I thought that depression was worming its way in again because each time I’d have the perfect opportunity to go out on my own I’d pike. Using lame excuses like: oh, it too hot to walk to train station, it’s school holidays – it’ll be too busy, it takes at least an hour to get anywhere, or I really need to do other things. Just to name a few. I recently forced myself to spend a couple of hours out on my own. It was school holidays and I chose a place near the city, where city dwellers always congregate during this time. Also I knew that once I had gotten myself on my way, I’d be glad that I had done so.
For a couple of weeks I knew that one of my Workers needed the day off and that the Worker who filled in that morning would only be able to do what I needed to set me up for the day. So I made a promise to myself. If I woke up and the weather was good, I had to take myself out for the day. No excuses!
It was a perfect autumn morning so I prepared myself to go out. I looked up translink to check train times and whether or not lifts were working at the station because I needed to use them. I then checked that my Go Card was in my bag where I could get at it, and I chose the clothes that I was going to wear all before my Worker came to help me with my personal care. My Worker did all of usual things for me, plus attached my Ipad to my wheelchair and did my seatbelt up for me. I was set!
My Worker had left and I felt my enthusiasm drop dramatically. No! I can’t back out now – I’m bloody going! The tug-of-war started but I was determined not to do my usual thing and not go anywhere then in a day or two be down on myself and regret not having gone. To overcome this, I private messaged someone who I recently friended on Facebook who I haven’t seen in years and told them where I was going to be in the hope that they would come to say “Hi”. I left home chasing a carrot that I had dangled in front of myself hoping that I’d see this person.
I caught the first train and transferred onto the next without a hitch. I then took the 5 minute walk to my destination filled with people and found myself the shadiest tree to sit under. As had happened before (even when I’ve been waiting for someone), I seriously thought that I would quickly become bored, self-conscious and agitated with sitting under a tree on my own. Though much to my relief, quite the opposite happened.
A few people gave me a friendly smile or said something like, hello, “beautiful day” or how are you?, as they strolled past. Not at any stage did I feel uneasy or overly excited about having gone out and just sat somewhere in public on my own – something that would have happened to me not that long ago.
I learnt two lessons from this day: 1. I no longer need to dangle big carrots to motivate myself to go out on my own because I am a more at ease with myself than what I have been in years. 2. My reluctance to go anywhere on my own is not necessarily my personal insecurities as I had thought. It’s probably more about not being able to grab something to eat or drink, nor am I able to use the loo when I’m out on my own.