9 STEPS I TOOK TO OVERCOME MY FEAR

I have always loved travelling and it has not changed, however the world has changed a bit the last couple of years. Back in 2005 I was living in London when the first terror attack on the tube happened. I was shocked and changed my travelling routine for a while, but slowly I got back to living life normal again. When I moved back to Sweden, Stockholm I felt so safe being back home . However that changed for me  on 7th April 2017 when a terror attack did hit Stockholm and I found myself in the middle of it. Here is my story and how I came over my fear of this trauma.

It was a ordinary Friday, I was planing to go early from work to do some shopping. Then I had plans to visit a friend in the inner town of Stockholm. The weather was beautiful, a lovely spring day in April. I was so happy on this day. I managed to leave work around  2pm and took the subway to the main shopping street in Stockholm City. I was shopping, enjoying my Friday afternoon. 

“It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” ― Mandy Hale

As spring was on it way I was looking for some new trousers. At this point of time, chaos had probable already started further up on the main shopping street, but me and everyone else around was still unaware of the danger we were soon to find us in.

I had planned to go to Zara  a bit further up on the street, but just as I crossed the street I saw another shop that I thought I will just nip in there and then to Zara. I went towards the back of the shop looking for trousers, seconds later  I hear a big bang and see the entire shop window break into the store. I did not understand anything, neither did anyone around me, until someone screamed that a truck had just driven down the main shopping street.

Then chaos broke out  inside the store. For a few seconds all kind of thoughts went through my mind. The panic around me got worse and the store staff opened up the exit and told us we could go out there. A woman next to me with a pram was in total panic and did not really know where to go. Still I was having trouble understanding what just had happened.

I went towards the exit with other customers and we walked down a staircase and arrived on a back street. I stepped out on the street, but then other people came running down from the main street  screaming and crying and saying that someone was shooting on the main street. I jumped back to the exit hallway of the store, at this point I was so scared. I felt real fear for my life. But I pulled myself together and I thought I must get out of there.

“To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around.”
― Richie Norton

I left through the back exit t again and there was a lot of other people on the street, some in panic, some in awe, some just standing there not knowing what was going on.  I walked as quickly as I could away from the chaos. A few seconds I heard  police cars, helicopters and ambulance. Still at this point I had yet fully understand what had just happened, I was so focused on quickly walking away from he area, so I never checked on the phone if there was any news on what had just happened.

With everything that had recently happened in Europe  I was already pretty clear with the fact that it had been a terror attack. I just didn’t know how serious. I quickly called my closest family to tell them I was OK, as I know when things like this happen the phone network usually gets overloaded and you cant get through. I was so shocked but I managed to tell them I was OK.

As I walked away from the city I saw other people around me crying and in shock.   The whole town was in chaos. I walked quick out of the city and to my friend. I am was physically undamaged but the memories and what I have been involved in left me with anxiety. As I arrive at my friend I broke down and had a cry. This is also the first time I see the news and get a clear picture of what really did happen. The decision to quickly go into another store before Zara is a decision that will always be with me. Because if not I would have been on the main street when the truck drove through the crowd.  I stayed at my friends house during that evening. I did not sleep and I was still in shock. My friend drove me home the following day and I went to bed and slept through Saturday and Sunday.

 

“I have to face the fear. I have to take control of the situation and find a way to make it less frightening.” ― Veronica Roth

After this I was scared leaving the house. I was so shocked that this has happened in Stockholm, in my country, the safest place on earth for me. As soon as I heard a bang or something breaking my brain reacted and for one second I felt fear, the same fear I felt that day. I stayed home from work for a few days. I was and are  still so happy that I was OK. I realised that I needed professional help to work through the fear. Luckily for me I got help quickly via work. I slowly took small steps, helping me to move on. I am here sharing a few tips on steps that I took that I felt was very helpful.

  1. Visit the place where the fear started. Go back for a few minutes. Then a few days later, go back again stay a little bit longer, continue to do this until you no longer feel fear associated with that place. Let the brain create better, happier memories of that place.
  2. Have plenty of rest and look after yourself.
  3. Take time off from work.
  4. Go and speak to a professional. They can help you with taking steps overcoming your fear.
  5. Set small tasks for overcoming your fear. Step by step. Allow it to take the time you need.
  6. Talk with loved ones. Get them to understand your fear and they can be a part of the healing process.
  7. Realise that you may never fully will overcome your fear but try and live life as normal as possible.
  8. Overcome the fear while doing things that are fun, for example I was very scared going out in public, with big crowds. I booked tickets to a concert. This way I would be in a environment I feared, a big public event. But at the same time I was in a happy place at a concert with a friend.
  9. Be proud of the steps you have taken. Reward yourself when you feel like you have achieved the steps you set yourself.

