one chooses such things. After being so independent, it is frustrating to have to rely on professional help, support and medication on a daily basis. It is hard to understand things that do not relate to yourself, your own personal experiences, I get that. This is why this site exists. To give comfort to those that have had to endure what I have had. To educate those who have friends and family like myself and no idea what to do, how to react, get their heads around it all. To my family and friends that are simply wondering what on earth happened and where their Noone has gone!?
I was booked to attend an event this February 2016. My very best friends stag weekend. We were all invited around December 2015. I paid my deposit like everyone else. I didn’t really pay attention to details, the events venue, location, the dates etc. I paid the full fee by Christmas. Not quite realising what I was signing up for, how far away it was, how long it was for and how expensive. I just wanted to go and be with my best mate. I just wanted to celebrate and be happy both with and for him but I didn’t think about all of the travel involved. I would suddenly have to become healthy minded and confident like my old self in order to attend. I was in an unrealistic bubble, thinking that I could jump from 0-100. I would some how need to travel around 207km to get there and go through it again to come back. There were several travel options but nearly all surrounding public transport. I have been having hallucinations for the past three weeks, there has been an increase to my self harm and as the event draw’s closer, I have had to admit to myself that it would all unfortunately be a lot to much, to soon.
Before I came to this decision, my someone came up with a cunning plan. A practice journey to prep me for the journey to London alone (before the accompanied beyond). My someone lives in a place most famous for its cross (I shall reveal no more). This certain place is situated bang in the middle of London and Birmingham. My someone accompanied me one way and then I travelled back the other alone. Yes! Not a typo! I TRAVELLED ALONE! It was very hard but I was focussed. I wanted to accomplish this journey for my best friend. To prepare, as to not disappoint him. My someone put me on the train, my mother was waiting the other end and I hated the whole experience in between, but I did it. With more and more practice, I will hopefully get more and more control back. I know that I will get better with time and practice. Wild horses could not keep me from the wedding. As I went through all this for you (Jam) I may as well dedicate this poem to you also. Thanks for inspiring me to conquer one of my main anxieties. For you, Mr Dale Williams…
You call me to check that I am ok,
I put on a brave voice,
Holding back the tears,
As all my fears come to light.
A little white lie,
I say that I am fine,
When I am actually quite the opposite,
And could murder a glass of wine.
I put down the phone,
And try to embrace being alone.
Glancing out of the window past my reflection,
Lights twinkle and glisten like stars in the sky,
Through the miles and miles of darkness.
My heart still pounds.
With shaking hands I try to alleviate the overwhelming anxiety,
By transferring my thoughts to paper.
Not long to go now,
When I am off this thing,
I will feel a hell of alot safer.