Me and public transport have a complex relationship. I hated it when i was younger, and still do, because it fills me with anxiety. I’ve longed for the day where i could drive. I’m still having to wait, but it’s getting closer. Thank goodness!
Why is it so difficult?
It’s difficult due to people and because trains, buses and taxis are never on time. As an autistic person this unreliability triggers off intense feelings of anxiety.
Why is it not here yet?
Where is it?!
HURRY UP!! AHHHH!!
On the outside we might appear calm, or at most a bit tense. But inside we’re a whirlwind of tension! And it only gets worse, and then you really do notice it. We might start wringing out hands, fiddling with stuff on our bag (Am i the only one that has keyrings on her bag to fiddle with?!), pacing up and down or moaning.
Yep, just like Tina from Bob’s Burgers, but without the straitjacket. Okay…occasionally with the straitjacket! (Comfy).
Travelling locally isn’t ‘too’ bad. But it can be tricky. There are some roads, places, transport routes that i don’t know, that are totally alien to me. I can’t go these places via public transport. In a car with someone i know – totally fine. Once i get used to that, i ‘might’ be able to on a bus or taxi with someone till i get used to it, for me to be able to then go by myself.
I still get anxious. Still hate it because of people (see last post for my hatred of zombiesque people!), and because of it’s unreliability. But it’s somewhat ‘easier’ to handle. Not easy…just ‘easier’.
Travelling Further Afield
This tends to be more of a no-no. Unless it’s somewhere that i know very well, know how to get there and is a direct journey. That i can deal with. But with lots of changes and unknown stations and destinations, it becomes a helterskelter of doom. DOOM!
If i can’t go, i’ll say. And try not to judge me on this. I had an experience of this at one of the places i work at. Where a colleague vaguely had a round about way of jabbing me (figuratively, not literally), about the reason why i couldn’t attend some training seminar. I couldn’t go because it was too far for me – as in, i wasn’t comfortable travelling to somewhere i don’t know very well and would mean multiple platform changes. I would’ve arrived there feeling lost – if i hadn’t physically got lost – and feeling panicky.
How do i cope?
I cope with having to travel somewhere, by using headphones, listening to music. It gives a sense of their being a barrier between me and other people. Like an invisible wall. Without this, i’m a nervous mess who has trouble breathing or looking at anything than the ceiling or floor. With music, i can look at people and feel safe and relaxed. I know it doesn’t make any logical sense, but there we go.
I also make sure i plan in advance the route in me getting to somewhere, and the various timings involved. This greatly helps, as it brings some stability and knowing where i need to be at which time, and how long it will roughly take to get to somewhere.
If there’s a bus or train that is packed to the brim, it’s better for me to either not to go, or if i really have to, squeeze in, but have my headphones on. Even if i’m travelling with another person. If it’s not crowded, i can ‘just about’ be okay without music, when travelling with a friend, as long as they engage me in conversation during the trip.
But in a crowded bus or train, encourage me to wear them. Hell, bring along your headphones and join me. We’ll get one of those splitter things and share music together. How kool an idea is that?!