 

UPDATE A YEAR LATER ON

It’s now been a year sense I found myself on Drottninggatan in Stockholm. I been back a few times however it is not a place I choose to visit that often. I do it if I have to. I don’t feel comfortable as I am still getting over my fear. Walking down Drottninggatan will never be the same for me, that’s just something I have to live with. Its not filled with that joy of going down the high street to shop, it is still filled with a bit of fear and reluctant. I go into the shops and do what I have to and then I go home. I look over my shoulder and I pay attention, to see if anything suspect is going on. I have my mind sharpen to react. My brain does that automatically I guess, because it can feel that I am feeling fear. I don’t like feeling fear and I go back Drottningatan to try and slowly train my brain not to associate this place with fear. Its small steps but as I said it will never be the same.

Last week I walked into the shop I was in when it all happened. It as the first time I was back. I was so glad I managed to walk in, try on a pair of trousers and walk out and feel OK. I was scared but I managed it. Next time it will probably go even better. Overcoming fear isn’t a easy task it takes time, and you need to ensure that you take the steps you feel the most comfortable with, not what others tell you to do or feel. I will continue to work on my fear everyday and I will continue to visit Drottningatan.

This post is dedicated to everyone being affected by the terrible attacks throughout the world.  

 

45 Comments

  1. September 4, 2017 / 5:13 am

    Jag har lite svårt att uttrycka mig på engelska så jag skriver på svenska. Tycker det här var väldigt bra skrivet och väldigt starkt.
    Mycket bra skrivet..

    • admin
      September 4, 2017 / 5:27 pm

      Tack!

  2. September 4, 2017 / 5:37 am

    Alötså det är så fruktansvärt, förstår inte vad det är för hemsk värld vi lever i. Skönt att du klarade dig oskadd rent fysiskt även om jag kan tänka mig att det alltid kommer finnas i bakhuvudet oavsett hur många år som än går. Var rädd om. Dig ♡

    • admin
      September 4, 2017 / 5:27 pm

      Tack!

  3. September 4, 2017 / 7:53 am

    Väldigt fint av dig att dela detta. Finns nog många dom behöver läsa detta. Jag var inte ens inne i stan när det hände men var ändå livrädd. Åkte inte till city på flera veckor efter det. Åker inte gärna dit alls om jag inte måste. Tack för att du delar med dig! Är glad att du mår bra och är vid liv!

    • admin
      September 4, 2017 / 5:30 pm

      Ja många blev rädda även om man inte var inne i stan. Tyvärr är det en verklighet i dagens samhälle. Vilket är hemskt!
      Tack för omtanken!

  4. September 4, 2017 / 10:21 am

    I talk to a group of influences the other day about fear and we talked about real fears and imagined fears. Fear of terrorism attack in a place where there’s been attacks is a real fear but definitely one we want to conquer so that we can still live fully.

  5. September 4, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    Wow, what a terrifying experience for you. I’m so glad you’ve got help to move on from it, thank you for sharing. You are very brave.

    • admin
      September 4, 2017 / 5:30 pm

      Thanks!

  6. Samantha Winchester
    September 4, 2017 / 3:25 pm

    Scary to be so close!! It is so easy these days to be scared to even leave the house because of the awful events happening around us every day ❤️

  7. September 4, 2017 / 3:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing. This was a very honest piece.

  8. September 4, 2017 / 4:16 pm

    We can understand the situation that you have faced during that time. Great article and these tips would be very helpful for many.

  9. September 4, 2017 / 4:27 pm

    Fear is a funny thing. The only way to be rid of it is to face it.

  10. September 4, 2017 / 5:32 pm

    Very inspirational post. Fear can be one big stumbling bloc in one’s life, if you don’t face it.

    • admin
      September 4, 2017 / 5:35 pm

      Thanks! Yes facing it is the only way to get over the fear.

  11. September 4, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    Oh my, this would be scary. I try to never let fear run my life. I remind myself that a life lived in fear isn’t really a life lived at all. So that helps me.

    • admin
      September 5, 2017 / 6:15 am

      Yeah we need to live like there is no fear, as if we feared everything we wouldn’t live.

