Sunday 20 November 2016

Nerd Church - Well, That Was Unpleasant

(This post discusses mental health problems, stigma, anxiety, and a brief mention of suicide)

Kind of ironic - on Friday I posted about ableism, not knowing that I would face it on the same day.

Let me give you a scenario, dearest nerdlets.

Imagine you have anxiety problems. Imagine you're having a flare-up, and something that seems everyday to everyone else is terrifying to you.

I don't mean just worrying. I mean terrifying - the kind of terrified you'd feel if you lost a kid at the supermarket or were having trouble opening your parachute after jumping out of a plane.

Imagine you freak out, but manage to gather yourself up. You manage to push through and do the thing that's terrifying you.

And then someone draws attention to your weird behaviour, loudly, in front of a group of strangers.

It would hurt, yes?

Fine, maybe they don't understand why you were acting like that, but surely they can see that you were freaked out - for whatever reason - and maybe, I don't know, not embarrass you in front of random-a*s members of the public?!

I mean, really, is that so difficult?

OK - explanation time:

I had to catch a train.

Trains make me nervous at the best of times - social interaction with strangers plus weird track vibrations plus the fact that I'm terrible at figuring out which one is my stop and what the time is, all add up to an at best slightly awkward experience.

(FYI - I could go on to list more reasons I dislike trains, but this post is about stigma not transportation.)

So, the gap from station to train was bigger than average - it's quite a leap there, and I have short legs.

And, as mentioned, my anxiety was flaring up. And someone had killed themselves a little further down the line less than a week earlier.

So I pulled back, and freaked a little. My breathing was getting pretty hectic, and my hands were starting to shake a little.

Honestly? I could very well have gone into full-on panic attack mode if The Bestie hadn't just smiled in understanding, held out a hand for me to grab, and pulled me onto the train (did I mention I have the best Bestie?)

So, I'm on the train, apologising to The Bestie for being a pain (and her telling me to stop apologising,) and trying to get my breathing back to normal, the ticket conductor guy comes over so that we can buy our tickets.

I'm sure he didn't mean to completely humiliate me by saying that he thought I was never getting on, and thought he'd have to 'bung you on myself' (this guy was huge, so that thought wasn't particularly reassuring.)

I'm sure he didn't mean to nearly bring me to tears by saying all of this loudly in front of a carriage full of people who may or may not have seen me freak out at the station, and chuckling as if it was all one big joke.

But he did.

I wanted the ground to swallow me up. I wanted to burst out crying. I literally felt so stupid in that moment.

Look, I don't blame him for not figuring out why I was acting oddly - I don't wear a sign with 'Has Mental Health Problems' around my neck - but surely common sense should have made him keep his mouth shut?

I could've been freaking out for literally any reason.

I might've had vision problems, and wasn't able to see how to get across the gap. I might've had mobility problems and been worried about how to get across. I might've had PTSD, and been having a flashback.

I might just have been having a real sh**ty day that just got too much.

There are a million things that might've made me act a little weird.

The moral of this story, dearest nerdlets? Put yourself in the other person's position. Would you like it if someone treated you like this?

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  1. what an absolutely terrible experience. i am so very sorry you had to go through this, my love - but i hope that having your best friend beside you helped you to calm down & escape the thought of the disgusting conductor. perhaps he didn't realise the circumstances, but all the same, just having some tact would be nice - i think this sort of ableism is just as real + potent + destructive as any intentional sort. i send healing + softness your way, and hopes that tomorrow is so much brighter. xox

    topaz (six impossible things)

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment! :) Yes, it definitely upset me but my best friend is the best, and we still had an amazing night once we got off the train.

      And you're right - I *know* that he didn't mean any harm. But it still hurt like hell. I think people need to think things through, and realise that their words do mean things.

      Thanks again for the comment! :)

  2. I can't believe you had to go through that! Like you said, he probably meant no harm, but common sense would have told him that if someone looked like they were not having the best time doing something to probably not point it out??? But on a positive note, it's good that you have a bestie that is so supportive and understanding! Don't worry about the ignorant people, Cee!

  3. Thank you for sharing this story, Cee Arr. I try to be much more considerate with people I don't know for precisely that reason. I don't know them and don't know what's going through their heads, what kind of day they've had, or if they'll take a joke or jest as intended. So it's best not to be rude and ruin someone's day!
    I'm sorry you had to go through this, but I"m glad you had your Bestie to make you feel a little bitter. :)

  4. I might not have it as bad as you do, but from someone who doesn't have anxiety, trains and basically public transport in general makes me SO NERVOUS. I actually try and avoid it at all costs. So I completely understand how and why it must be effecting you. Your bestie sounds wonderful <3


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