Poetry From A Broken Mind And My Journey Of Recovery by Donna Siggers
Thrill-seeking, adrenaline-surging adventure got my attention. Needing to feel alive and to make the most of every moment was the second most important thing to me. My children came first.
As a reserved and somewhat shy child, I was transformed once placed in the saddle. Through riding and trust that I built with my incredibly adorable and very cheeky pony my confidence grew over time. I have my Godmother to thank for my pony and my parents for their dedication. The defining moment for me was at the tender age of seven after watching my childhood hero Eddie Kidd jump from one side of a demolished viaduct to the other over the River Blackwater in Essex on his stunt motorbike. That was when the dare-devil, adrenaline-seeking junkie within me was born: when the fire started to burn within me. I too would learn to fly (and to fall) and to claim my place in our world.
I’m hugely competitive – there’s no point taking part if not to win and this stems from those equine days. From the show jumping and especially the one-day-eventing. It didn’t stop there. I also took part in tetrathlon – for me that was cross country jumping on horse-back, cross country running, swimming and pistol shooting at targets. I was a cracking shot. Competitiveness runs through my veins as easily as blood and it’s stood me in good stead for a fight when it matters. It’s given me a spirit that’s difficult to squash: an all-important quality when facing adversity. Running has done its part in providing me with stamina and I’ve needed plenty of that too. Hitting eighty miles per week as a minimum kept me reasonably fit through my thirties. Having slowed down in my forties after making the decision not to run any more marathons swimming had become my new passion. Never one to embrace anything with half-measures I was knocking out hundreds of lengths during each session.
Sailing at sea had been exhilarating as had canoeing in white water rapids but the most accomplished I’d ever felt was in Switzerland after climbing the Schilthorn and I’ve done that twice. Once I’ve accomplished that climb a third time, I’ll truly know I’m fully recovered from the ordeal I’ve been facing these past years.
My adventurous, spontaneous and fun-loving days ended abruptly when disaster struck during the Easter weekend of twenty-fourteen. Being assaulted resulted in life-changes that saw my health plus my physical and mental ability spiral out of control. Dealing with the consequences of my head injury has tested my mind, body and soul to its limits. Without doubt, this ‘incident’ is the most traumatic experience I’ve encountered and there’s been a few in my life. Trauma is something that I’ve learnt to deal with, sometimes under harsh circumstances. With the attitude of what hasn’t killed me has made me stronger, I’m pretty certain there’s no woman that can beat the strength of my mind-set: match it yes.
Stressful experiences can result in psychological growth if you allow them to. This doesn’t mean any negative effects of trauma suddenly vanish. In point of fact it’s important we embrace the significance of them in order to learn. It enables us to establish bonds as we begin to understand how deeply those close to us care and we soon begin to learn just who doesn’t give a damn about us: it can be hurtfully surprising when you thought those people were among the ones you should be able to trust.
Trauma enabled me. Yes, it disabled me too but that’s never my focus these days for I refuse to be defined by what has happened to me. Without trauma I’d not have written and published my debut novel Broken, or its sequel Betrayal at this point in my life. My career would have continued along a dangerous path for I was making life-choices that placed me at risk of harm. ‘…that until you’ve almost lost it all, you don’t truly appreciate what you have in life…’ are a few words I jotted down at the beginning of my writing career and they still ring true for me today as strongly now as when they were first written.
Since receiving my head injury there’s something that’s both incredible and daunting that’s been occurring within me. Having always addressed any given situation with the ability to analyse with both sides of my brain (female and male perspectives) there’s now so many more aspects of me that I can add to my experiences. Life for me will never be the same, of that I’m very aware. How I experience has now shifted in a way that defines and limits me that can be exhilarating in an all-consuming manner. I now fight against any association with the adrenaline-fuelled thrills I used to seek – yet they continue to seek me. People like me, it seems cannot just walk away. We are drawn to the fix of it as if it’s an addiction and I truly believe that it is.
I'd not wish what happened to me on anyone. Being assaulted and unable to escape was horrific. My job wasn’t a conventional one and despite being highly trained to deal with such situations it left me broken for a long time: hence the name of my first novel. The fight in me isn’t over. I need to live, to feel, to experience and to strive in order that I reach a new level of achievement. There’s a choice to make in life: to pick oneself up, brush oneself down and crack on or allow the world to crumble around you. I crack on, however long it takes me. My journey continues as my recovery path takes me to wherever it might lead. What lays around the corner intrigues me beyond belief and I cannot wait to discover it.
Welcome to the depths of my mind as I faced
challenges I’d never expected. Lost Soul: Poetry From A Broken Mind and my
Journey of Recovery conveys a part of my life that I found difficult to
accept for a very long time. Sharing
this very personal side of me wasn’t an easy decision initially but I feel the
time is right to speak out about my experiences and to become an advocate of
the various health issues I’ve confronted and now live with daily. Hopefully by doing so I can help others
facing similar challenges to understand how trauma can take hold of a person
and change them. That by sharing so much
of my personal life it will give hope and faith that they can find the strength
to fight each day, one at a time. I also
hope that family, friends and care-givers find solace and understanding that
the changes their loved one faces and what they are going through isn’t
something anyone can control – possibly one of the hardest aspects to accept
during this journey. It’s not always
possible to find the words to explain what’s going on at the time and if this
book can help in some small way then putting my story out there has been worthwhile.
With No Escape
Trapped in a room with no escape route and being under attack aren’t ideal circumstances to find yourself in. However, it was something I was trained to deal with. I’m unable to share the exact details due to data protection but I can say that I was assaulted and that the focus of attention was my head. Not only was I unlucky enough to receive several punches to the left side of my forehead but the back of my head was also hit against a wall. There was no choice but to manage this situation alone and it was a substantial time before help arrived despite having called for it – by which time I’d regained control of my attacker. So many individual events were condensed into this attack. As my story unfolds and I share my journey you’ll discover the challenges this incident has left me facing, how I discovered how severe the attack was and how I unlocked my memory that had been blocked by it.
I’m still unsure how I was able to walk away as time quite literally stood still in that room. As I share with you my first poem you’ll understand the gravity of how deeply this experience affected me.