  12. September 4, 2017 / 6:57 pm

    I can’t even imagine how you must have felt. Thank you so much for sharing this, and I’m glad that you are okay and have been able to face your fear. This was such a brave thing to share, and I’m sure it will help so many others x

    • admin
      September 5, 2017 / 6:16 am

      Thanks Kara! Being able to share my story and being honest about my fear is part of the process.

  13. September 4, 2017 / 11:25 pm

    Such a terrifying experience, I can only imagine. However, how your responded to it was full of grace! Great read and such an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing!!

    • admin
      September 5, 2017 / 6:16 am

      Thanks for those kind words!

  14. September 5, 2017 / 1:00 am

    I can’t imagine how scary it must be to be that close to a terrorist attack. I imagine it would take some time to get over your fear and try to move forward. I bet it also took courage to share your experience so thank you for that!

    • admin
      September 5, 2017 / 6:17 am

      Thanks!

  15. September 5, 2017 / 5:30 am

    Hey,

    Just letting you know that I think your blog is so unique and incredible that I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. It really was such a pleasure to explore your site and read through your posts. Ill be sure to continue following you through your journey.

    I am here linking to the Liebster Award post where I’ve listed you among my nominees. As per the rules of this award you now have to answer the questions I have asked, find your own nominees and set them your own questions if you choose to accept this award. If you do I would love it if you could send me a link to the post once you’ve published so I can have a look at the answers you’ve given to my questions.

    Again thank you for the insight to your blog. I look forward to what the future brings for you. Have a great day.

    Elizabeth (centbuzz.com)
    http://www.centbuzz.com/centbuzz-nominated-liebster-award-yaay/

    • admin
      September 5, 2017 / 4:49 pm

      Thank you! This makes me so happy! I will get writing on a post about this shortly!

  16. September 5, 2017 / 11:54 am

    oh gosh, this sounds so terrifying! I’m glad you are okay and that you keep going! Taking good care of yourself is indeed importanta as well as talking to a professional!

    • admin
      September 5, 2017 / 4:38 pm

      Thanks!

  17. September 5, 2017 / 1:26 pm

    I could not imagine myself being in that situation. I don’t know how will I react on it. Such a traumatic experience. I am glad you learned how to deal with it as well. Your such a brave girl. I hope it won’t happen again.

    • admin
      September 5, 2017 / 4:39 pm

      Thank you!

  18. September 5, 2017 / 1:29 pm

    Oh that must’ve been just terrifying! I’ve never been even close so I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like… And PTSD often follows you for life. The sooner people seek help, the less destructive it will be, but still. 🙁

  19. September 5, 2017 / 11:55 pm

    Wow, I did not know this had happened in Stockholm. I’m glad to hear that you are okay. You are really brave for wanting to confront your fear and move on from what has happened. But take your time and don’t push yourself too much if it is too traumatic.

    • admin
      September 6, 2017 / 4:16 pm

      Thank you!

  20. Blair villanueva
    September 6, 2017 / 3:42 am

    You are right. If we let fear covers us, we would definitely not moving on.
    Fears are everywhere, and it is our duty to be courage and not let it stop us on what we do and what we aim for.

    • admin
      September 6, 2017 / 4:16 pm

      Yeah we have to courage and work through our fears

  21. September 6, 2017 / 10:30 am

    After September 11th, have been fearful and more aware of attacks. Which in turn help me prepare.

  22. September 6, 2017 / 3:11 pm

    We are in Austria so we have been following the attacks in all the European countries around us. It is so scary , but living in fear means allowing those people to win.

    • admin
      September 6, 2017 / 4:15 pm

      Yeah we don’t want them to fear us to get on with our normal lives.

  23. September 7, 2017 / 9:19 pm

    The world is a scary place, it’s crazy what is going on around us. Thanks for sharing this post, I try not to live in fear, it’s not good for us.

    • admin
      September 9, 2017 / 7:10 am

      Thanks!

  24. April 9, 2018 / 7:53 pm

    Such an interesting story! Thank you so much for sharing, really brave of you!
    I’m glad you’re taking baby steps to overcome the fear. Even if it doesn’t happen fully…as long as it’s better than yesterday, it’s progress 🙂

    Stay strong and may something this traumatic never happen to you again!

    http://www.desiringsme.com/3-ways-increase-confidence/

  25. April 10, 2018 / 7:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. People who weren’t there quickly forget about it, and we don’t realize that events like that change people’s lives forever. You should definitely be proud of your strength and resilience.

    • admin
      April 11, 2018 / 4:28 pm

      Thanks for your kind words! 🙂

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