London: An Underground Map for panicky Claustrophobics like me.

I am a claustrophobic who has spent well over five years, if not more, avoiding the tube to avoid panic attacks. I welcome the news that Transport for London has brought out a new Tube Map showing us where tunnels are, though most of it will be away from Central London.

The only way I have managed to get on the tube recently is by heavy anxiety medication which help prevents the palpitations and hyperventilating. They are not completely perfect, but they help and I recommend them. I use a combination of anxiety and high blood pressure tablets. I have also been to a hypnotherapist, an expert ironically, in childbirth hypnotherapy, in Tunbridge Wells and learned breathing and trance techniques (yes, learned some hippie’ techniques. I also make sure I have someone with me I know who knows my condition and I try to take something to distract me, like a book, magazine or even knitting, which is better. However, there is still a risk of me getting one, in front of all these strangers. I try to keep my journeys very short and avoid crowded carriages at all costs.

If there is a choice, I would still go by the bus, cycle or walk. Even with medication, I have to get off after a few stops, if not, the next one before. If there are five stops, I could actually get off twice and then take the bus. It does generally get worse the longer I am using the tube network, particularly if there are a lot of people around, who seem to be ‘ok. I would say that dark tunnels definitely make things worse for me so knowing there where the tunnels are would help. It has been a pain for friends who aren’t claustrophobic.

The new map shows me where the tunnels are. It is a step in the right direction, but I think what will also help, is having less crowding on the tube, training people to have Mental Health First Aid, even having a carriage just for those with mental health anxiety issues, as it can be difficult having a panic attack in front of lots of ‘normal people’, where we can be very vulnerable in our situation as people do not understand or know what to do, but, the best thing is for me, is to be able to get off when I want to, rather than be fined for setting off the emergency alarm. When I have a panic attack, I don’t find that anyone helps me either. I feel an ‘idiot’ even though panic attacks can affect anyone, even geniuses. The bus is my favourite though, so if I can use the bus, and I am not in a hurry I will.

The sheer lack of control is ‘my big thing’ and I feel that I have more ‘control on a bus’. I would add that the priority seats on the tube are also helpful, as sitting down relieves anxiety.

However, if there will be loads more people on the tube train, that will mean that it’ll be more crowded for us claustrophobics! However, the bus is much cheaper than the tube, so it still will be my first choice for short journeys.

Link to Map: Tube Map showing where the Tunnels are https://tfl.gov.uk/maps/track/tube

Advertisements

Scandinavian News: Icelanders are fed up with some Tourists’ anti-social behaviour

Icelanders are experiencing several instances of anti-social behaviour from some tourists staying their country on a holiday break. Though they need tourism for their economy, they don’t need disrespectful behaviour.

The beautiful Scandinavian country of just over 330,800 people has been left reeling by these shameless visitors and local media is getting behind them.

Some inconsiderate tourists have been leaving litter, including plastic, which can last over a thousand years, whilst camping, and in South Iceland they plan to clamp down on nuisance behaviour by banning wild camping on public land completely. Litter can also harm farm animals and their unique wildlife and other animals.

There also have been reports that some holidaymakers have been killing farmers’ sheep whilst on camping trips.

Rural locals have reported tourists feeding the famous Icelandic horses despite being told not too, whilst others have been seen defaecating in public.

The British Foreign office has been informed (though I don’t have details of the actual nationalities involved).

As an huge fan of Iceland, its people and its environment, I hope to do my bit to Keep Iceland Tidy, even though I am far away in the UK. It is a great country, let’s all look after it and be a positive ambassador of your country when you visit it. If you are there, keep a look out for tourists who are spoiling the country, and contact your tour guide or hotel, who can help signpost you to the right people who can deal with such anti-social behaviour.

If you are a hotel, holiday company or connected with the tourist business in anyway, do encourage people to pick up their litter and respect the country. We can all be the change and I would love to hear what you do to help prevent this.

South Eastern Railway passenger from Kent tells of his Experience of the London Attack

A passenger from Tonbridge, Kent, said that he was travelling on a train at 10pm on 3rd June to Lewisham when the South Eastern train driver said that he had heard some information and said there had been ‘an incident’ at London Bridge and that the train wasn’t going to let passengers off at the station.

The train driver told the few passengers that were on the train that it had to go back to Sevenoaks.He said the situation at London Bridge was ‘out of control’. He sounded like he knew more about the incident than he let on.

The driver was then seen to walk on the railway tracks at London Bridge to get to the other end of the train, presumably Network Rail turned the electrics off. There appeared to be no guard on the train.

The passenger said that while the train was waiting at London Bridge for a good half an hour he could hear several police sirens near the station, although he thought it was ‘just drunk men fighting’ at it was a Saturday night. Charing Cross station was swiftly closed during the incident was known.

The passenger was pleased that South Eastern Railway staff knew very quickly what was going on, and that they took swift action as soon as they knew something was up,

Though he never got to Lewisham, the passenger came home safely thanks to the driver and those communicating with him.

Self-Care: My Visit to Hampton Court to Recover from Personal Trauma

DSCF7078I have been having difficulties dealing with family trauma recently and my mind was full of obsessive thoughts. I found it very difficult to escape them. 

For a few days I tried to process them, keeping my distance from the trauma and speaking to friends.

One of my ‘self care’ ideas was to do something I enjoy, which would be interesting and relaxing  and nothing too taxing. So on Bank Holiday Monday I went to Hampton Court, a place I haven’t been for years.It also brought out fond memories of good times, rather than times I am going through now.

I did a bit of photography and walking. I also took notice of the flowers, in particular the wisteria and tulips. Inside I enjoyed the paintings and stories of the people who lived there.

The landscape was gorgeous. I sat in the ground having a picnic and fed the birds.  It wasn’t very crowded despite it being Easter which made it less stressy. The rooms were nicely done and some even had some relaxing music in the rooms which was very helpful. The staff were great too and helpful.   Being near the water fountains was also great for the mind.

I came out feeling a lot better than before and I highly recommend a change of scene,  a bit of mindfulness when you are going through a hard time, and visit Hampton Court.

image

 

 

DSCF7071

You can get a 2 for 1 offer if you go by trains and you pick up a leaflet at the train station. (I didn’t get a free tip with this article)