Last weekend I was faced with an intruder in my home. I am female, I was alone, and there was a strange and uninvited man in my house. Lucky for me he was not aggressive at all, and left extremely quickly once he saw me.
I admit to have been a bit relaxed about security. The door was locked, but I had the window open to let some fresh air in; a window with visibility to the street and easy access. Removing the fly wire and climbing in it was not difficult.
I had told myself that the world was a safe place, and that things like intruders in your house (among many other things) were things that happened to other people.
How did I react?
I screamed, and called the police in the first instance. How I continued to react, however, was the more interesting part. Driving later in the day on toll roads I found the beep of my e-tag to be too loud. Coming home that evening a man I didnít know on the footpath outside my house sent me into a panic, and I found myself calling the police again. The next day a man came to read the water meter - I registered he was there, and jumped to alert the moment he was on my property. That fight / flight response that we have built into us is so powerful.
Each day since then my reactions have been more and more relaxed. Yes I have been a bit more careful about locking up, realising that it doesnít actually impact on my quality of life to have things locked up a bit more. Each day I have been a bit less jumpy.
Steps I have taken to help my system return to normal?
Meditation - I am fortunate that this is already a part of my life.
Exercise - I have found that doing exercise, and by doing it with an intention of standing tall and feeling strong has helped me feel strong and confident.
Allowing myself to rest - taking it a bit easier, I have been surprised at how much I have just wanted to rest this last week.
Keep doing things and keeping connected. Having kids makes this step easier, especially as I need to get out and about with and for them.
What have I taken away?
How amazing our body is in recognising danger and keeping us safe; yet also gaining a greater understanding of how people can suffer from long term anxiety and panic attacks after repeated situations that set off their fight / flight response.
How I am both angered and sad that some people feel that stealing is necessary to get by in life, and that these people are not able to access (for what ever reason) services that can help them. I was not the only one who was fearful that morning. It seemed that my intruder was literally running for his life.
The importance of support, from services such as the police; from my family, and from my friends who helped me over the couple of days where I needed help.
That as a member of this community - this society, I am one of the lucky ones. I have a roof over my head, as well as a loving husband and beautiful children. As a family we have enough money to have a house; go on holidays and to eat well; and for the most part I'm pretty safe.
Omg that must have been so scary, good on you for writing about your ordeal and letting people know how important our actions are on a everyday basis. It sounds like you were very brave but careful. Glad you are safe, all the best