It’s been more than a week since Ukraine was invaded by Putin’s army. I never really thought this could happen, yet it did happen. I felt the fear inside my body so many times these days, in the beginning a paralyzing fear, making all kind of scenarios in my mind. What am I going to do if this or that takes place? I was and still am in a state of alert.
One day, while taking a walk with my dog, I realized that I have no idea when and how this is going to end and that I cannot live all my days in fear until I have any sort of certainty. So I made space inside for acceptance of what is, as it is: uncertainty, having no idea what will come next in terms of war and its consequences. Then, I made space for some hope. Also played Rummy with my family and realized at the end that while paying attention to the game, for some moments I forgot about the war.
Each day I see the news regarding Ukraine and when president Zelensky asked on March 1st the European Parliament that Ukraine to be added to EU, I thought that a Yes would mean that Putin’s opponent in war would be the whole Europe, not just Ukraine. EU response was No, so the war still stands between Ukraine’s borders.
When doing all normal things, I feel compassion and some guilt that I can do this and most of Ukrainian people can’t. I hope this war will soon come to an end.
Later edit: In the meanwhile I found out about secondary trauma, which occurs when we are exposed to other people’s trauma. It is indeed traumatizing to witness what’s happening now in Ukraine. It also felt like a selfish attitude if I live my life instead of constantly feeling bad about the war, but I also realized that me being stuck in emotions like pain, anger or grief is not actually helping anyone. I walked through the valley of pain, but decided to step out. So I will give myself permission to live – sleep, take a walk, wash dishes, smile, watch a movie, read a book, be grateful – despite the war in Ukraine, just as I gave myself permission to dream or not be extraordinary. I will choose hope, despite the fear I feel.