(Not Really)Being Brave #4

I’ve been to London again this weekend. I sold some of my vintage dresses-that are several sizes( many sizes! ) – too small now- to pay for the hotel room.  The dresses glared at me when I opened my wardrobe, and made me feel really shitty. I was a size 10 when I was 20, and now I’m a size 20, at nearly 40. There’s lots of reasons why I’ve gained weight over the last 20 years. I’d settled at a 12 stone, size 16 for most of it, but I’ve put on 4 stone in 2 years. Medication and poor mental health is to blame but I’ve eaten too much, and not exercised enough to counteract it. So, I’m a big fat mare who can’t fit into her pretty 50s dresses anymore. I’ve been brave and sold them, so sad that I can’t wear them anymore, sad at that lost me who was young and pretty and thin. But I feel relieved that I am freed from the skinny tyranny of my former self, hanging in my wardrobe, taunting me….with her scrawny frame and twiggy fingers (I’m joking, I was never skinny…)

So…..I took my family, plus my parents, to the Paralympic Day festival in the Olympic Park. I love wheelchair basketball, and had such a great time at last year’s Paralympic games, I wanted to recapture some of that.  As I’ve blogged previously, I have agoraphobic panic disorder and social phobia. I find going out difficult, especially public transport, so attending last year’s Paralympics was a huge challenge for me, one which I managed to do and found exhilarating/exhausting.
I wrote this three weeks ago, and have had three weeks of panic attacks and anxiety. So, now I resume the tale…..

Going to the Paralympic Day festival was a sort of celebration of progress for me. I was amazed that I could cope with crowds, trains, the Underground ( which I fell in love with), the security searches at the Olympic park….I managed,with the help of medication…..and I actually felt like I was alive again. I felt free. Agoraphobia is a thief, it steals your confidence, your ability to do simple tasks, the space you occupy, and your life. I felt like I was stealing that back.

The Being Brave part starts….
I am quite happy travelling on trains and the Underground now, even at rush hour, with my children in tow. I’m barely anxious, I just get on and get off like every other country bumpkin.

The A-Board sign at the bottom of the DLR steps made my heart pound, and my hands and feet tingle. Three words. Rail Replacement Bus service. OK, 4 words. Holy fuck. Buses. I fucking hate them. I realised that for the entire weekend, I would be having to get on a bus whenever I needed to get back to my room. Shit.
I had to travel to Canning Town on a bus with 300 other people, driven by a terminator wannabe, at 70 miles an hour. Through red lights and over zebra crossings. I was terrified, and in shutdown panic mode I could barely stand up, because of my fucked up ankle joints…no splints, what a twat…..and the adrenaline dumping into my system. It was only being jammed inbetween my George and an old lady with a pile of suitcases that saved me from the floor. I was also trapped next to the folding doors….I’m not sure how I survived. When we got to Canning Town I had to sit down…thought I was going to faint and vom. I won’t bore you with the rest of the shitty bus journeys, except to say that my mum found the the ideal opportunity to keep discussing my mental health and “therapy”. As in….
“This is all good therapy for you, isn’t it?” and ” are you going to tell your therapist about this?” over and over again…
So a good proportion of South and East London now know I’m a mentalist. Thanks Mum!!

I want to go back, to feel brave again, to recapture my little bit of East London, and feel like I’m winning again. I’m skint however, a grand of unexpected bills has wiped us out. So I’ll sort my wardrobe out, and sell something else. …….and make sure TfL aren’t bussing me first.