It started on December 21st, 2014. I was working for a private TV station. One day we were invited to a theater show, one of our colleagues was performing in the show and we wanted to cover it. I was supposed to be operating the camera but I was waiting for a friend who was late. So I sent my team to the theatre and said I will be there once my friend arrived.
When my friend and I reached the theatre, the guards were checking us so seriously and thoroughly. They checked our ID cards, searched our bodies and pockets and asked why are we were there. I want to say that there was serious security controls that day.
When my friend and I entered the hall, I saw my team and I wanted to operate the cameras but one of the camera men who was my colleague and friend as well, told me to go and grab a seat and enjoy the show.
The performance was called Heartbeat: Silence After the Explosion. It was a play that condemned suicide attacks and the actors were blaming the suicide bombers for attacks and what happens to a victim’s family after that. We were watching and enjoying the show when suddenly there was a huge sound of a blast and I saw flames and people screaming. At first I thought it was part of the play and then when I saw the blood, and realized the screaming and crying was coming from the audience I went into shock.
I started to run to the emergency exit but it was closed and then I ran towards to the stage to get out from that way and while I was running one of my colleagues shouted my name and when I saw him he was on the ground and his face was totally covered in blood. I tried to move him but he couldn’t move and I was screaming for help but the people were running and no one wanted to help. After lots of screaming some people came and helped me take him outside and fortunately there was an ambulance and we put him in it. While doing this other people were screaming and shouting to clear the way and I saw they were carrying my friend, the one who told me not to operate the camera but to go and grab a seat and enjoy the show. He wasn’t conscious. They put him in the ambulance.
He was in coma for a couple of days and then he died. Three of our colleagues were injured and one died.
It was a shocking incident for me and after that I was so depressed. I kept thinking over and over how he told me to grab a seat and enjoy the show. If he hadn’t I’d be dead as well. During my depression I didn’t talk to anybody, I just wanted to be alone. I even I left Afghanistan and came to Europe, but still I was not in a good mental situation.
Being in Europe was also difficult. It was not my country and like so many others I had the refugee status and I was getting depressed more and more every day. I started reading about my mental situation and according to many articles I realized that I was suffering from the trauma I experienced.
I was crying alone, talking to myself, I had anxiety, I had panic attacks. It was horrible.
I was very scared and I did not want to share what I was going through with anyone because I had the idea that a bad mental situation mean you’re going insane and you’re crazy and I did not want anyone to judge me or call me a mad person.
Then after a while I realized that I am not the only one who has a problem like this and a friend suggested I go and see a psychologist. I took an appointment and I went and it was so helpful. I realized that I am not crazy and I just had a sickness and I can beat it.
I started to look at the positive things that I have in my life; friends and family who love me and who are with me no matter what my situation is. I started looking at how far I have come and everything that I have gone through, and I realized that I am still standing. I realized that there are still lots of thigs to do in my life and a lot more to learn.
I started doing sports and being social and appreciating the good things that I had in my life. I started controlling my mind to ignore all the negative things which were coming to my mind. I know that it is easy to say but nothing is impossible. We all have the power to make our lives better. I have done it.
I do not regret that I had a mental problem because it made me the person who I am today. Having some problems with your mental health is not madness.
The most important thing I did was come out to people and talk about my situation, what was in my mind and what was happening to me. Once you talk about it, it really does help. Focusing on today because you cannot change the past also helped. I know that it sounds cliché but it really worked for me!