Part of what happens when I’m anxious about going somewhere is that I obsess about things that could go wrong. I can’t rid my mind of these thoughts. What if it’s crowded? What if there’s a delay? So I’ve learned to be prepared for the outing. My husband drives me everywhere because I can’t drive, so I don’t have to worry about taking public transportation to get where I’m going. However, it is one of the goals I’m working on in therapy.
Taking public transportation makes me anxious: the wait for the train or bus, wondering if they will be delayed which would then cause me to be late, wondering if it will be crowded. It’s a lot easier to ride the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) going home because there are no time constraints or anything like that. It could still be crowded though.
When I regularly rode the CTA, I tried to make sure that when possible, I would travel at non-peak times, as in before or after rush hour. During rush hour the trains and buses get so crowded it’s like a pack of sardines (sorry for the cliché). But even before I’ve left my house, I’ve made sure there’s money on my fare card and I’ve checked a public transportation app to see what time the next bus/train will arrive.
When possible, do one or more dry runs of the route, days before the meeting. Take the train/bus to your destination. Bring a friend for support if you can, so you won’t have to do it alone. Practice.
On the day of the appointment, when I get to the train station, if there’s a line at the turnstile where people pay, I try to move swiftly. Before I even get to the station, I have my fare card in my hand, ready to pay my fare; no fumbling in my wallet. Yes, it could get stuck in the slot where you insert it, but that doesn’t seem likely. And if it does? What’s the worst that can happen? You’re late to your appointment through no fault of your own. And if the people you’re seeing aren’t understanding, you may want to rethink whether or not you want them in your life. Or is that too harsh lol?
These are the things I did when I took public transportation. Since I’ve been unable to leave my house by myself, I have yet to take my own advice.
How do you get around?