Few can imagine the trauma that violence inflicted by another human being can unleash. The thing that shatters us is not pain but the entire leitmotif of violated dignity and lost personhood. Without dwelling on a narrative of sheer violence that few who have not experienced it can relate to, I would move on to my journey into the trauma it engendered and into the authentic empathy that finally healed it.
The psychological trauma caused by the violence really started enveloping me only about a month after the event. My entire being was obsessed with wild fantasies of macabre revenge and gory retribution. Soon the ideas of revenge gave way to a despair so overwhelming that I started sinking into an unbelievably deep abyss where my very sense of having ever been human evaporated.
As I sunk deeper, flashbacks of the torture numbed in me episodes of incredible psychological pain that made me feel empty of my personhood.
Having studied Psychology and with a good understanding of terms such as PTSD, depression and anxiety, I turned to psychiatrists for help. However, after meeting a few, I rejected their advice for medication because I knew my issue was not one that had an organic root and because I did not wish to become a zombie dependent on psychotropic drugs.
Not only did I not wish to take any medication but the psychiatrists who were asking me to take them did not seem to touch me at any level of emotional connect. Their label of PTSD did not convey even an iota of my unique life story. So I threw the label away as I would any utterly useless garbage.
What saved me was my stubborn determination to say a firm NO to any form of biomedicine and to retain my sense of agency in how I chose to come out of my hell rather than letting anybody external to me dictate it. I realized that nobody without a real experience of the extreme violence that I had suffered could empathize with me because violence would be a mere word for them – or at best an act imagined as happening in psychologically foreign spaces.
Finally I turned to my friend – The Colonel. I knew he would understand the real complexity of what I was feeling because of his lived experiences with profound violence. A five-minute empathic eye lock with The Colonel- who listened to me as nobody had ever listened before, cured me more than any amount of talk with anybody else.
The Colonel asked me to be a soul warrior and to conquer what was tiny within me to reveal what was truly magnificent.
He also gave me an authentic account of his own voyage – back from hell and into transcendence – that followed his experience of external violence and finally his freedom from its internal repercussions. He told me that battles are fought at many levels and those fought and won at the level of the soul are the most lasting in their elevating effect.
I also spent time with my classmate and friend, who helped me regain my personhood for she listened without judging and without even demanding that I share anything beyond what I could indirectly and through fables.
Lastly, my motorcycle – a Royal Enfield Thunderbird, which accompanied me in all my solo voyages and gave me time to regrow my human heart in the lap of beatific nature.
Now I am writing a book inspired by events that I lived through and witnessed. Writing the book is yet another step in regaining my soul.
I wish to convey through this article that there are many ways in which one can be broken, in so many ways, to so many degrees.
However, the human soul has infinite resilience, which once tapped, can bring one back from seemingly infinite darkness.
Blessed are those who find authentic friends to help them rediscover their holistic purity. And I count myself as one among those so blessed.