The Locked-In Traveler: High Anxiety


The Locked-In Traveler

(Kati’s Wheelchair Traveling Journals)

High Anxiety

(Click here for audio blog)

After becoming Locked- in, I have gotten a bad case of high anxiety. It does not take much for me to start panicking. A ten centimeters difference in the flooring is enough to make my hair stand up.  

It is quite logical if you think. I cannot move at all. I cannot keep my balance. Moreover, I certainly cannot break a fall. It makes sense that I have; “fear of heights.”

We went for a walk in Fort Lauderdale to get familiar with the surroundings and of course to enjoy the weather. Fort Lauderdale is known as the Venice of Florida because of its kilometers of waterways that run through the city.

The city is easily accessible for wheelchairs; you feel like you can go anywhere. We were enjoying our walk until crossing one bridge and we looked down and could see the water down below. The bridge had an open mesh flooring, meaning that you can see below.

My friend Irina, who was pushing my wheelchair at that moment, also suffers from high anxiety. She froze when she saw into the depth. It took her only a few seconds to make a U-turn and go back. It sounds silly, I know. Only a person who also suffers from high anxiety would understand.

I can enjoy a beautiful view but from a distance, as far as possible from the edge. Especially if it has a low or see-through railing.

Get Kati’s autobiography; “Living Underwater

We were once visiting the city of Tampere here in Finland. Henning wanted to see the views of the city from the, Pyynikki observation tower. I thought to myself; “it is a tower, we will be inside, so no problem.” However, when I got upstairs and got out of the elevator, I immediately wanted to go back down. To my “luck “the elevator door would not close, we were stuck up there. I panicked, of course.

Henning had to take the stairs down to get help. One employee took a small broom and came to clean the threshold. It was a normal thing to them that tiny stones fall into it, making it that the door could not close. After cleaning it, the door shut, and we were on our way down again. You cannot imagine the relief! When I was safely down, I swore that I am done with high buildings. At least, for a while.

I like the looks of a glass deck. Nevertheless, I cannot take being on such flooring. I cannot even handle being lowered a step by someone that I do not trust.

While walking around the Thames river in London, we came upon; “The London Eye.” Henning, my mother, and my assistant wanted to go up. The Ferris wheel is wheelchair accessible, and I could go on if I wanted to. But no way I am going up there.

Henning had to stay down with me while mom and my assistant went up. I promised Henning that next time when we visit London it´s his turn to go up.


Get Kati’s autobiography; “Living Underwater

(Kati & Henning van der Hoeven)

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