Firstly I want to say my thoughts and well wishes are with all those who’ve been affected by the attack. Not only the injured and the dead but the families, friends, relatives and all the people deeply shook by this. The people who were at the M.E.N arena one night, two nights before. Who can’t help thinking ‘that could have been us’. The people who never thought this would happen and the parents beating themselves up because a week or months before they let their own children attend a concert alone.
Some people are going to judge me hard for this post. I mean I don’t blame you. I’ll probably seem selfish. It’s okay if you feel like that. I feel like that to. I feel selfish in my shock and grief and upset. I feel selfish for the way my brain is wired.
I think it’s important to write about it though. I think it’s important to talk about how these things affect us. Even when we’re not directly involved. It’s important to talk about mental health and it’s important to talk about things like this when they affect you.
Tonight I woke up at 3am (something that’s been happening a lot lately) to two messages on my phone. Immediately panic stations set in when I see the time they were sent. Nobody messages me apart from my mum or my boyfriend. It’s very rare that anyone else does.
They were sent around 12:50am. My brain, being wired the way it is immediately starts going to the worst places even before I’ve seen who they’re from.
It was my mum. Asking me if I’d seen what had happened at the M.E.N arena.
I hadn’t but I went on the M.E.N website and immediately shock rolled through me.
I woke my boyfriend to tell him.
After several minutes of disbelief. Shock began to settle in.
Not in Manchester.
Things like this don’t happen in my city. That removed sense had always managed to keep me at arms length of terror attacks. Even as they get closer to home.
London, America, Europe. After each attack my brain would start to go into overdrive. About journeys, about people, about what if it happens here. It always seemed so far away though. My brain found comfort in that, it allowed me not to panic. Not to get too emotional.
This has happened in Manchester though. My Manchester.
I immediately started to cry. There were people I knew at that concert, people who are thankfully safe. Their might have been more people I knew there, I don’t know. This is where my brain begins to take over though.
I was at the M.E.N arena last week.
I was watching Harry Potter in concert with my mum and little sister and my brain can’t help but keep repeating that to me. It could have been us, it could have been them. A week and a day difference.
My mind starts to race with the fact that my mum, on crutches, wouldn’t be able to run. My mind starts to race to dark places of different scenarios where I am powerless and separated from my mum and little sister.
When I try to switch these intrusive thoughts off. My brain switches to thinking about all those involved, all those injured. All those panicked people unable to find loved ones. Still desperately trying to find relatives.
It’s like a horrible cycle.
Thinking about people affected, thinking about it affecting their lives. It spirals into me thinking about my mum and sister. Back into thinking about how people are feeling.
Back into thinking about how you can’t help how people feel. You can’t take away that pain. That kind of pain. The emotional pain can’t be taken away.
People who suffer from Mental Health know both sides of the coin. They know how hard it is to have both people trying to help you. They also understand the fact that there’s not a lot can be done to make that voice in your head, or those feelings stop.
It’s a helpless feeling.
It’s a helpless horrible feeling.
Mixed in with this complicated mass of feelings for me though is the guilt.
The guilt of feeling like this, the guilt of my brain doing what it does best. The other voice that sets in telling me how selfish and what a despicable person I am. The little voice telling me I have no right to feel like this.
I do have a right though.
You have a right too.
Whether you’re a parent who let’s their teenagers go to concerts, anywhere, who’re thinking it could have been them. Whether you’re an acquaitaince of someone who was there. Whether you only know people in Manchester. Whether you merely know someone who was getting the train, or leaving work hours before.
Or if like me if you’re someone who’s attended an event there in the last days, months, weeks.
You are allowed and entitled to feel the shock you do. The sadness. The grief. You are allowed to be affected by these horrible horrible incidents.
You are allowed to express your disbelief and your emotions.
My Pure O is probably going to go into overdrive over the next few days. Even though, I also tell myself I don’t have any real right to it.
But I do.
My thoughts are with everyone tonight and for the coming days.
My thoughts are with the emergency services who have dealt with the events tonight. The police. The doctors, nurses and medics.
If you’re affected, anyone. Whether you’re on Facebook. Twitter or out in the WordPress world and you need to talk please feel free to talk to me. I won’t judge. I will just listen or read.