“Not a day goes by that this doesn’t affect you and all of us still,” says Ariana Grande.
Since then, the singer has worked hard to support and remain connected to her fans. She sprang into action immediately following the attack, organising One Love Manchester, an extraordinary benefit concert in just two weeks that raised more than £10million for the victims and their families. She, like thousands of others, had a bee, which is part of the Manchester coat of arms, inked onto her body to remember those who lost their lives (see below). And, likewise, she ended the music video for No Tears Left To Cry, her first single after the attack, with a shot of a bee flying off.
Now, as we approach the third anniversary of the bombing (22 May), Grande has shared a heartfelt message with fans.
Writing on her Instagram Stories, Grande shared: “I want to take a moment to acknowledge and send my love to everyone that is feeling the sadness and tremendous heaviness of the anniversary coming up this week.
“Not a day goes by that this doesn’t affect you and all of us still.”
The singer added: “I will be thinking of you all week and weekend.
“My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with you always.”
She finished the post, naturally, with a bee emoji.
Speaking to Time magazine two years ago, Grande said it would “take forever” for her to come to terms with her grief about what happened.
“Music is supposed to be the safest thing in the world. I think that’s why [the attack is] still so heavy on my heart every single day,” she said.
“I wish there was more that I could fix. You think with time it’ll become easier to talk about. Or you’ll make peace with it. But every day I wait for that peace to come and it’s still very painful.”
Writing on Instagram Stories at the time, Grande shared a snapshot of a text message she had recently sent to her friends.
Within this message were three brain scan images, two of which showed a comparison between a “healthy brain” and “PTSD brain”.
The third scan depicted Grande’s own brain, and it doesn’t take a doctor to see which of the previous images her brain is most similar to.
“Guys…” she wrote in the group message, adding, “my brain.”
To her fans, though, Grande noted that she had found the revelation about her brain to be both “hilarious and terrifying”.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop in some people after witnessing or being involved in traumatic events. Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Texas at Austin said several studies have shown changes in the brains of patients with PTSD.
“There is no doubt that PTSD changes the way the brain responds to trauma-related and other emotional stimuli. However, there are not brain imaging tests that are diagnostic of PTSD,” he told CNN.
According to a study survey in 2014, around four in 100 people suffer from PTSD at some stage in their lives.
This means that (as noted by the NHS) PTSD can affect anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, or social status.
Symptoms of PTSD can include:
- flashbacks, nightmares or frightening thoughts
- sweating and shaking
- avoidance of reminders of the event and a refusal to discuss the experience
- numbness and feelings of estrangement or detachment from others
- inability to remember aspects of the traumatic event
- decreased interest in life
- increased consciousness of one’s own mortality
- flight/fight syndrome
- problems with concentration
- problems with sleeping
- irritability or outbursts of anger
- hyper-vigilance and alertness to possible danger
- re-experiencing the traumatic event
- feelings of guilt
PTSD often involves periods of symptom remission followed by an increase of symptoms. However, some people will experience severe and unremitting symptoms.
“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is used to describe a range of psychological symptoms which can follow traumatic events. PTSD can be triggered by anything that consciously, or unconsciously, reminds an individual of a specific trauma in their lives,” Stephen Buckley, head of information at Mind, previously told Stylist.
“Symptoms can include vivid flashbacks, nightmares, lack of sleep and feeling emotionally cut-off.”
Buckley added that seeking support is crucial in coping with PTSD, saying: “We would advise anyone who thinks they might be experiencing a mental health problem to seek support – speak to a friend or family member, visit your GP or call the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393 for more information.”