Sunday, August 21, 2005

London recovers website

This website enables survivors from all of the four 7th July blasts to get in touch with each other.

If there is anyone reading this blog who was affected, injured, bereaved, by any of the bombs then you may find this site, set up by a bomb survivor of 7/7/2005 to be helpful.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


My friend who was in the same carriage as you hasn't been to any support groups, hasn't spoken to anyone, says he hasn't suffered trauma and that life is back to normal. I am really worried about him, but is that silly if he's telling me he's fine?


August 26, 2005 2:13 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

He may well feel that his best way of dealing with it is to act as if it never happened.

Quite a few men especially have this reaction and it is a common reaction in soldiers returning home from wars or firefighters who have seen terrible things. Many people resent the loss of control that is inherent in being involved in a crisis event and aftrewards try to shut off from it. Many people feel uncomfortable with the idea of touchy-feely Oprah style 'therapy' or 'group support'.

A young man at my work was like this and very determined that he was 'fine' even though he was clearly, physically shocked, had burst eardums, was jumpy, irritable, angry and his sleeping patterns were disrupted ( he was on carriage 3). In the end I got him to see his GP by appealing to his practical side - I pointed out that he may want to claim Criminal Injury Compensation for the damage to his ears and the physical shock - this is a government fuunded compensation board that is there for all victims of violent crime that result in injury, from muggings to terrorist attacks. He did want to claim, so he then went to his doctor who told him that the practical thing to so with shock was to treat it early to prevent longer term problems. He then saw a trauma counsellor who deals with ambulance men, firemen and so on ( fairly macho things!) and was equipped to give good advice on dealing with the after effects of the bombed train. He explained that seeking pro help was sensible - this was an event off the scale of what humans normally deal with, he wasn't trained for it and so a few hours 'debriefing' was what any sensible chap would do.

I would trust your instinct with your friend. If he seems fine - laughing happily, rather than in a brittle way, pleased to be alive, enjoying socialising and exercise and work and all his normal pursuits - basically, is he as he was before 7/7/2005? If he is, then I would relax. The proof of it is in his behaviour.

If he seems angry, withdrawn,hyper, letthargic tired, anxious, jumpy, grumpy for no particular reason, if he seems to be following the news more than normal, drinking, smoking, eating, exercising more or less than normal then you should know that these are signs of stress and may be related to having been in an extreme situation.

The other thing to be aware of is that extreme situations can often trigger memories of other unpleasant situations, and people can judge themselves harshly and remember uncomfortable and painful things. And one of the hardest things to remember is the panic, the helplessness and the fear. If this does not sit comfortably with your self-image as a strong, confident, practical person, then the response may be to try to block it all out and 'adjust' the remembered reality by insisting that you were, and you are, and you will be JUST FINE.

In these cases, if you aren't fine, it usually pops out in the end. A bout of illness, or even depression. It really does help in my experience to get checked out early, then you can relax more about the future.

The thing for all of us on that train is that we were ALL terrified. we all thought we were going to die. Some of us were silent. Some of us were sick with fear. Some of us sobbed. Some of us thought selfish things like' 'Let ME off now! I don't care what else happens, only let me get off'. All normal reactions to being stuck in what felt like a smoke filled tomb. All of us had to leave the dead and the dying and the screaming behind and none of us could help them much, if at all. That is hard to live with. And it has only been a matter of weeks after all.

If your friend feels anything like most of us I can understand completely why he would rather forget about it.

I wish you and him all the best; if you can keep an eye on him and use your intuition then I think you will know how to help him when the time comes, your concern for him demonstrates that you are a sensitive and kind person and people can never have too many friends like you.

August 26, 2005 11:31 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home