A couple of weeks ago I made my way down South to see my family and friends. Normally a confident driver, I found I was a little nervous about the drive. I set off aiming to arrive at my overnight stop around 6pm. Within just a few miles my car began to squeal and squeal loudly at that! I felt my shoulders rise with tension and then felt a very strong urge to pee!
Brain chatter went something like this :-
Bloody hell what is wrong with this car? Why has it suddenly started to make such a racket? I've barely got going and now I'll have to postpone the journey. Maybe it's just a stone in the brakes or something? It's getting soo loud. I'll have to pop in at the mechanics on my way through Fort WIlliam. Flippin 'eck!
Damn, now I need a pee. How is that possible when I've only just left home!
Then as suddenly as the squeal started, it stopped!
Phew - hopefully it was just a wee stone and now all would be well but I still needed to pee and the urge was increasing!
The nearest loos were in the Glenfinnan Visitors Centre a few miles down the road. I distracted myself by singing whatever came to mind and felt a sense of calm wash over me as the Visitor centre came into sight. One problem - the Centre was packed and the carpark was chaos. I pulled into the car park and promptly left again. There was no way I would manage to park and get to the loos in time. I decided I would have to keep going and try to hold on until the next public loos around 15 miles away.
Back to Nature
Now the urge to go was so strong it hurt( sorry if that's too much info). I was almost in tears. Why was this happening to me? The road to Fort William has several Parking lay-bys which now became the centre of my attention. If I could find a quiet layby and dash into the wooded land, I could surely pee out of sight of the road? Several laybys weren't suitable but then 'Hooray' I found one. I pulled over , grabbed some tissues and dashed out of the car. Damn, a huge ditch blocked my path. I counted 1,2,3 and leapt across the ditch and scuttled behind a tree. I was about to pull down my jeans when a train shot passed just a few feet from my proposed piddling spot. I did laugh as I relieved myself but by golly what a palava!
Once that was over the rest of my journey that day went well. I was a little tense but was sure to use every opportunity to relieve myself in a proper toilet rather than behind a tree. Little did I know that it would be a precursor to what was to happen on the second part of my journey the next day.
Refreshed and fed I set off the next day enjoying the thought that within just a few hours I would see my daughter and parents again. As I pulled away from the B&B I noticed the clutch felt harder work than normal. Maybe it was down to the fact I was wearing lighter footwear than normal so it felt harder work? I don't know where that logic came from, basically I was assuming it was me rather than the car.
This part of the journey often feels harder to me because I am heading into busier areas and far more traffic. All went well and I even dropped a usual pitstop due to feeling it was unnecessary.
Now only a few miles from my parents house, I pulled off the M40 to join a dual carriageway. I would be glad to get out the car and stretch my legs and yes, have a pee!
It was at this moment as I tried to change gear that I found my clutch pedal would not depress. I was in 3rd gear and was trying to change up to 4th. I removed my foot and then tried again.
Bloody Hell! What was happening?
I popped my hazard lights on and tried again. By some miracle I got the car into neutral as cars flew passed me at high speeds. Sweat was trickling down my back. My breath was coming in gasps I was about to go into full panic. Just as I thought I would lose it completely I felt my true self kicking in.
Claire, head for the bus stop layby. It's ok. Let's get to safety and then we'll work this out.
I turned the engine off and sighed loudly. Thank goodness(or words to that effect) I could get off the carriageway.
Sorry you don't have a policy with us!
Pardon? You mean I'm not covered?
The lass from Green Flag was very apologetic but adamant that there was no policy. What the actual flip was going on. This journey was a bloody nightmare!
As it turns out Green Flag cover was with a previous insurance cover now I needed RAC.
I downloaded the app for the RAC and logged my breakdown location. it was then that I noticed my mobile was almost out of battery but how could that be? I had be charging it during the drive or so I thought. Turns out the port I was using didn't work. I was now terrified of running out of battery before I could notify my family and keep in touch with the RAC. Oh and guess what...I needed to pee again.
Brain Chatter :-
Seriously what the f**k is going on? Blimey it's hot! I'm sweating all over. Damn I want to pee again. I need to find a place to go or I'll do it here. Ok there is a field here with hedgerows so if I can get into the field that will be fine.....great here's a gate that I can climb over.
As I lifted my leg over the gate I felt cramp hit my hip and thigh. I tried to move quickly to ease the cramp and caught the back of my t-shirt in brambles. I felt the thorns push into my skin. Out of hysteria I began to laugh as I imagined the RAC pulling up and finding me stuck in brambles, halfway over a gate having wet myself.
I half fell over the gate and looked for a private place to pee. From where I was anyone on the M40 could see me so I snuck under an overgrown tree and for the second time in 24 hrs peed outside.
I was getting quite the expert! It was only a few minutes later that I notice there was an opening into the field so my gateway gymnastics had been unnecessary.
The wait for help was chaotic and frightening. terrified my phone would die on me, I got back into the car and tried charging it again which, thankfully, worked this time.
Phone is running out of battery, what if I can't contact the RAC again? Blimey it's hot. Should I have a drink of water or will it make me need to pee again. Crikey it is warm! Is it safe to get in the car next to such fast moving traffic? Aren't you meant to stay out of the car for safety? What if someone notices I'm on my own? Am I in danger? Could I beat up any bad people up if they attacked me? Am I strong enough? Did I bring my weights with me? Should I work out in the heat? Maybe I can use a dumbbell to fend off attackers? How long will I be here. Shall I contact the garage where the car is being serviced tomorrow and see if I should I should get the RAC to take me there rather than to my parents? How will I get to my parents ........bla bla bla....
After 3 hours and 2 more piddles, a chap from the RAC pulled up. I could've sworn he was wearing a super hero cape!
This story doesn't end here and annoyingly so, the car, all checked over, still squealed on the way home weeks later but the clutch was fine.
So why am I telling you my tale of woe and humour?
Well, having overcome years of anxiety and thinking I had made my way, I still have off days.
Whoever you are it is OK to have a bad day. It is OK to write off a day and look to a brighter tomorrow. It is OK to fall apart because as you learn new tools to deal with these days your faith in your ability to be OK will grow.
I put my hysteria down to being perimenopausal. Stress hits me harder these days but now I have the knowledge and insight to aid my recovery and to set boundaries to protect my wellbeing.
I love that even in panic I can laugh at myself as laughter is a powerful anxiety repellent.
Celebrating what we overcome is also a powerful a tool against anxiety. Often we do down our achievements or put them down to luck. This is robbing us of our strengths.
Why would you give your power away so freely? Admitting your achievements isn't cocky or arrogant, it is an essential part of you learning your worth and recognising how much you have to offer.
What have you achieved today that you have dismissed?
If you want to create a new habit of recognising what you have achieved, no matter how small, try out my freebie. Click on the link for an extract from my book - Mood Manager.