7.7.15

7/7 and Me

Every year on 7th July, the media forces me to relive my worst nightmare over and over again and especially today on the 10th anniversary of the bombings, I feel as though I just can't get away from it. So, I have decided to write my own version of events- partly because I would like to tell my side of the story. Partly because I hate all the inaccuracies in the media but also because despite the fact that I want nothing more than to forget what happened that day, there is a huge chunk of me that believes that I don't deserve to erase it from my memory. After all, I was fortunate to have not been physically injured on that day. I've had a really tough time deciding on whether or not to blog about this, I like my blog to be a happy place and this isn't a happy subject!

On the 7th July 2005, I was a young ambitious girl fresh out of University having recently completed my masters degree.  I had been working for just over 6 months in my dream job and was loving every minute of it, I thrived off the buzz of working in London, it felt as though the sky was the limit and I could achieve whatever I put my mind to. What was to happen later that day, would shatter my world as I knew it and I still suffer from PTSD, panic attacks, flashbacks and nightmares 10 years on.

I set off for work that morning, as usual I was running a little bit late but only by about 5-10 minutes so that was ok and I jumped on to the arriving tube in the direction of Edgware Road which was the closest stop to my office. Ironically a few months earlier my mother had given me what she called an ' anti-terrorist kit' which consisted of a tiny hand held fan and a slimline torch which she wanted me to keep in my handbag for emergencies. I had left all these things at home because I felt pretty safe and confident on the tube. The area around Edgware Road tube station has a large Muslim community and it had never crossed my mind that this area would have been targeted by terrorists.

The tube passed Paddington Station and had then came to a standstill in the tunnel, waiting for the green light to approach Edgware Road. I checked my watch anxiously because often we could be stuck at this point for up to 5 minutes each morning and as I looked down another tube train passed us in the opposite direction. Suddenly there was an almighty explosion, the loudest noise I have ever heard in my life.....

I seem to remember there being a really bright and blinding white flash at the same time, like the sort you get from a camera flash but magnified a few million times. I can remember the look of horror and shock on the face of the woman opposite me, she had a blonde bob and was dressed in office attire.

And then the screams began as the carriage filled with smoke so thick that I couldn't see my hands before me. Was there a fire? how were we going to get out? I distinctly remember feeling like a small child once again and thinking ' I want my mummy!!"

Eventually the smoke cleared and I could see what was going on around me, two girls sat hugging each other, crying and rocking on the floor in fear. To my left, there was a pregnant lady sitting next to me and holding my hand, with her other hand she held a copy of the Quran and she frantically read out passages under her breath in prayer. I then looked out of the tube doors in front of me and realised that the passing train hadn't actually passed us but had stopped with the impact of the explosion. There was so little left of the carriage opposite and apart from the emergency lights, it was so dark outside the carriage, so it took me a while to realise that in front of me was the remainder of the carriage opposite and that the bomb had gone off just metres away from us.

A man had prised open the doors to our carriage and was speaking to people through the small gap. He told them that he was a medical person ( I can't remember if he was a Dr, a nurse or a paramedic) and he then proceeded to give directions to them as to how to administer CPR but sadly that person didn't survive.

Some people were taking photos on their phones which I found totally bizarre, why would you want a photo of our worst nightmare? I guess that everyone has their own ways of dealing with such situations though.

After what seemed like hours and hours trapped in the carriage with sounds and smells that I will never forget, emergency services came and escorted us out of the train. We had to walk along the tracks to Edgware Road Station and I remember being terrified that the line was still live and asking someone if it was safe to walk on which they assured me that it was fine. As we walked along the lines and to the train station, I tried not to look at the carnage around us but I saw some truly horrific sights that I hope never to witness again. When we reached the station, no one seemed to have any answers as to what had happened, was it a power surge, a bomb or something else?

We were taken to M&S next door to the tube where we were checked over by paramedics and then sent off on our way. My Boss and my best friend Anna from work were waiting for me at the doors although I was in such a state of shock that I didn't recognise them at all and walked straight past them. They enveloped me in a huge bear hug and then despite my protests that I was fine and ok to go to work, my boss bundled Anna and I in to a passing taxi and sent us home.

I handled things pretty well for quite a few months after wards although I have never been able to take the tube again alone. However, suddenly one day I felt as though a black cloud had descended on me and then the flashbacks and the panic attacks started. Any loud noise such as a balloon popping, someone shouting, a champagne bottle opening, still sends me in to panic mode to this day. Finally, I was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the events of that day and was referred for CBT which has helped considerably. I don't think that I will ever be able to take the tube on my own again and I struggle to use public transport in general and know that I will never be able forget the events of that day.

