Tuesday, April 23, 2013

#bostonstrong

It's been over a week since the Boston Marathon bombing, four days since the MIT police officer was killed, and people seem to be returning to normal. The trees are starting to blossom, and it's looking like it'll be a lovely spring. And me? How am I feeling?

Stressed.

Overwhelmed.

Sad.

Anxious.

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? 

1 comment:

Britney said...

I didn't know Sean Collier but he was my neighbor and my roommate knew him socially. His death hit closer to home to me than the others. Everyone in Boston seems to know someone (or know someone who knows someone) who was tragically affected by the events of last week, and that's the worst part of it. I'm thinking of MIT, and everyone else in a community that was greatly effected by this.