Fear of Crossing Roads

Chicken Crossing the Road --- Image by © Corbis

Chicken Crossing the Road — Image by © Corbis

“No one has traveled the road of success without ever crossing the street of failures.” ~ Unknown

I have an embarrassing confession. I’m not good at crossing roads by myself. It’s a legacy of the neurological damage caused by chronic Lyme Disease and various co-infections. Like most things it’s worse when I’m tired or unwell. My reaction time slows down, and I can no longer judge safe margins.

It’s fine when I’m with my husband or a friend, but it can get me so daunted when I’m alone that I’ll go miles out of my way just to stay on the same side of the street or to use traffic lights and pedestrian crossings.

A few weeks ago a friend took me into Lismore while Ben was away. We went to the Farmers Markets and Fundies to stock up on supplies, and then headed down the main street to get some lunch.

As we walked along a slightly dishevelled and grim grey-haired woman came towards us, muttering under her breath.  Her body was rigid and she stared at the ground, barely swerving to pass us.

“Was she out of it or what?” said my friend after we walked by.

But she wasn’t.  I had felt her agitation as she came up the street, and I could see how hard the journey was for her. She was severely agoraphobic  and completely stressed about being outside. My heart went out to her as she bravely forced herself to keep walking, and I wondered how many other people had wrongly judged her.

Image from www.ehypnosis.com.au

Image from www.ehypnosis.com.au

Fast forward to yesterday. We were in Lismore, our closest large country town, and I needed could get a script filled. My husband walked me the two blocks from the car to the pharmacy, and I assured him he didn’t need to wait for me.  After all I only had to cross one country-town road to meet him back at the ute, and he had things to do too.

I started out feeling quite well but by the time my prescription was ready and my lunch-time post-tablet nausea kicked in, two blocks suddenly seemed a long way. Clutching my little bag of meds I began the journey back to our vehicle.  As I walked, slowly, with a hazy head, blurry vision and extreme nausea, I heard a muttered monotone voice behind me.

“Spotlight, Spotlight, Spotlight, Spotlight, Chandlers, Chandlers, Chandlers…”

It was the woman I’d seen a few weeks ago.  She was chanting the name of each shop as she walked past them, sticking as close to the store fronts as she could.  Her brow was beaded with perspiration although it was a cool day.  She looked as bad as I felt.

Molesworth Street, Lismore - Image from Familypedia

Molesworth Street, Lismore – Image from Familypedia

She stayed behind me until we got to the corner of the block. The muttering stopped, and I looked around.  The woman was still there, pressed against the edge of the last building. I could feel her turbulent emotions.  She was overwhelmed by how wide the street was – for her it was like having to traverse a vast ocean.

“Are you crossing the street?” I said.

She took a moment to realise I was speaking to her, so intense was her state of anxiety, but she nodded.

I extended my hand towards her.  “Can you help me?” I asked. “I’m not well and I don’t feel quite safe to cross the road on my own.”

She was beside me in an instant, and she clutched my hand tightly in hers, gripping my elbow with her other hand. Together we waited for the traffic to pass and when there was not a car in sight we walked across.

“Are you going far?” she whispered when we were safely on the other side.

“That white ute right at the end of the block,” I replied.

“I can take you nearly the whole way,” she said.

She didn’t let go of me until she was at her destination.

“You take care,” she said. “Sorry I can’t walk you the whole way. I hope you feel better soon.”

I thanked her for helping me.

“Oh, it’s no problem.” She finally smiled, quite transforming her face. Suddenly she was around my age – careworn but pretty. “There’s not much worse than having to do things alone when you’re sick.”

Sometimes we’re not okay, but still we cope the best we can. Sure we manage, but it really helps to have a friendly hand to hold. Today I wish a friend for you, or if you’re feeling up to it, that you can be that friend for someone else.  It might help you too.

Bless  ♥ xx

'Splatter Heart' by Roark Gourley

‘Splatter Heart’ by Roark Gourley

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30 thoughts on “Fear of Crossing Roads

  1. BIG smile. <3
    I'm not so great with crossing streets either. I've been pulled back 5+ separate times from stepping in front of buses I didn't notice.
    Wishing you peace.

