In your face, anxiety – part two: London with a 3 year old

Yesterday was a huge day for me – we had been invited to Hamleys  for a special event and after my last trip to London I thought I’d be okay.

Turns out my anxiety had other ideas – I started feeling awful about it two days before and the night before I hardly slept.  What if I lost the boy?  What if we got lost?  What if I couldn’t cope being in crowds of people?

What if, what if, what if.

I’ve never taken the boy to London – I have enough trouble looking after myself in the big city let alone a child, and so I was, well, bricking it to be honest.

We left home at 6:30 on Friday, met up with Fran and her lovely Whingelets en route and I was a bit of a mess – I’d had three nervous poo’s before we left, I felt sick and I had the shakes.

I was trying my best to hide it, and I was just about pulling it off.

We walked from Charing Cross to Hamleys, and I relaxed and felt okay – it wasn’t too busy and I didn’t feel claustrophobic or panicked; I was hopeful I would make it through the day without crying/being sick/shitting myself though fear.

And then it got busy; being the holidays there were tourists everywhere.  I was still just about keeping my shit together, all was good.  We walked from Regent Street to the Science Museum and decided on a quick lunch to refuel and keep the kids happy.

It was hell.  It was so packed you couldn’t move, and there was no seating on ground level – so we bumped two buggies, shopping, and the kids down the stairs and waited for a table.

I could feel the panic starting – it started in the pit of my stomach, I felt sick.. My chest went tight, I couldn’t breathe, and my head started spinning.

I did all I could to fight it – which is the worst thing to do.  I didn’t want the kids, Fran, or anyone else to see that I was on the verge of tears and overcome with panic.

And then a very lovely staff member who hasn’t a cell of good nature or customer service in her body decided to insist I moved the buggy for no reason, jobworth wanker that she was.

I tried my best to style it out, but lost it.  I started crying, that overwhelming urge to run and feeling of impending doom took over.

We swiftly finished lunch, and made it back outside – I didn’t feel right at all, I didn’t know what to do – I couldn’t just bolt, we were an hour from Charing Cross, I couldn’t handle the tube and I didn’t want to give in.

The Science Museum was rammed.  I yet again completely lost it and burst into tears; every irrational fear, every negative thought, they were just flying round my head.

I calmed down, we made it out, by this time we decided to head back to Charing Cross.  After finding every bloody tube entrance closed we made the hellish decent to the Piccadilly line.

It happened again – heights and escalators are not my thing; I was feeling totally out of sorts and I had to navigate the many steps and escalators with a buggy, bags and a child.

Turns out 50% of the people in the world are nice and will help.  The other 50% are selfish bastards who just ignore your struggles.  Shame on you.

The tube was just awful, luckily it was only a few stops until we had to then climb up hundreds of stairs and escalators.  (I should mention at this point – the kids were amazing; they were so well behaved and I couldn’t be prouder of my own and the Whingelets)

I lost my footing on the up-escalator and a very kind gentleman(he deserves to be called one) put his hand out to help me and checked I was okay.  Thank you, who ever you are…

The best part of all this?  Despite the panic attacks, despite the awfulness of the bad moments, I know I’m starting to manage it better – I ended the day immensely proud of myself for doing it, for getting through it and for dealing with it.

It was an awesome day, we had so much fun and although it put me through the emotional ringer, it was totally worth it.  I also can’t thank Fran enough – you were absolutely fab and guided me through the bad shit, so thank you.  (Totally understand if we never see you again after that and my son pissing on your brand new carpet… awks)

So yet again – in your face, anxiety – I’ll beat you every time.



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