Travelling and anxiety

Hi this may seem like a really small worry but am finding myself worrying about a train journey, it’s not for a few weeks but am already worrying about it. The journey, the platforms, the walking and the crowds and tips please appreciated :slight_smile: :train:

Some tips
Can you get someone to help you to the train?
Contact the rail company and ask for assistance, they should provide this at both depart abd arrival stns
Try and find out if there are any groups that can out insecure travellers togerher
If not thrn on journey use the guard for assistance.
Dont be efraid of using taxus.
Anyone got any other tips?

Hello AnaElsa
I can totally relate to how you feel and it is not a small worry. A few years ago I was due to travel to Norfolk to stay with a friend for a few days. I didn’t have a big bag but I was carrying a bit of luggage. At my local station I stood on the platform where the front of the train would be a few steps back from the yellow line. The train came in, my feet froze and I couldn’t move for a few seconds but then I headed for the door as the door closing alarm sounded. A man very kindly held the door for me and I got on, but I was so shaken up I got off two stops along where I had to change trains, aborted my journey, asked a member of staff to help me get to the taxi rank and went home. I simply couldn’t believe the driver didn’t see what was happening practically under his nose. It put me off totally. I thought that I couldn’t travel on my own anymore, especially by train. As it happened the first lockdown started shortly afterwards which put paid to any travel for some time. It was about two years before I had to face this again but I was determined it wasn’t going to beat me and I managed a local trip involving 2 trains each way but I was incredibly anxious - the motivator was I was meeting two friends for lunch who I hadn’t seen in a long time and I think adrenalin got me through that day.
The key for me now is planning every detail as much as I can especially for an unfamiliar journey and simplifying where I can. These are the sorts of things I do.

I travel light by sending my case on ahead using one of the courier services. It is not unduly expensive but worth every penny because I can then travel with just a handbag or tote bag. It is a door to door service I have used several times with no problems whatsoever. Not having to manage luggage on the journey makes the whole experience much simpler and, therefore easier for me to cope with.

Passenger Assist. I haven’t used this yet but I did email them about a trip I was going to make but in the end didn’t happen. They told me that I would be met at the station in London, would be escorted to the underground and seen safely on the train. They would then ring through to my arrival station, tell them where on the train I was and someone would be there to meet me and escort me up to the main terminal. I didn’t use it in the end but you don’t have to book in advance, just go to any member of staff and say you need help. This gave me the confidence to approach a staff member and ask for help if the anxiety was beginning to rise wherever I am.

I allow plenty of time so that I don’t have to rush and worry about missing my train or bus.

I always plan my journey timing to take into account anything that may prove difficult. For example my local station is not staffed full time, after 3.00 pm there are no staff to help. So rather than having to use the ticket machine with dozens of buttons and which I don’t easily use, I will get my ticket in advance. Depending where I am going it is possible to use a contactless card now which is just touch in and touch out so is a useful option, although I can’t use my rail card with this method.

You can get tickets in all sorts of formats these days but, having tried a few I have decided that having a proper paper or card ticket is one that I am happiest with. When booking in advance this can cost a little more as the tickets are posted out, but to me this is worth it because I am happiest (therefore less prone to get anxious) with a ticket I can hold.

You can get a lot of information when booking in advance. For instance on a recent trip to Devon I knew the train departure time, my coach and seat reservation and the platform it would be leaving from. Once on the platform the boad showed the train divided into coaches and beneath each coach the zone or area on the platform where that coach would stop.

Many stations not only list their facilities etc but have virtual tours and these are worth having a look at so you are more familiar with the station layout.

The first time I went I opted to take a taxi across London both ways more expensive but simpler especially as I was travelling to an unfamiliar station. When I did the journey again recently I thought I would give the Elizabeth Line a go. Was a bit anxious but managed it.

Never be afraid to ask for help. The first time I went to Devon the train was very hot which I found exhausting. When it came to getting off I knew I would struggle, there was a risk my feet would freeze because I was hot, tired with anxiety levels rising so I asked the lady sitting in front of me if she could help me with my bag, which she did and there was no disaster - although i did sit on the platform seat for several minutes lol.

I write out my travel details clearly - a separate page for outward and return and keep this easily to hand when travelling as a quick reminder.

Some of this may seem obvious and not worth doing and you don’t have to do exactly as I do but look at your journey and plan it carefully with as much background as you feel need so you end up with a clear journey plan does help. Once I have my plan I just reread that so I know it well whenever I feel a bit anxious but don’t do anything to it. I also keep an eye on the train operator’s website for any information on changes, engineering work etc ticking only to my journey not the whole of the information.

