Year:- 2009. It was deepest winter time in deepest England. I’d just finished my night shift, working at a postal sorting office. During the night, I’d witnessed bucketfuls of snow descending on this part of England. I wasn’t looking forward to my journey home in the car.
I set off, snow still falling. It took me an age to make it out onto the main dual carriageway. When I reached there, the horrors were about to unfold. Cars strewn everywhere, people having given up trying to reach home in some of the worst winter weather seen for some years.
I sat there and pondered my fate. What do I do, I thought to myself. I decided, probably foolhardily, to press on and reach home, some 35 miles away. I set off, through the deep snow, inching my unsteady way forward. There were other people trying to help others get onto the carriageway, some with success, some without.
I drove on, at a very slow speed, afraid to depress the brake pedal for fear of skidding off down a ditch. If I knew how my life would pan out, I probably would have driven off the road on purpose. This thought though, was not on my mind as I slowly made my way along.
There were abandoned cars, in ditches, in lay bys, as the futility of beating the snow became more ever present. Then all of a sudden, white out. A complete white out. Visibility reduced to a few metres. Snow falling heavily, I gripped the steering wheel tighter and plodded on, becoming scared as I did so.
Mile after mile, there was nothing to be seen. It was like a Christmas card, only worse. The time seemed to be going forward very slowly. A forty minute journey turning into a two and a half hour test of endurance. My right foot was on the accelerator, albeit gently. My left foot was nowhere near touching the brake or the clutch, as that would have spelt disaster.
Then, the blizzard slowly abated, and I reached the motorway, where conditions were somewhat easier. I started to breathe a bit easier, knowing the worst was over. But what a frightening experience, probably the worst as a car driver I’ve ever experienced. Determination saw me through to journey’s end. Again, if I knew the fate that was to befall me in the years ahead, I could easily have made a decision that would have signalled the end for Allen Brooks. Fortunately, that decision never came to pass, certainly not while driving a car. In other ways, yes, but not in charge of a metal box with wheels.
I can look back now and can remember the night very clearly indeed. Scary, frightening and terrifying. A bit like my anxiety and depression on some days. But I got through it, as I will with this bout of depression and anxiety that is currently plaguing me. Determination to succeed, and to battle against all the odds, that’s what keeps me going.
Allen Brooks xx