Whilst waiting at JFK airport on Friday evening to board our return flight home to Germany, the news was on about the Paris terror that had just unfolded..I am an anxious flyer as it is and my husband has also become one, so watching yet another terror attack and how all countries at high risk were tightening security was very nerveracking..Horrible thoughts started filling my mind again and my breathing was off..The Russian plane crash due to a terrorist bomb previously was already on my mind….Terrorism is awful, but what is more awful is the reason why this is happening..Political leaders in our world intefere, think they know best and go to other people’s countries and kill in the name of making things better in the long run..This is a lie and their reasons in the first place are wrong..You can’t just go into someone’s country and start bombing the shit out of it because you don’t agree with their politics, their religion, their way of life..It is also truly sad to comprehend that a suicide bomber thinks so little of his own life whilst killing others in the name of revenge and religion..In order to do that, you are already destroyed emotionally..It is all so sad..
All this shooting and terrorism also triggers my own traumatic experiences of feeling scared, trapped and in danger.A sexual assault was one of them but luckily I escaped unharmed.The most terrifying was getting caught up in an armed robbery in Greece in 2011..Watching the news, reading about all the trauma, blood & horror at the moment, sends me right back to the shot that was fired that early morning in the post office after the robbers got their money..
Whilst I am sitting here relieved to have made it home safe, I still have bad jetlag and anxiety brought on by the news.Being triggered is exhausting but this still doesn’t stop me from caring for those people in shock round the world. I feel like describing what happened the day of the armed robbery, in the hope that this will ease my current stress levels a little..If this is triggering, please don’t continue reading…
September 7th 2011
I woke up early that morning with anxiety, as it was still very hot at 38 degrees celsius and I didnt have aircon. I had a quick shower to cool off, grabbed a banana and some bread and decided to head out early to post a customer’s order, before the day got hotter. It was a quick 7 min walk to the post office, so nice and easy I thought..Once I got there, there was already quite a few people so I stood right next to the entrance of the post office in a queue, waiting to post off some artwork that someone had bought from me. This was always a happy occassion for me! A minute or two later the robbers ran in shouting ‘robbery’ and told us to lie on the floor. I thought it was a movie. I couldn’t believe it..The woman in front of me was whimpering out of fear and I was patting her back softly saying ‘shhh, its ok don’t worry, they will just take the money and leave, they have no reason to hurt anyone’…In that moment, I think I was also trying to comfort myself out of this surreal experience, telling that lady and myself that it was going to be ok..There was also a mother with a 2 year old little boy who was screaming & crying and 5 other people in their 40’s and 60’s waiting in the queue in front of me and a lady who had joined the queue seconds before these men appeared. Just moments after I said ‘they have no reason to hurt anyone’, they fired a gun shot and then ran out..In that precise moment, I couldn’t believe it! The terror, disbelief and thoughts of why? I felt was awful..I turned around and the woman behind me was shot in the arm..Blood was everywhere and she was saying please help me..It was by accident I think, as the robbers just shot the gun to scare us but the bullet got the lady..I ran out shouting to the neighbouring shops to call an ambulance and the police and luckily they already had….I told the woman she would be ok..
That bullet could have hit me..I was right in front of this lady, with a small gap separating us which was the entrance/exit of the post office..I ran home shaking and crying, only to be completely alone with no one to talk to..My friends and Dad were not picking up their phones..I remember going onto facebook trying to find someone to talk to..The support on there was huge luckily..It took me days for my breathing to return to normal again..
When you are already traumatised and you suffer additional traumas you are less equipped to handle the after effects..That was one of the most terrifying moments in my life..The next hours, days after that I was shaking and didn’t want to leave the house…Luckily at the time I was already seeing a therapist and I called her crying saying that I didn’t want to have more Post Traumatic Stress…that I felt so awful that I didn’t want to get worse again..that I didn’t deserve more trauma..that I was sick and tired of always feeling afraid…She said it was awful and that she was so sorry this happened to me but that I had to face it…A week later I went back to that same post office with a friend..and this did actually stop the fear from getting bigger..
Since that day however, I have an inability to be around screaming/crying babies as they really trigger me and so do loud ‘bangs’ or motorbike helmets..(The robbers wore motorbike helmets that day..). Now after all the horrific terror attacks, suicide bombings in Beirut, Paris, the destroyed plane, Tunisia etc. I am feeling so so sad for all these people..I feel their pain, their shock, their anger, their disbelief…I know what it feels like to feel trapped and terrified…but I can’t imagine what it feels like to see so many people lying dead around you, what it feels like to hold your dead child, or wife or parent in your arms..What it feels like to flee your home and country, risking your life yet again to eventually make it to Turkey, Greece and eventually other countries just so you can feel safe and start over..
War & terror are caused by anger, greed, pain, psychopathy and very sick human beings…Will it ever stop? No..
Lets not forget though that there is also so much good in the world, so much kindness in these moments of horror..I continue to try and hold onto that goodness in these awful weeks and unfortunately in whatever is heading our way next..Love is important! Respect is important and most of all equality of all humans round the world..There is good and bad everywhere..Nobody wants evil but it is there..Kindness will always prevail I’d like to think..