I’ve mentioned before that I suffer with anxiety. Part of my problem displays itself as an incessant need to plan for disasters in everyday life. Some would say that planning is quite sensible. By planning you feel prepared for stressful situations and this keeps you feeling in control. However, obsessive planning is where sensible meets irrational.
I have a number of plans in place for various disasters if they strike. You know the usual:
- What to do in a fire
- What to do if a burglar breaks in
- Zombie apocalypse – This one is proving problematic. From watching The Walking Dead, it’s clear the only way to survive a Zombie apocalypse is to have a hell of a lot of guns and bows and arrows etc. Living in the UK weapons aren’t as freely available in an emergency as they seem to be in the USA. This has presented a few kinks which I’m still ironing out
Probably my most irrational planning occurs when I have to go somewhere I do not know via public transport. At the end of this month, I am going to my best friend’s birthday party in Brighton via train. I’ve not been to Brighton before, but for those of you that have used English trains, you may know that they aren’t the most reliable and they do tend to have a lot of disruptions. Especially in mid-January. Some of my favourite reasons for disruptions in the past have been “a small track-side fire” and “a swan on the line”. Anyway, I digress. This is my struggle when planning to use public transport:
- Check the route ten times to make sure it’s actually going where I need it to go
- Ask my sister to check to make sure I haven’t misunderstood the route
- Panic about whether there will be a disruption making my tickets null and void
- Panic about internet shopping and security
- Panic that the tickets will get lost/ not get to me on time
When tickets arrive
- Panic about how many tickets there are – why are there so many? Oh no it’s OK it’s just the seat reservation numbers and receipts as well. Phew!
- Paperclip tickets together so they show the correct route
- Panic I’ve paper-clipped them together wrong
Week prior to travelling
- Constantly checking the weather forecast in case of snow/ rain (twice a day) – not just for my area, but also for destinations along the route
- Following train providers on Twitter to keep track of train disruptions
- Constantly checking National Rail website for details of engineering works
- OH MY GOD WHERE ARE THE TICKETS? Oh it’s OK. They’re where I left them.
Few days before travelling
- Check the weather forecast a few more hundred times
- Panic whenever I hear any mention of the weather/ my upcoming trip
- Write a lengthy list detailing my route, including: departure time, platform it will be leaving from, final destination of train, make of train and destination arrival time, for each leg of the journey. I will then keep this in a safe place.
- OH MY GOD WHERE ARE THE TICKETS? – Oh it’s OK they’re where I left them.
- Packing: OH MY GOD, I’ve forgotten X, Y, Z. Oh no, it’s OK I’ve found them. I just packed them like two minutes ago.
Day of travelling
- I’ll wake up stupidly early after dreaming either about a disruption free journey or a horrendous journey where I was naked/ the train crashed etc.
- I won’t be able to eat because I’m too busy freaking out
- I’ll put my tickets in a different purse from my money, in case I get mugged or something and can’t get home
- I’ll keep my list (see above) on my person so I can check it about 1000 times over the course of the journey
- Before leaving I’ll check the train sites and weather forecasts again just to make sure nothing catastrophic has happened since I went to bed the night before.
- I’ll panic I’ve forgotten to pack about 10 things, so will basically unpack and then repack
- OH MY GOD WHERE ARE THE TICKETS? – Oh no it’s OK they’re where I left them.
- I’ll get on the train after checking the sign on the front of the train, the time and the board at the station all match what’s written on my list.
- Once on the train, I’ll then check that the destination list displayed includes my destination.
- Then I’ll panic I’ve lost my list and have to check about 10 times that it is safe.
Funnily enough, usually the journey is fine and I do make it to my desired destination. Furthermore if there is a hiccup along the way I am usually equipped to deal with it and not have a full blown break down. And even more shockingly, when I get to my destination I have a lovely time!
I feel I need to say, I have exaggerated a bit in this post. I’m not as bad as I make out. All these thoughts do cross my mind, but I have lived with my anxiety long enough to know that they are irrational. I just thought an insight into my irrational thoughts might be quite funny/ enlightening for others to see. Let me know what you think.