Part of the problem is that you will be wrestling with your brain that makes it feel like you’re asking the impossible and makes you anxious and stressed. There will probably be an element of that but with a clear plan you will know exactly what to do and where you are going and I have found that makes a huge difference to my stress levels.

Finally, the first time you complete your journey successfully you will feel great, a huge sense of achievement - which indeed it is.

Hope this may help a bit.
Good luck, you can do it


Hi That was really helpful. thank you.
I have a yearning to revisit Canada on a nostalgia journey. My 1st husband and I emigrated there about 40 years ago but we only stayed 6 months because he got cancer. I would love to go back but I am a bit scared of going alone because of the same issues with PD. I wish I could find a travel companion.

Hello Jeannius1
I don’t know if this is ‘your thing’ but it might be at least worth looking into. There are travel companion sites which do exactly what you are asking. Just put travel companions in the search, travel buddies is another term they use, and have a look at what comes up. What have you got to lose?
Good luck.

Hi Anaelsa

I can really relate to your worry. It’s only happened since I’ve had PD and took me a while to realise why I felt so anxious.
I found once I connected it to PD it was a little easier to deal with. It’s PD’s fault, not mine!
It doesn’t go away of course but for me planning helps deal with it.

  1. A clear “to do list”. Starting with tasks the night before so that I don’t like awake wondering what I have forgotten. Tick each one as completed.
    A note pad by the bed so I can jot down any extra concerns for the morning rather than lie awake thinking about them.

  2. Break the day/trip down into smaller stages in my mind - on paper if necessary. It sounds silly but I find this makes the whole trip less daunting.

  3. Have clothes for the day already laid out so there is no last minute rush. Rush and last minute changes/decisions throw me these days.

  4. Plan, list if necessary, tasks for the travel day.

  5. Most important of all remember your medication

  6. I you have a stick, take it with you. I find people often give me more room and time and are less likely to get impatient with me when they see a stick.
    Good Luck

Hia Daffy, and thank you Katsoft and Tot, your replies are appreciated. In my rational mind I can do this, it’s just that anxiety has taken over and it is still a couple of weeks away, that said a visit to the pharmacy brought on another spell this week, emotions all over the place by the time I came out :confused: . I have an ear infection so am hoping once the antibiotics kick in I may start feeling a lot better about it, thank you again, your words are appreciated

Hi again. I’m the same anxiety pops up unexpectedly in simple situations that never bothered me before.
Another thing I’ve learned is to allow more time than I think necessary. It might mean a bit of a wait but at least I’m not rushed which can trigger my anxiety.
And I’m more open about having PD. But never apologise for it - its not your fault.
I say something like. “I have Parkinson’s so I’m a bit slow”
And I’ve been amazed by how helpful people can be once they know.
Good luck

Thank you Daffy, your kind words are very much appreciated, take care :smile:

Hi AnaElsa

I’m about to travel by train to London and then to a concert at the 02 in the next few weeks. I’m travelling with my wife but I use a rollator and it’s the first time on a train since before the pandemic. So I just wanted to empathise with you, as I have been fretting about step free access, how busy it will be and especially freezing at entrances and barriers (which is made worse when I’m stressed). So though whilst not offering any tips I just wanted to say I have found your thread really helpful.

Good luck with your trip. Colin

1 Like

Hello col1210
I just wanted to say what a lovely post you have written in support of AnaElsa and to say I hope your own trip is successful and enjoyable especially since you are going to a concert. My friend has been to the O2 many times and has found the staff always willing to help so don’t be afraid to ask - if for example the barriers look like they may be an obstacle because the place is very busy and just the type of scenario that triggers a freezing episode, approach a member of staff before going to the barrier and explain. As for step free access you should be able to find out exactly the situation for your trip and Passenger Assist should be able to tell you exactly. I emailed them with details of my journey and they sent me excellent information in return - you may want to do this so you then have a written record of exactly what’s what. You have probably done that already but if you find you are still fretting it’s time to challenge your Parkinson’s brain which loves negativity and replace it with logical brain. You tell yourself over and over I’ve planned my trip, I know where I are going at each point, I’ve given yourself enough time and there will be people I can ask for help if I need it. More to the point the trip is for a lovely reason and my wife will be with me so all I have to do is relax and enjoy it. It may not stop you fretting 100% but it can help.
Do let us know how you get on, your experience may well help others.
I would say good luck but there’s no need, you’ll be fine - instead I will just say enjoy your trip both the travelling and the concert.

Hi Tot thank you for your kind message. I will give Passenger Assist a try. Kind regards Colin

Thank you Colin, I hope you enjoy your concert :smile: