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  • Garri Holness

Surviving Trauma

Updated: Jun 2


How I Healed My Broken Soul



I was blown up by a suicide bomber and I lost part of my leg, but I survived. My beloved Mother died days later. My newly found fame meant the Media began digging up my past; I was headlined and discredited over a crime I served time for twenty years before, for an assault I did not commit. I think its safe to say I know trauma well.

Upon meeting me, many are shocked by my story but more so how I remain level headed despite the adversity I've faced. I wanted to share as widely as I can how I have learnt to deal with trauma, so that other's can be inspired to deal with their own adversities, in fact, we can all inspire each other.

My first problem was coming to terms with the fact that I had a problem. Something I didn't want to admit, even to myself. It happened after a lengthy in-depth discussion with someone I hold dear, when it was gently suggested that I should seek professional help; that I wasn’t the same man I used to be. I did eventually reach out for help. I urge people to look into the mental health services and make use of them; as a young black male, I am in the minority of those utilising these services and what I have learnt from my time in therapy is that there is no shame in facing your problems to change your life.

Facing the void of death is something I never thought would happen to me, and it left me in a trance-like state for a long time. Anxiety and the feeling of isolation were key symptoms for me. I also suffered from flashbacks triggered by sounds of trains and trams, and obviously by the shriek of emergency sirens. People screaming, even in fun, would take me back underground in the blink of an eye. Even smells and tastes or the feeling of my hands being wet would set me off. Before treatment there was nothing I could do to stop it. I felt unable to love, to work or to do anything constructive; everything was unfamiliar. I coped by feeling numb. I had suicidal thoughts; emotionally I was already dead.

I realise now that I didn't want anyone to see me like this, but at the time I felt like nobody wanted to see me. My disfigurement and injuries made me very self-conscious. I consulted endless doctors to heal my psoriasis, realising that the only thing their medication did was supress it for a short while, but then it would return with a vengeance. The cause was inside me and it had to come out.

I researched natural products to help with psoriasis I came to realise the condition is probably stress related. To de-stress I learnt to meditate and spent more time in my garden, weeding and planting to get in tune with nature. I took to making music and writing songs too; I wrote songs that spoke of my experiences, an outlet that was so therapeutic.

As I opened up more, sharing my experiences with others I began to feel relief. I started being active again; I was going to the gym, I enjoyed cleaning my car and then I started on my neighbour’s cars. Helping elderly neighbours gave me a sense of upliftment and purpose in still being able to contribute to my community. I began to look at life as a challenge, taking more care of my appearance and myself. My self worth was slowly being revived.

I branched out into learning more about my heritage; it made me feel closer to my Mother. I gathered information on the Internet about my ancestors, which gave me strength, new wisdom and courage to rise above the Media in my ongoing defamation.

My biggest step in my emotional recovery was when I decided to tell my own story, my memoirs. I met my co-author unexpectedly in the gym. I knew I would find someone to help me but this was a surprise even to me. We voyaged over my turbulent life; I wept, we laughed, we cried and laughed some more over the three-year writing period. We dug further into my soul that I realised I ever could again. Things regularly surprised me that suddenly came back to mind during this time. Telling someone my story, and writing a book was an experience that helped to change my life. I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone living through trauma to write about it if you can.

Since the book's completion last year, my focus is now on motivational speaking and writing. I’ve spoken to all kinds of people, from those facing their own trauma to addicts and substance abusers. I find empathy helps but also inspire by offering my own story as a case study along with tips and tricks on how to use positivity in the face of adversity. I encourage the balancing of the mind, body and soul to ease stress, allowing others to confront their fears rather than storing them away, only to be regurgitated later. I hope I can help at least one person.

I know now facing my trauma has changed me for the better making me stronger and wiser. I write this as a testimony to say that no matter what happens outside, lasting happiness isn't out there; it isn’t relying on people or possessions. It’s about finding your authentic self at the very core of your being. To do that you have get the hurt, anger, pain and trauma out so that you make space for happiness to Thrive inside of you. Happiness is indeed an inside job!

If you would like to read my memoir, my book is now available through www.spiritlevelpublishing.comor connect with me via Facebook.


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