I work at MIT. It's not something I have mentioned on my blog in an effort to keep my personal and blog lives separate. I've been working here since the day after I graduated college back in May 2006. If I'm being honest, I feel more of a connection to MIT than I do my own alma mater. I also work one building over from where Sean Collier, the fallen MIT police officer, was killed.
I understand that people have been profoundly impacted by the events of last week. I know that I wasn't even in the state when everything happened. I won't pretend that I'm special in any way. But I can explain a little bit of how I'm feeling. Yesterday was my first day back in the office in over two weeks (I was on vacation). I forced myself to ride the T, even though I was internally panicking. I forced myself to walk past the makeshift memorial to Officer Sean Collier, even though it made me cry. I forced myself to sit through a day at work even though my skin was crawling and I all I wanted to do was go home and bury myself under the covers. I saw a student walking around with a backpack with a large antenna sticking out and I panicked. I was so exhausted last night but all I did was toss and turn. This morning the idea of riding on the T made me so anxious that I drove to work.
I distinctly remember the feeling of helplessness and utter despair after watching the Twin Towers fall. It was an event that changed me, and New York, forever. And it's interesting that I hadn't made much (or any) connection between September 11th and the Boston Marathon bombings. I feel very fortunate that my therapist is a New Yorker who lived there during 9/11. I think that people are entitled to their feelings regarding such life-changing events, but there's a special understanding between those who have lived through the same trauma. She gets it. In our session today, the first since everything that has happened, I (mostly unsuccessfully) tried to explain how I was feeling. The words that came most easily to mind were overwhelmed and anxious. She asked if I was sleeping? Nope. Did I have trouble sleeping after 9/11? Absolutely. Was I anxious using public transportation after September 11th? Definitely.
I'm trying to process and to move on, but even walking to my office is a constant reminder of what has happened. Realistically, I know that I am probably more safe in Boston today than I was before the bombings. Realistically, I understand that the chances of anything else happening are one in a million. But I can't help but feel as though I have been hit on so many fronts - as a runner, a New Yorker-turned Bostonian, and an MIT employee. It feels intensely personal. I'm giving myself permission to feel everything I need to in order to move forward.
|"there will always be those who are helping"|
How are you all holding up? What has helped you to find peace and comfort?