I still don't believe that any God or any religion would condone the murder and suffering of innocent people and I live in hope that one day we will live in a world without fear of repeat attacks. Since the events in Tunisia last month I realise that we are no closer to this dream than we were 10 years ago but we must try our best to go about our daily lives and not live in fear because if we don't then the terrorists will have won and achieved their goals.

I'm sorry for the morbid post and I promise to return very soon with the usual.

Sending much love and strength to everyone affected by terrorism today xx




18 comments

  1. Much love for you as you face such a difficult day. Prayers and thoughts for you from Pennsylvania across the way.

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  2. Oh my gosh Becca I had no idea! Sending you so much love, I bet you hugged your babies that little bit tighter tonight! I can't imagine what that was like for you! I lived in Canada when I happened and I remember the desperation I felt at not being able to find out what was going on, I have friends who lived in London and I knew my brother was arriving in Kings Cross that morning on the train, the media coverage was quite distorted but eventually I found out that each person was ok, I'm sorry you went through this but glad you are talking about your experiences, I know it will help,others x

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    1. Thank you Karen, I do hope that this can help others in someway. I remember how hard it was to get in touch with people that day, all the phone signals were jammed, so frightening for all involved and especially for those who lost loved ones xx

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  3. Goodness gracious me, no words other than thank goodness you were able to come out that horrific event alive and in one piece. xx

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    1. Thanks Debs, Yes I was really really lucky not to have been injured xx

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  4. So brave for sharing your story, can't even imagine how much this had affected you & your everyday life. Just glad you are here alive & well.xxx

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    1. Thanks lovely, I don't feel very brave!! xx

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  5. I hope that you can take strength in knowing that sharing your story is helping and inspiring others. It was incredibly brave of you to share such a personal and terrible experience. I really respect your honestly and very well written recount and I sincerely hope you can find some peace!

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    1. Thank you Catie, I sincerely hope that I can help and inspire others by sharing my story and I felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders by sharing this xx

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  6. This was indeed very brave of you to share and the flash backs and memories whilst writing this must be horrendous, but they say that writing helps deal with the nightmares and PTS. We would love to add this post to our Tuesday Stand Out Post links, but also respect that it is a very personal story and you may not want to and hope you don't take offence to us asking.

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    1. It's funny that you should say that, writing about it did indeed help and I had no idea that it would :)

      I'm more than happy for you to share this on your Tuesday link xx

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  7. Goodness, what an awful experience to go through. So pleased that you managed to escape uninjured, but this sort of thing has a huge impact on your life and my heart goes out to you. You're so brave for sharing this story xx

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  8. It was an awful scary day. We were running late because the mister had a hangover and I was nagging like crazy for him to get a move on or we would be late. Anyway I hopped on the bus and he went to get the tube. He messaged me and said the platform was overcrowded so he was getting the bus to the next tube station. He gets the piccadilly line to Kings Cross. Anyway, that was the last I heard from him about getting on the tube. I got to work and a friend of mine rang the landline and said Oh my god Rach thank god you are safe" and I was like "Eh, im at work you plank, course im safe and she said "How is Steve, is he alright" and I said "Yeah he got the tube to work, why you asking me this" and all she said was "Put the TV on now" obviously I was unaware of what had happened and I froze.... tried ringing Steve, no reply, texts not going through so I couldn't get hold of him and I am going crazy at this point. Anyway half an hour later my work doorbell goes and it is Steve, full of rage because he can't get on the tube and he is effing and jeffing and really annoyed. He had no idea what had happened either, so I put the TV on and said look.... and I don't even remember the rest of the day, it is such a blur.

    I had no idea you had gone through this, can't imagine what it was like. I still have nightmares about Steve being on that tube and I am convinced there is a reason we were late getting to work that day, otherwise he would have been on that exact tube at the time the bomb went off x

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    1. Wow, what a story!! Steve was so lucky!! I remember how frightening it was not being able to get in touch with anyone that day, all the phone lines seemed to be jammed. My dad was flying to the far east at the time, he would have known that I would have been on the tube, at that place, and that time so I was desperate to get hold of him and let him know that I was ok before he heard the news and feared the worst. I remember finally being able to get through to him and saying " I'm ok Dad, don't worry'!! and he was like 'errrr what?' Luckily I had been able to get hold of him pretty much the second he had landed so he had no idea what had happened until my call!! xx

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  9. I don't know why my other comment didn't take, but I just wanted to say BIG HUGS what a brave lady you are. I can't imagine what you went through on that day & reliving it through flash backs must be awful. Lots of love & hugs to you lovely x I'm so glad you wrote this post! xo

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    1. Thanks Lizzie! I'm so glad I wrote this too, it made me feel a tiny bit better to get it all off my chest xx

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