Train platform anxiety

Even at rush hour, the train platform can be a very lonely place. Despite this, many of us share the same intrusive thoughts on our daily commute.

Thoughts involving pushing someone in front of a train, or jumping ourselves, are very common. Thankfully, there are ways to reduce the anxiety.

a girl waits for a train to stop at an underground station

In 1992, a survey (1) was conducted with students. It was asking them what intrusive thoughts they have, none of the students had a diagnosed mental health problem.

They found that out of the group:

  • 25% of females and 29% of males had thoughts about jumping in front of a car or train
  • 8% of females and 20% of males had thoughts of pushing a stranger in front of a car or train
  • 5% of females and 14% of males had thoughts of pushing family in front of a car or train

Every working day I reach the platform, and take a few steps back. 

When my anxiety is high, I make sure my back is to the wall and I am as far away from the edge as possible.

I hate how easy it is to end up on the tracks. No barriers, nothing. It just takes one crazy person to push me and I’m done for.

Some days, I question if I’m that crazy person. 

A commuter looks down the platform, with a quote from a upcoming paragraph

I’ll see a commuter standing on the edge as the train is approaching, and I think to myself ‘Are you mad? Do you know how easy it is for someone to push you and there’s literally nothing you can do about it?’.

And then I ask myself why I would even think that. Maybe these people are comfortable standing so close to the tracks because they don’t have these thoughts. 

It’s not normal.

Sometimes I feel I am too anxious. Other times I question my morality.

What if I am scared of being pushed because there are others out there like me? I try my hardest to remember I have never done this, nor do I want to. 

What if it just happens? A day when I am angry, or have an argument with someone… my body just reacts and that’s it. They’re gone and my life is ruined. It’s horrible to think about on every single commute.

Platform anxiety goes hand-in-hand with a fear of public transport in general.

This can be the fear of pushing someone or being pushed. It may be the fear of staring at someone and being caught.

Such anxiety can really take a toll, especially in those hectic rush-hour commutes. The stress of travel before and after work can rapidly reduce quality of life and happiness.

Therapies, and understanding such fears are common and treatable, can really make a difference and improve our day to day.


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