I have been struggling with pessimism, paranoia and post traumatic stress for the past few days. I picked up a trojan horse from somewhere and immediately became pessimistic and paranoid. This caused me to refuse to believe my anti-virus and anti-spyware programmes had successfully got rid of it. When I got the virus back two days later my worst fears were confirmed. Someone had planted something nasty on my machine and it was evading capture.
I cancelled my internet and phone banking just in case, bought a years subscription to be alerted to any changes in my credit record, and went virus hunting.
After deleting the trojan a second time I stopped using the windows internet browser, got a new browser, set the security so high I can’t flaming well move in the internet without warnings and blockages, downloaded some new security search-ware, ran checks obsessively and took to stomping hard on any offensive acting, or suspicious looking, things on my machine.
I deleted, altered and disabled anything I thought was suspicious. Since I know very little about computers really everything looked suspicious to me. First I lost the ability to press buttons on web pages, then I lost a driver for my CDRW drive and couldn’t get it to work, then my internet connection slowed to a crawl. The more I tried to find this tricky trojan (that my scans were not finding – even in safe mode) the more chaos I inflicted on my computer.
Finally my USB ports all stopped working. I raced out and bought a cheap P2 mouse so I could continue the fight. I bent a pin trying to force it in the wrong way (even with my glasses on and a torch I can’t see sometimes) so it stopped working too.
Meanwhile someone has been coming to a certain page of the blog daily. They have hit that page 60 times in 30 days – why? Some bot the net tells me is a bad bot because it doesn’t obey robot.txt orders swept through over 750 pages of the site which alarmed me no end because I don’t HAVE 750 pages on the site!
Then six people from six different countries all came to different pages of the site at the same time. They all hit one page then they all left at the same time.
That triggered my post traumatic stress disorder again. (I ended up with PTSD after an hour long battle with car thieves who terrorized me trying to get into my house last year. I have had treatment and it is much better but it can still be triggered under the right conditions.)
Six unknown computer users hitting my site in unison and leaving in unison became six youths attacking me through my computer, just as five youths attacked me in my home last year, and panic set in.
I was convinced unknown malicious people were targeting my computer, my website, and me.
When I bent the pin on the P2 mouse I was unable to get the computer to work at all as it won’t come up if there is no mouse. I went to the store to buy a new one but they had sold out. I bought a new USB one so I could at least check if the old one really had broken and caused all this. No such luck.
My computer was down. My website was alone. I could not defend it. I could not defend my computer, my website, my home or me. I went to bed in extreme distress. I decided to withdraw from the battle to save myself any more distress. I don’t know enough about the internet to fight this one.
A wise man, or woman, does not try to fight battles they are not equipped to fight.
I decided to cancel the internet, take down the site, sell the computer and go back to my books and a typewriter.
When I felt the tears beginning I realised something was dreadfully wrong so I began to self-soothe. Music, a sudoku puzzle or two, distracting, soothing, telling myself I would be OK and this too will pass.
As the night passed I calmed down and began to be able to think clearly again. *I* am safe even if my computer and website are not!
It doesn’t matter how much it *FEELS* like I am, once again, holding my back door closed as five youths throw themselves against it trying to force their way in – I am SAFE! My door is closed and locked and nobody is there.
Feelings are not reality. Feelings are not FACTS! Feelings are like the wind – they pass and they can’t hurt you if you don’t let them gain hurricane force.
I took deep breaths and told myself all the things I needed to hear. You are safe. It will all be OK in the end. You can handle this. Nothing is as bad as you are feeling it is.
Once my panic subsided I was able to think instead of feel and react to the feelings.
My USB ports failed once before. Perhaps if I do the same things I did then they will come good again. Pretend you are taking it back to the shop. Unplug it all, turn it on, turn it off then plug it all back in. If that doesn’t work – take it back to the shop. I know where the receipts are now.
So I did that and voila – back in action.
It occurred to me that, if all my security programmes are saying the trojan is gone, maybe it is gone! Maybe the things I have done in reaction to my pessimism and paranoia is all that is currently sabotaging my computer.
Everyone’s computer is under attack all the time. That is why there are so many security programmes on the market!
It will be all right. If the site is hijacked there is not much I can do about it and it will not KILL me! It will not even disable me and, if it happens, it will be part of God’s plan for my life. It will be all right. *I* will be all right.
Beating the anxiety, the pessimism, the mistrust, the instinctive reactions childhood abuse leaves you with is not easy. I had it under control up until I was attacked. Now it springs to life any time the feelings I had during that trauma are triggered again.
Not to worry. I beat those things once – I will beat them again! I will know the wounds inflicted by the trauma are fully healed when, once again, I rarely go into panic mode.
Until then I will soldier on, singing, “I get knocked DOWN, but I get UP again, they’re never gonna keep me DOWN!”