  2. the tears are welling up in my eyes as i read your beautiful story. you are such a kind and intelligent woman with so much compassion and brilliance! thank you, thank you for your continuing uplifting posts….they add so much to my life. love, pamela

  3. Nicole, this was a lovely post, and one I can also relate to with my multiple health issues. I do believe you helped that other woman as much as she helped you … and that’s just awesome! Wishing you a wonderful day, and sending healing energies, gentle hugs and lots of love! ~ Julie xoxox

  4. Bless that woman and her dogged determination, she will make it 🙂 and God Bless you and your compassion lovely one.

  5. What a beautiful story! I currently have Dengue Fever and I am a single mum…with a 12 year old that doesn’t help me at all. It’s hard to do things when you’re on your own. It gave me a warm & fuzzy feeling when that lady jumped to your side. Sending you love xo

  6. Thank you for reminding me to live without judgement and act only from the heart. xxx I hope you are feeling well soon surely the angel who made himself known to you will find a solution soon 🙂 Sending healing your way xx

  7. Sometimes when you ask someone for help, you end up helping each other… sometimes it’s intentional, but more often it’s not. It’s a blessing either way xo beautiful post 🙂

  8. Nicole love it thank you the muttering lady hell bent on making her difficult journey or the other strange people we might meet who engage with life differently… they r just people dressed in agitation or rags or hoodies. some of the most precious lovely people I have met might scare the livin daylights out of ya (you\one) One tough teen gave the best warm hugs wit broken knucles and a tough tough personality but a pet a real pet I appreciated those hugs as my son was equally out of sorts and in his own strange place at the time and this tough scary teen was so kind and patient wit him and warm and kind to me she was an angel (a scary one mind you!)…….bless you..xxx

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  10. there is such a goodness in you! it inspires me to stay true to who i am, even when the world burns me, to not allow the actions of others to dilute the essential goodness within! hugs sx

  11. What a beautiful story. I’m so glad you shared it with us. It reminded me of two very important things: first, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you really need it, and second, even when we’re feeling so low we don’t think we have much to offer, we can still help others with small kindnesses. Amen to that. –Lucinda

  12. Pure Love. Your story made my eyes teary and my heart happy. Your act of kindness is carrying on, like a ripple effect.

    Blessings
    Teri

  13. Nicole, I would really love to reblog this, but have no idea how to do so. I see the “reblog” button across the top, But it won’t ” take”. Is it that you don’t permit reblogs? Or something with my site or iPad. I’ve never reblogged before.
    This is such a touching story.
    Melanie

  14. I agree with everyone else, what a beautiful story this is. I like the photo of the street in Lismore too (did you know that Lismore is also the name of a Scottish island?). Having trouble crossing roads must be a terrible affliction at times, and agoraphobia must be horrific, but how lovely that you engaged with that lady in the way you did.

  15. I have a phobia crossing bridges which has grown over the years. I experience vertigo even crossing small and low bridges. I’m okay if I’m with someone I trust, but when I’m alone I feel terrified and will walk a mile out of the way not to cross a bridge.

  16. I have gone to the beginning of all your posts on Lyme. This post made me tear up. A few back made me laugh out loud quite heartily. I have passed on the link to my brother in law who I hope will read very carefully about your journey. He is on one himself and reading your life’s journey seems to be exactly like reading his stories…. with regards to the Lyme Disease. Thank you ever so much for sharing. I once read your blog and through someone sharing on Facebook something you had written recently I have signed up again to follow your posts…. Cheers, Wendy

  17. Hi there. This made me tear up and a few posts back made me laugh out loud heartily. Thank you for sharing. I have passed on the link to your blog to my brother in law. He has been so very ill for such a long time and his story seems to be a mirror image of yours. I used to read your blog a few years back and then I saw a post recently that a friend had shared on Facebook and have signed up again to follow. Again thanks for sharing. Cheers Wendy

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