5 Year Anniversary : Terror Attack

Eliza

Confident
Hello,
I've been off here for a while, but it was recently the 5 year anniversary of a terrorist attack I witnessed. There was a lovely commemoration on Westminster Bridge, and a reception in parliament for survivors/families of victims. And I thought this would provide some closure, but it just seems to have opened old wounds. Seeing the families of the victims and hearing about them has made it all seem more real. I am now crying constantly and waking up in the middle of the night with nightmares about the attack and then not being able to get back to sleep for hours because of hypervigilance and anxiety. I can't go anywhere without an escape route - I had a panic attack on the tube yesterday because I'm utterly convinced there's going to be another attack.

It also doesn't help that a lot of people from my new job didn't know about my experience, and because it was such big news when it happens, I think people feel like it's ok to ask me about it. So I'm finding myself going over the details over and over again, which is making it worse. But I don't want to admit that talking about it is horrendously triggering because it was 5 years ago so I feel like I should be over it.

I've spoken to a charity that helped me after it first happened, and I'm arranging a phone chat to talk through what happened. But I just feel like I need to get the words out today because I am so on edge and I'm struggling so much, I just feel like I'm on the end of my tether.

Any advice on dealing with anniversaries is most welcomed.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
I understand how you feel. I was attacked in London by 10 Asians in a racist attack. They had metal bars. I nearly died.

The last time I went to London I had a panic attack and had to come straight home. I then had a heart attack for about 15 minutes.

Keep posting on here and let it out. Its good to have therapy to deal with it. Sometimes when I have flashbacks I just say to myself "it's over now, the threat is over and I'm safe now".
 

Defaultxlove

MyPTSD Pro
"it's over now, the threat is over and I'm safe now".
this is what I do also in a way. but I still have to look around myself now, and count and name the ways that I am safe now.

notice where I am, once Ive calmed down. Im back to processing the trauma wherever I left off at last. but also sometimes PTSD just takes you on a new rollercoaster ride everytime..so Im also posting to be notified of other posts. I have an anniversary in the future and I want to do much better than I did last year. (aug)

I think how we react to our anniversaries depend on where we are at in healing.
Im so sorry this happened to you and that you find yourself with open wounds.
My T always says...use this to grow (in a sort of different way though)
it sucks now, but remember how far youve come.
an anniversary can mean whatever you want it to mean. it can mark how long youve survived
I hope you get better answers.
 

Eliza

Confident
an anniversary can mean whatever you want it to mean. it can mark how long youve survived
I think I need to think of it like that a bit more. It feels like a setback because I'd convinced myself that I'm fine now and that it was all done and dusted and the anniversary wouldn't bother me. But I think I need to accept that it will never be done & dusted and I will never be fully over it, and that's fine. My issue is that I'm a problem solver, so I need to completely retrain my brain to think like that rather than constantly thinking "What can I do to mend this?" I need to reframe it as "What can I do to help this?" if that makes any sense? I feel like I might be rambling now.
 

Eliza

Confident
here with you as you process.
Thank you so much. I think I've spent 5 years successfully pushing it down, and not actually processing, because every time I've had counselling/CBT etc, I've come out and gone "Right, that's that then. Fixed." I don't like the fact that it will always be part of me, so I just keep pushing the feelings away and now they've come back with a vengeance.
 

Defaultxlove

MyPTSD Pro
I know how you feel Eliza ...
:( I am so sorry this is our reality but the only way to healing is if we deal with it or it will come back up.,
best encouragement I have is be very gentle with yourself. and maybe reframe thinking from its a part of you, to its a part of your life that you can work on? instead of a assosication the trauma as YOU. the trauma happened to YOU. Im not sure if that would help you but separating MYSELF from the trauma was VERY important in my recovery so far. But I do believe you will find others have better answers. theres great minds here with more experience than myself
 

Eliza

Confident
That makes sense. Honestly, whilst you might not be best qualified to help, you are being a lot more help than I've had from anyone in a while.
I much prefer the idea that it is part of my life, rather than part of me. Because saying it's part of me makes me feel like I will never feel better about it again. And whilst I know I'll never be able to think about it without a certain amount of sadness - it will be nice to be able to think about it without feeling fully traumatised.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
That makes sense. Honestly, whilst you might not be best qualified to help, you are being a lot more help than I've had from anyone in a while.
I much prefer the idea that it is part of my life, rather than part of me. Because saying it's part of me makes me feel like I will never feel better about it again. And whilst I know I'll never be able to think about it without a certain amount of sadness - it will be nice to be able to think about it without feeling fully traumatised.
In my experience its about learning how to manage the symptoms.
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
I think I need to think of it like that a bit more. It feels like a setback because I'd convinced myself that I'm fine now and that it was all done and dusted and the anniversary
Yes, touching those memories - when you bring sight, sound, smell, and all that back into it can really surprise you how much it affects you, even after therapy.

That's the thing though. Therapy allows those memories to be processed. It doesn't fix them. The ouch is still there.

Hope you get back to stable soon.
 

Eliza

Confident
That's the thing though. Therapy allows those memories to be processed. It doesn't fix them. The ouch is still there.
This is true. I had a chat today with someone from a victim support charity, and he was brilliant. I think just knowing that how I'm feeling isn't uncommon, and also being able to talk about how I was really feeling. Because I have incredibly supportive friends and family, but there are some feelings that are either a bit embarrassing, or seem really selfish. So it was nice to be able to open up about them without feeling guilty for having them, or having to police what I'm saying for fear of being judged.
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
I am glad you had a good supportive chat today with the person from that group. You are allowed to feel what you feel. The feelings are yours. It's hard but try not to judge your feelings
 
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