The days are longer in the summer, and for me that means a bit more freedom. One of my triggers is night time. It really sucks too, because I swear to God, I used to be a night child. I loved everything about walking out at night, and feeling like a dark cozy blanket with starts, gets laid over the earth. I felt more charged and alive at night, than any day in the sun. Its sad, but now all the night brings me is anxiety. I have other triggers too, like, certain areas of the city, or even alcohol and substance abuse; mostly though when someone is drunk and loud. I just feel like the intoxicated person could do anything at any moment, and things can turn sour fast. These things have hindered me quite a bit if I’m completely honest, but I try to do things out of my comfort zone still, because I need to try and live MY life.
So not long ago, my friend asked me if I wanted to come over swimming at her place, and use the sauna. I really needed the heat therapy for my neck, as I have a permanent neck injury, due to being beaten up so bad. The very first thing that came into my head was, what time is it now? and how much time till its dark? followed by the feeling of severe anxiousness in my chest, and then slowly mixing up my lunch in my gut. Brain to Alice! BREATH! I take a breath, figure out the time, and since the sun doesn’t go down till much later in the evening, I agreed to go.
I try to turn things around in my head and well, not trick, but almost re-wire my brain and say to myself, that I’m not anxious, I’m excited to go out with my friend! Yeah that’s right, excited! We both used public transportation to get to her place and you know I had such a good time and I was so glad that I had gotten out. Its almost a feeling of accomplishment for me, when I stay out past a certain time too, even if the sun is still out. I had about an hour until it started getting dark out, so I started wrapping things up with my friend. I hadn’t had the best experiences in that area as well, so she gladly walked me to my bus stop (decreasing my anxiety by 50%).
I saw my bus coming and hugged my friend goodbye, and as I took in a deep breath, I again felt pretty good now. I got on the bus smiled at the bus driver, walked over to a spot by the window, and pulled out my book to read for the trip home. I remember thinking to myself, ‘See Alice, you went out, you had a great time, you are on the bus safe and sound, and on your way back home’. I was totally relaxed as i started into my book.
It was only two stops later, that I heard a loud and inebriated voice come up from the front of the bus. Two drunk women pleading with the bus driver to let them on the bus, even though they had no fair to pay. I could hear my voice in my head yelling, ‘NOOOO NOOO PLEASE NOOO’, while simultaneously assuring myself, its okay mind your business, and read your book you’ll be fine.
A flash of me walking down a back lane, going home from work, music blaring in my headphones, and then THUD! something crashed down hard on my left shoulder blade area. I immediately looked to see if a something was thrown at me, and pulled out my earbud and heard screaming. Looking up, all I could see was some girl yelling, and hanging from the passenger side window, and getting back into the vehicle. My heart was racing so fast, the sound of blood rushing in my ears, made it hard to hear what she was yelling. Then they turned at the end of the back lane, and I ran the short bit home, in case they came back around.
I’m back on the bus, and immediately pull out one of my earpieces, so I can hear in case anyone tries to attack me. I can tell my senses have been heightened, because I’m feeling extremely aware. Even though I’m looking down at my book, I can see through my peripheral vision, they are walking toward me now, looking for a spot to sit. Of course with my luck, the two sit across from me and slightly behind me. Honestly at this point, I’m just trying to breath and not panic.
Just as I’m trying to assure myself, that they are probably just trying to get home safe, like me, one of the women starts yelling. She literally is trying to pick a fight out of no where, and starts yelling racist things to the bus driver, who just let her on the bus for free. I couldn’t believe the nerve of this woman, but then remembered the alcohol, and intoxication. My chest was so tight, and at this point my stomach was being held by a fist of anxiety. She starts yelling at other people on the bus, at everyone now even taking racial shots at me. My fingers were white gripping my book. My legs felt non existent. Honestly it felt as though my legs where made of jelly, and from the waist up it was all concrete, and coursing through my entire body was a bolt of electricity. I tried switching up my thoughts from fearful to something else, but then it just turned to rage. Complete anger, and I found myself picturing me kicking her ass! That thought right there freaked me out, because I hate fighting, its another HUGE trigger for me.
Should I get off the bus, and risk being stuck out here in the dark ,around possibly more intoxicated people? should I just sit here? What if they target me, and get off where I get off, and then try to fight with me? So needless to say I was a mess at this point. I don’t know what I would have done, if the bus driver hadn’t stopped the bus, and had security remove them. For the next twenty minutes, I would keep trying to read the same sentence over and over, all the while reminding myself to breath and that I’m okay.
That event isn’t, and hasn’t stopped me from going and doing things since, but it was really hard to sleep for a while ,and made my anxiety worse for a bit. Its such a slap in the face, when things like that happen to me, at least that’s how it feels for me. Like I’m already trying really hard, and then people have to go and make it harder for me. I can only focus on me though. I can only continue to move forward from what had happened to me, and try to learn from it and be as patient and positive with myself along the way.