Hearing about a shooting is sad for us all. Whether in a school, movie theater, mall, or a gang related incident it affects you. For a while I avoided movie theaters and I cried sending my children to school praying they would be safe. My anxiety makes me worry but my ADHD lets those thoughts and ideas consume me and spiral out of control.
Now when I am at the movies I am scared and try to figure out where all the exits would be and analyse if the shooter was here where would I go? Would I try and make it to the exit or would I dive to the floor hoping to not get shot. If I wanted to run would I crawl or try and run fast and quickly? What if my husband does not follow me and he gets left behind? Should I try and block him? What if he tries to block me and gets shot how could I handle that? I have a deep desire to get our concealed weapon permits knowing my husband is an amazing shot and could quickly take any attackers down. I start to feel safe in that thought until it hits me that if he starts shooting others may think he is the shooter and what if they have a gun too? I look around the room and sudden movements startle me. If you think this is bad you can’t imagine my stress and worry when my children go with us, the overwhelming situation and fear threaten to consume my whole being.
I can’t parent help at school anymore without wondering what I would do if a shooter came. In my head I am mapping out what I could use as a weapon. Scissors are usually my choice. I think how I could stand by the door waiting for the gunman to enter and attack them before anyone else can get hurt. Part of me wonders if the better plan is to take my child and run but then I know I have more than one child in the building and I would be walking the halls risking one child's life in order to find my others. Yet how could I leave my other children?
One day I sat in church scared because suddenly the idea entered my mind that someone could decide to do this at church. It took all my self control to stay there while imagining all that I could, should, and needed to do if that would happen. One of the hardest parts in my mind I don’t let myself run or hide under my husband but I have to be in action trying to stop the person attacking. I wish my mind would just let me hide and be saved.
My husband bought me a gun to have at home because of my anxiety thinking someone at any moment could break in and I would have nothing to help me or my family. He patiently showed me how to use it and taught me how to shoot. One night I expressed my fears to him crying and so he (having gone through Police Officer Standards Training) walked me through scenarios at home; how to hold my gun, how to ‘clear the building’, and what decisions would be best for me to make. I don’t think he even realized the extent of my imagination and the scenarios I could come up with. I told him every thought, idea, and worry one right after another. What if this happened? But what if, what if, what if… we ended with me crying full of worry and many more unanswered questions but with his words that you can only do the best you can.
I can only do the best that I can. I can’t let these people that choose to do horrible things leave me hiding in fear. I can’t stop living my life for fear of losing it.