Eva MacFarlane, 14, from Livingston, was at the Ariana Grande concert last May when a suicide bomber targeted families at Manchester Arena.
The traumatic event, where 22 people lost their lives, shook Eva, who struggled to process the horrific experience. She spent the past year battling the fallout before doctors diagnosed Eva with post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD).
The schoolgirl turned to music in search of an outlet to make sense of the raw emotion and “awful” thoughts that have plagued her since that harrowing night – and it has been her salvation.
Eva said: “I have been thinking a lot about the concert recently and I can’t believe it has already been a year.
“It’s always in my mind and it feels like when I think about it I’m back there all over again and it is very hard for me to cope with.
“I’ve also been ill a lot and off school. I don’t know what I would have done without my singing.”
Despite the devastating effects of the bombing, Eva channelled her feelings through songwriting and courageously stepped on stage to perform her own song at the Pumpherston Music Festival – Sing on the Bing. Proud mum Sylvia said it was an incredibly brave decision but the crowd got behind her.
“It is remarkably brave of Eva to perform at the festival because she hasn’t been able to even contemplate going to other concerts,” she said.
“Her music has really helped her to keep going, in spite of her anxiety and sleepless nights. The crowd loved her too.
“People cried when Eva sang her own song. And were joining in with some of the tracks.
“The whole family, her Dad and I both and her brother and sister, were so proud of her.”
Eva said that writing ‘My Song’ about her experience at the bombing has helped her express her feelings and manage her diagnosis.
“I feel really unhappy a lot of the time so it was actually a bit of a relief to know that it was the PTSD and that the doctors can help me with it,” Eva admitted. “They also said about it being good that I was still doing my singing and not just giving up on it.
“Everyone has been really supportive and understanding with everything that I have gone through. It feels great to know that even with PTSD people don’t see me any differently, they know I’m still me.”
As well as performing on Saturday, Eva has also sung at a live gig at Purple Orange, been on Regal Radio and performed at an open mic night as well as set up her own YouTube channel ‘Eva MacFarlane’.
Sylvia added: “Eva has had a difficult time and her singing has really helped her from a very dark place. And her absences from school caused her to lose friends and be bullied so support from the music community has been so important.
Cal Bowes from West Lothian Guitar Services has helped her put music to her song, played with her on the radio and at the festival and has been very supportive.”