On a cold and bitter November morning, I was casually going about my normal routine walk, when I was stopped and asked what the time was. I naturally looked down at my watch and answered…until part way through my answer the sudden shock and realisation of being a victim of attack became apparent.
In that precise time it’s difficult to consciously do anything. You do what you can to make the whole process end as soon as possible and get away from the mess. When it’s over and you’re left alone, you regain your surroundings coming to the senses of the shock and reality of what has just happened. But this isn’t even the worst part; what comes in the aftermath really hits you.
Why did they choose me? All for pride? To gain satisfaction? To boost their ego? These were the questions I raised to myself every day for the next couple of years. It took me even longer to get over the paranoia and fear of walking alone. Even when a car use to stop by the driveway I would question who it was, why they have stopped outside my house, how long they would stop for – this was the clear mistrust of other people in the months after the attack. All this upset just for a cheap phone?
Being attacked, feeling defeated at the time, worrying excessively afterwards, and difficulties sleeping meant paranoid fears remained a part of my life comprehensively after the attack. The long term mental trauma outweighed the physical discomfort, that’s for sure.
It takes time – to accept what has happened and to learn to live with it. You are not expected to just accept and move on from what has happened, because ‘life goes on’ – no. Research shows that four out of five victims became more fearful of other people after being mugged? Traditionally, it was thought paranoid thinking was rare in the aftermath of an attack. But that is simply not true.
The bottom line is an incident like this can trigger a range of strong emotions that may be hard to handle and can change over time. The end result is that whatever you’re going through is normal, from shock, loneliness and unhappiness, but in every sense of these elements it helps to open up about them. Confiding in someone you trust, can help the situation, and allow you to move on. All of this needs time.