Everyday challenges: other people (part 2)

It hasn’t been a good evening.

I am always exhausted after a day at work. All I want to do is get home and relax. I am normally so overwhelmed that even the thought of having to engage with someone I don’t know can tip me over the edge into near-meltdown.

And normally that’s fine.

But today, someone was parked in my parking space (the space actually belongs to me, it’s not just one I like to use). And I didn’t know what to do. There were no visitor spaces available, and nowhere else to park. I had no script. Luckily, one of my neighbours was coming in and I checked that they were OK with me blocking them in, but I still couldn’t cope with the situation. I couldn’t cope with not knowing when I might have to go and move my car, with not knowing when the entry phone was going to ring.

I was shaking when I got up to the flat after leaving my car. I knew a full-blown meltdown was on the way, and had to do something. So I scribbled a note, went back downstairs to leave the note on the car but couldn’t go back up to the flat. I ended up screaming in the car park to try and get someone’s attention. That worked, but the person who had parked there wasn’t happy. He kept trying to justify himself, but I couldn’t engage with him in a positive way. (And, unfortunately, when I am that close to a full-blown meltdown, my language gets, um, interesting and I am not in control of what I am saying.) He kept talking, saying it was “only a parking space”. That was like a red rag to a bull.

I don’t really know what I could have done differently. I couldn’t cope with the fact someone was in my space. I couldn’t cope with the uncertainty of not knowing when I would get my space back.

But it was not a good time for me to have to talk to people. I couldn’t deal with conversation, especially with someone who had broken the rules. Under normal circumstances, I would have just retreated. Tonight, that wasn’t an option – I was blocking people and spaces in, so would have had to move my car at some point, and I know I would have just become increasingly wound up to the extent where I may not have physically been able to drive. So I needed to get the car moved, but to do that I had to have a conversation I was not really in a position to have.

And, yes, a full meltdown happened afterwards, when I was back in my flat.

I am so angry that other people’s actions can have this much impact on me. I don’t understand why people can’t just stick to the rules. I don’t know why the man today had to take over my space, and I don’t know what to do if it happens again. (I can’t even find a new script with an alternative temporary parking space if mine is taken, because there is literally nowhere else to park when the visitor spaces are full.) I don’t understand why people have so little consideration for others; why they assume that what they want should have priority.

After the meltdown, I tried to reach out to someone I thought could help, but I think I got it wrong and now I’m scared that they’re angry with me.

I wish people came with an instruction manual…


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