Appreciate those who keep us safe

Marsha McAdam says we need to look after each other and take the pressure off the people we rely on

How do you begin to comprehend what happened in the recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London? The answer is you can’t.

Picture: Alamy

Like many people, I had been expecting an attack for years, but as I live with a borderline personality disorder, I had to constantly remind myself that I was catastrophising and that an attack was only a possibility. Now it has become all too real. For years, I watched with horror the news of what was being done to the women and children in Syria: and now there are bombs and killings are on our doorstep.

So what are we to do? I guess we put our faith in human nature and learn to love our neighbour again. It has taken a tragedy like this for us to remember to show empathy towards our neighbours, our communities, family and friends – for us to stand in unity. 

I was in Manchester the day after the attack was carried out at the Ariana Grande concert, and I saw that the people of Greater Manchester were still out and about. And the next week, after an appointment near St Anne’s Square, I went to pay my respects at the makeshift memorial, and while a lot of people there, it was eerily quiet.

When I was in the city centre, I felt reassured with all the police patrolling and thanked them for protecting us. Do any of us really know everything that nurses, doctors, ambulance crews, fire brigades, rail staff, voluntary sector workers and the countless others do to keep us all safe and out of harm’s way?

I can’t begin to understand politics, and wouldn’t even try, but one thing I know with certainty is that we need to value all the people who work to keep us safe. How can they look after my health and well-being, and that of the nation, if they themselves are buckling under pressure? 

About the author

Marsha McAdam is a service user in Greater Manchester and a member of the editorial advisory board of Mental Health Practice

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