An Anxiety Attack


Not the most cheerful of topics but I wanted to make note of it so I don’t forget how I felt when I had it.

We are meant to go visit our family who lives a 15-minute train ride away from us. Normally, not a big deal. Thanks to COVID-19 and BLM, a bit of a deal. But you could not tell my brain anything but that it was a HUGE and dangerous undertaking. The closer we are to the date, the more my body goes haywire. My heart starts beating faster, I get emotional, my body shakes – I want to flee.

But the more I sit with this feeling, the more I am able to understand that it is anxiety. It is fear. About taking a train.

I have lived through a military coup; I have lived through an earthquake; I have survived motorbike crashes; I have nation-hopped with nothing but a passport and a few clothes; I have watched a volcano come alive and threaten to destroy the village I was living in; I have built my life from scratch in 4 different countries. And yet, the thought of getting on a train in England, a first world country has filled me with terror.

And having now sat with that fear for a few days, and maybe thanks to lockdown, I am now able to understand that my fear has to do with what can be done to me if I let my guard down.

Will I be spat at for taking a train even though the government has not specifically banned travel by public transport? It happened to Belly Mujinga, and she was British.

Will I be verbally abused by railway staff for using public transport, abused until I am forced to get off? It happened to Glenn MacDonalad, and he was British.

Will I be the victim of the good intentions of a neighbourhood watch who’ve interpreted the ambiguous government rules their own way?

No matter how much of a pep-talk I give myself about how it’s probably all in my head, and how I know I can do it, I can’t shake this awful feeling. After all, haven’t I braved through more? Am I not known for my sense of adventure?

Probably. But I feel so small. And so overwhelmed. Over something so simple. I wonder how long before I can shut down my flight or fight instinct that seems to now be on all the time.

The thought haunts me Р how well would I fair as a foreigner who is so obviously foreign in these strange times? Would I make it?

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow. I didn’t realize you were experiencing this. I understand how devastating those attacks can be. I hope that however you deal with this, that it is successful, and that the attacks don’t return.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cupitonians says:

      The anxiety led to a bad dream where I thought Adam broke up with me. And so I woke up with hysterics and a very confused partner. It took me a while to realise that waking life was not a memory and he didn’t actually leave me. I’m hoping either a good night’s sleep, or actually getting a train and seeing it’s not a big deal will help. Big hugs!


  2. I hate this for you, my friend. I hate this for us all. Everything is changing so quickly, and yet not quickly enough. It’s hard to find solid ground right now, even when not on a moving train. Be gentle with yourself, and get as much rest as you can. I wish I knew what to say.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cupitonians says:

      It helps to have strong allies like you that help stop this from being a total meltdown. I know the feeling will pass. I know I’ll be okay. And I know we’ll all get through this, stronger on the other side!


      1. I’ve had a meltdown or two as well. But you’re right. We’ll get through this.

        Liked by 1 person

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