To mark the 10 year anniversary of the London 7/7 terrorist attacks, HuffPost UK is running Beyond The Bombings, a special series of interviews, blogs, in-depth features and exclusive research reflecting on how Britain has changed since.
I had a routine, It's a Londoner thing isn't it? We know where to stand so that we are right in front of the tube doors, we know how to squash ourselves on to an already over squished train, and we know what carriage we're supposed to be on to be as close as possible to our exit, and It was the first carriage I always got on!
On the 7 July 2005 I was running late, and the doors started to beep as I was running for 'my' carriage. I jumped onto the nearest carriage just as the doors began to slide shut, the third one down and of course, the first carriage is where the bomb went off. I think running late may have saved my life.
It can't have been more than a few seconds since we left Kings Cross, or a minute if that, when there was a loud 'BANG'.
The train lurched forward, flinging me to the right and then back left, painfully into the glass I was sitting next to, and slowly slowed to a halt. Seconds later thick black and grey smoke started to pour into the carriage, and I'm talking pour in from every single hole or vent the carriage had! We were all looking at each other wondering " what the hell?" Then the expressions changed from confusion to panic, the smoke wasn't stopping, it was getting thicker and lower, filling up the carriage and getting into our air space!
That's when I heard the screams from the carriages to my right, and banging on the doors and windows and shouts for help! We still had no idea what was going on but something was wrong, very wrong. I remember coughing, deep guttural coughs as I desperately tried to get some air into my lungs and I could hear the same all around me.
Someone shouted "get as low down as you can", and without hesitation we all bent or knelt down as much as we could in this over packed carriage to try and get some clean air. I think I must have had the stupidest thought ever down there that day. "How's Mum going to know where I am? If I die down here they will never find me"!??
I started to cry and the lady next to me took my hand and we sat there together bending down towards the floor, trying to find air to breath, and squeezing each other's hands.
I don't know how long that all took, all I know is that at some point, I heard scraping and banging against the doors from the outside, then they were suddenly pulled open and I heard a voice shouting at us, I can't remember the exact words but he was telling us what to do, and he had the way out.
Once I was helped down out of the carriage I was told "DO NOT look to your left, take each other's hands and walk in single file through the tunnel!"
And slowly we walked through the tunnel and up to the ticket hall. People were shouting in pain, others shouting orders, paramedics coming round to us and giving us oxygen. This is where I found out that there had been explosions. Not just on my train but elsewhere too, people had actually strapped bombs on themselves and set them off.
And I will never forget sitting there, with an oxygen mask on my face, watching a man being stretchered in to the hall, and I thought to myself, why is he only wearing one black sock? It took me a couple of seconds to realize he wasn't wearing a sock, his left foot was burnt to a crisp.
Eventually I was put into an ambulance and taken to a Hospital near Hampstead Heath, I was given the once over and when my details were taken police, I was told I could go.
But didn't know where to go. I had no idea where I was, the phones weren't working, and there was no transport, so I walked. I walked in a daze until I was so tired I just slumped on to the kerb... At some point in the evening I managed to find a phone box that worked, I called my parents and was overcome by the relief I could hear in their voices.
My brother had a moped so was able to get through traffic and road blocks to pick me up .At home this was the first time I saw myself in a mirror and realised that I was covered in black soot!
I know I got lucky, I survived, but I suffer from severe depression and anxiety, have done for ten years. I'm not the same person I was before, and I never will be, but I'm here and I'm trying to get better, and every year on the 7 July, I have a reminder to thank God that I'm still here and to keep going.Suggest a correction