Walking along a street feels like a privilege, once I was too frightened.
Going on a train feels like I'm climbing Mount Everest, 15 months ago that was an impossibility which I would have laughed at if someone suggested it.
Going to concerts alone, eating in restaurants alone, going to art exhibitions alone - beyond what I ever thought would be my life.
Sure, I ended up in meltdown on the Underground. Lightly hitting myself around the head, saying words over and over aloud (I must have said "Nearly there" about a hundred times when chivvying myself along back out onto street level). Clearly, I'll never choose a life spent in a huge city. I'll never not be autistic, but I am able to do 12 hour Grand Days Out without needing rescuing by external forces (whether that be emergency services or family friends who would drop everything to come to my aid).
The evil psychiatrist twatfacefuckingarsehole [insert any other expletives here, they are all appropriate] said one thing which was true. Only ever the one thing. On first meeting with me he said "You'll live your life your way" and I guess I am. With an inherent distrust of men in suits and ties thanks to him and his inappropriate ways, but my life in my own way.
I had come to the conclusion 2 years ago that going out on my own was just never going to be a feasible event. That it would end up in A&E if I tried, and that isn't great, so I wouldn't try. That I was just going to have to accept that my life was different, and that was that. However, I'm pushing my boundaries to get to things I want to get to.
Tomorrow, undoubtedly after the stress of today, I'll be a fairly pathetic person who can't walk down the garden in case there are snipers in the trees (oh yeah, thoughts are completely rational, as always. *rolls eyes* But knowing they are most certainly not rational still doesn't mean I won't be frightened). I'll panic that I smell of London and end up using hot water to have a shower (I very very rarely use hot water, I have freezing cold showers) and then I'll feel guilty. I'll ache like crazy because I have been on the go all day today. I'll either fight the wish to nap mid-afternoon, or give in to it - either way will feel rubbish. However crap tomorrow will be, however crazy and dysfunctional tomorrow will be, today has been worth it. Tomorrow won't be as bad as I was 5 years ago.
A day out isn't much more to most people than a luxury. Or a nice thing. To me it is like saying "Your challenge for today is to function in London and enjoy as much of it as possible" - it is just a completely weird thing to be able to do. From gritting my teeth and doing the "independent living" activities with the Unsupportive Support Worker in the hope maybe she would go away if I did then, from sitting on park benches trying to get used to the idea that the world wasn't going to kill me, to walking around London being just another person. OK, yeah, a person looking fairly like they are about to curl up in a ball on the floor of a side alley and sob at times, but I'm just a person.
Reflecting back, I'm a different person to that person I was at the beginning of 2010. Very different to the beginning of 2009 when I was petrified by the world and really not certain whether this "living" thing was quite my thing. Even if I feel like right now I want to do damage to myself (not in a lethal way, don't worry) I am fairly sure that is just my brain's way of complaining about the day, so I've told myself to wait and see whether I still need to tomorrow before making the decision (when it is more likely to be a no decision).
I'm off to bed. I'll try not to contemplate on how I should be proud of myself but I'm not, or why did I choose to go down that escalator when it was sign-posted quite clearly that it wasn't that way I was intending to go, or why did I decide to change at Westminster instead of Embankment or whatever, but instead sleep. I'm home, I'm safe, I went to all the places I was planning on going to, and that is a fairly miraculous achievement in the Learning To Be A Grown Up task.
We may ponder why my little finger on my left hand is incredibly cold when all the rest of my fingers are throbbing-ly hot though. But that is a valid contemplation methinks, as it is just plain weird. ;)