Imagine this. You have just worked all day with a growing migraine and your whole body aches like you have the flu, except you don’t. You’d prefer to have the flu, at least that would end at some point!
It’s peak hour. You jump on the train with only room to stand. It’s winter, which means the heater is ramped up on the train and you’re dressed in your winter warmers.
Each stop adds more passengers and it becomes harder to move or breathe. You suffer tachycardia so your heart rate speeds up with the heat and from standing. You’re aware you’re vaguely lightheaded so move closer to the door to gain a few precious seconds of fresh air when the door opens.
But after those doors close, the next few stops are in a tunnel and adding more and more people finishing work. You’re now sweating, shaking, weak and definitely dizzy. But you’re almost there.
You convince yourself only a few more minutes. One more stop. It’s going to be okay. You can do this!
You finally reach your destination to change trains and gratefully jump off. And then you realise… It’s even hotter and even more crowded in the station. You don’t feel any better. You feel worse.
You wait on the platform, feeling weaker by the second. Your illness has caused panic attacks in the past and you feel it coming on.
You just need to get on the next train and sit down. Then you’ll be okay. Just 2 more minutes.
Your train arrives and you grab a seat in the vestibule. Relief, pure relief. You still feel lousy, but it’s more bearable being able to sit and have some water.
Two stops later an elderly lady gets on the train. You realise out of the 6 people sitting in this area, you’re the youngest and everyone is looking at you, expecting you to move.
They have no idea. No idea that simply standing up could leave you unconscious on the floor. What do you do?
I know what I did at this moment. I stayed seated while one of the other worker women stood up and then proceeded to bitch loudly about the fact I didn’t stand up, while everyone else stared at me. Despite the fact that all these other workers had been sitting all day, I’m the youngest so I should be respectful and stand, right?
Wrong. Please don’t judge me if I need a seat on the train. I’m 29, and I look healthy. But I’m not.
Never judge by what you can see, there’s always more to the story…