I’m currently writing this on the train so I won’t promise how well my spelling will be, although I am in the spacious first class carriage so I’m not complaining too much at all. My free cuppa and soft drink, plus the free WiFi, is going down a treat… Oh, and a whole 4 seater table to myself too (for now anyway) – woop woop. The only downside?There’s someone with a typewriter somewhere behind me and all I can hear is the loud clicking of that as they type along. Don’t get me wrong, typewriters are great and I love the antiquity of them but there’s a time and a place and a train carriage with other people on board is not it, however headphones to the rescue.
I’ve spent much of my life on trains… having lived in the middle of nowhere for much of my life until I went to York for university I relied on buses and trains to get anywhere (nightmare I know), I’m just thankful that I lived in place that did, in fact, have hourly trains and buses because most of my friends, who live in towns and villages near me, don’t even have that. Anyway, having spent such a period being reliant on trains (until I learned to drive), I’ve come to know what to expect when travelling on trains but that was before my condition became anything as serious as it is now. Plus, I wasn’t travelling such the distance as I am now, nor lugging around the suitcases I am this weekend (well besides last year back and forth to uni).
This weekend has definitely been a revelation, training and tubing around London and southern areas. I don’t know how the southerners do it, I really don’t. Having 5 minutes between trains and tubes and everything in between, I spent the majority of my first few days running back and forth dragging my (rather heavy) suitcase behind me – very tiring and very painful. Southerners (including my family) who do that daily, I take my hat off to you. As for southern spoonies, deep deep respect because I don’t think that’s something I could be doing, even on the few occasions I would have to. I survived, and even mastered the tube (with a little direction from my sister, thanks sis!) in the space of two days, but boy have I been paying for it. The knots in my back on Friday after travelling on thursday evening, carrying my rucksack around, were something else – definitely a time when I needed my mam because she is the best at massaging them out!
Despite my survival of the southern train experience, there’s something I’ve come to realise over my travelling weekend; people look at me and all they see is a “fit, young woman” – one who should be able to manage their own suitcase, one who should be able to run between tubes and trains, one who is perfectly able to stand up for an hour on a train and one who, if she can’t, it’s because she’s just a “typical girl/woman” (a weakling basically). Yet they couldn’t be more wrong. But why does this happen? Because on the outside I look like a “normal” person, but no one realises the battles and struggles happening on the inside, and this is the biggest problem for those with invisible illnesses. Because I wasn’t in a wheelchair, using crutches or walking stick, or wearing any casts or bandages. This is why a greater awareness of invisible illnesses is needed, and one of the reasons of setting this up. We, “invisible” spoonies, experience this prejudice over and over again, and I’d forgotten just how bad it can get sometimes. This, among other reasons, is the main reason I drive everywhere now (but I was not driving into London – no way, nuh uh!).
Despite all this though, I had an enjoyable weekend with my family and loved seeing them – more on this later though as I now have to get my stuff packed and get off at my stop (York) and then drive to the (hopefully) sunny Northumberland – I won’t hold my breath though. Tatty bye for now.