Sunday Express

Survivors must avoid bottling up their trauma

- By Geoff Ho

An open letter to the victims of Friday’s terror attack:

TOTHOSE who were hurt by terrorist

Usman Khan at London Bridge, I am so, so have joined a club no one wants to be a member of, made up of people whose lives have been touched by terror. I know because I am a member, too, and I hate it.

I would love to be able to say that things will go back to how they were before, that there will be no impact on your lives. Sadly, that isn’t so. It will affect you and your loved ones.the question is by how much.

Likewise, to those who were caught up in the attack, I’d like to be able to say you will emerge from this unscathed. Even if you don’t have physical scars, after what you have seen and experience­d, some of you will be left with invisible mental ones.

What I can say is that what happened to you, your friends or family doesn’t have to overwhelm and ruin your lives.with work and time, you can process what happened and put it behind you.

The first and most important thing you can do is talk to someone. If necessary, seek counsellin­g. Forget being strong for your family and friends and keeping silent about what this is doing to will experience a maelstrom of emotions, including crippling despair, guilt, anger and sadness. Do not bottle it up.that’ll only end in tears, trust me.

A friend of mine tried ignoring what happened to him after the 2017 London Bridge attack. He favoured the strong, silent approach. It ate at him like a cancer and he became miserable, withdrawn, angry at himself. He was not the husband and father his family knew, he was just a shell of the fun, outgoing friend he was. In the end, he and his family had to emigrate to get a fresh start. He is slowly getting better, but it has taken time and drastic changes.

You also need to know that while you may be the one who was there or even hurt, your family and friends are affected to them. Reassure may feel guilt for the worry they experience­d, but try to forgive yourself. I realise that is easier said than done and I still have trouble with that when I think of how my parents suffered after the attack, not knowing if I was alive.

Do not let what happened change your life.try to achieve a sense of normality as soon as you can; routine can be comforting. It’s important because if you avoid the London Bridge area from now on, you are only developing a complex and letting that terrorist b ****** win. It will always have a hold on you if that happens, so don’t let it.

I know for a fact that when people confront trauma, they can recover with the love and support of family and friends.

You can stop being a victim of terror and become a survivor instead.

‘You will experience a maelstrom of emotions’

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom