We experienced (and are continuing to experience) a traumatic event this week, something I wish with all my heart did not happen, something that none of us could predict.
You never think it’s going to happen to you. That bad things happen to other people, that you are immune from the horrors of the world and then when something heartbreaking strikes you, it’s completely overwhelming. You feel as though you have been knocked off your feet, that the world has suddenly become this cruel, unforgiving and unfair place. That all the things you tell yourself to comfort yourself do not seep into your bones like they used to, that you are immune to the good things.
I know I feel numb. And completely in denial, hoping tomorrow I’ll wake up and it would have been just a horrible complicated dream. Those few people I told, I asked them to act as if nothing had changed. I wanted as much normality as possible but even that couldn’t shoot down the reality that our lives have changed.
Anger is the next prominent feeling alongside regret at what should have been. Fear and sadness are in there too – fear of the unknown and fear of the horrible narrative we replay in our heads. We cling to the familiar, to stories, anecdotes and to people in hope that we will perhaps understand the why. We feel as though we are going crazy so if we stick to familiarity, we won’t feel so lost.
But above all that, I’ve learned that the most important thing in life are the people we surround ourselves with.
Someone said this to me over breakfast yesterday morning. I looked around and saw, that whilst the hall was large and more or less empty, all the people I loved were there and were safe. We were all together under the worst circumstances but we were together. And I realised that nothing material could ever help me come to terms with what had happened, that it could only be time and people. That’s when perspective comes into play.
I had had this once before after the balcony collapse in Berkeley. I had been so upset in the weeks before about gaining weight in America that when we were desperately trying to process what had happened, I realised that who gives a fuck what I eat. That people don’t care as long as I am healthy and I am alive. That there were six people who would give anything to be in my place. The same went for yesterday. That all this overthinking and worry about small things in my life and the worst possible outcome was useless. To take things at face value, to accept the love we are given and do our best to reciprocate, to take the bottom line as the truth and stop with the superfluous worrying and catastrophising and appreciate those around us.
I have always tried to be honest in posts about mental health and I’ve always pushed the same notion of sharing your problems, with family, a friend or a professional. But I mean it now more than ever.
I understand that if someone makes a drastic decision, it is often impossible to pull them back, and for situations like that, I don’t have the answer other than to listen and to love.
But know, please, that no matter how hard something is, no matter how heartbroken you are, how frustrated, angry or lonely you are, there is always hope. It’s in the people you share your life with, the favourite books you read, the music you listen to, the hobbies you partake in. It’s in taking small but significant steps to change your life, it’s in something simple as walking out the door for the first time in days. It’s in trusting the uncertainty and accepting the unknown and knowing that a year from now life could be drastically different.
Samaritans: 116 123
Aware: 1890 303 302