LOST SOUL: Broken Soul to Soul on Fire


Swallowed by the lasting effects of brain trauma that an assault at work left her facing, Donna Siggers lost all sense of purpose. Challenges included memory loss, constant pain, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and seizures. Relearning who the important people in her life were, and with their support, Donna has fought diligently to regain quality of life despite it being vastly different from before. Unable to look at her own reflection and initially unaccepting of forced change, this candid account of triumph over adversity will give hope to others facing similar difficulties. Now an award-winning crime fiction author and a mental health advocate, Donna strives in spite of her experience and hopes by sharing

her story it will inspire others.

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"Raw, down to the bone narration of a seriously brain-injured person. It must have been extremely difficult and a highly emotional task for Siggers to re-examine the circumstances of the injury which left her disabled. To revisit the healing process that she endured and her determination to forge a career in writing is a feat that I respect and esteem greatly."


I admire her bravery and her candour writing this book. I especially appreciated and enjoyed reading the prose sections in-between the poetry.” -
"Most amazing female writer I've ever had the pleasure to know and to read" - Levi Perry

"I loved the easy to read feel, and felt every word and poem. For anyone that can relate in any way, will find this book inspiring, uplifting, and sometimes sad. Was fascinating, and I think brave for the author to share such a traumatic and life changing story"

“This gives a very honest and direct approach to Donna's life changing head injury and her tough road to recovery. Parts of this are shocking, saddening, and parts made me smile. A book with a very positive and strong message."

"This is a candid account of a personal struggle that is highly relatable. Donna is not afraid to confront her demons in a forthright manner. I was also impressed by the way she fought so diligently to regain a sense of identity and purpose after her brain injury, a fact that, no doubt, will inspire many of her readers" - Matt Nagin
"It's really heart touching"

What a shining example you are to all victims of assault. People think when your outward scars go so do the inside ones but that's not true. You suffered with dreadful trauma and pain but came through with determination to write your wonderful books. What a help you are to other victims of assault and abuse. Thank you Donna. God Bless you--Maureen Flanagan Cox

Courageous gal, still fighting and achieving greatness. Continue your fight Donna. You're a brave warrior--Martin Sharp

Donna, you are a brave soul with a heart of gold--Rayner Tapia

“Inspirational book. Donna not only survived she fought and came back from devastating injury. She still fights and is one brave lady

CHAPTER ONE: 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. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances of the work being carried out and the rules of data protection there are strict restrictions on what can and cannot be shared with you.

"An amazingly challenging book. Don't be fooled by its brevity, a powerful but measured account of trauma at its worst" - Mark Flewitt

Working within the field of mental health was hugely rewarding but demanding. No two days were the same, nor were they predictable. Never should anyone turn up for work and be placed in a position of harm. Staff attacks were commonplace, but thankfully mostly were small injuries. Within a volatile environment, where talking didn’t always diffuse heightened situations and restraints, often on the floor, were becoming too frequent I was seriously thinking of moving on. There had been several instances to make me feel that safety wasn’t a priority and in hindsight, the human bite I received and their reaction to it should have been my wakeup call but that had occurred just three weeks into my employment.

 Brain trauma is a different story.

 Initially I only remembered being punched once and it wasn’t until my first therapy sessions that the full extent of the assault became apparent. Sharing the [abridged] event will enable you to understand why my brain became so damaged, why it took so long to recover and indeed why I still live with complications. Its also important that you understand that I was dealing with a patient with psychosis and that I had a duty of care towards that person—under no terms was I permitted to respond unprofessionally, violently or without justification. Even though I was under attack I was most definitely not allowed to fight back.

 The first punch caught me above the left eye and although it knocked me backwards and dislodged my glasses, it wasn’t anything I couldn’t have dealt with. Raising the alarm wasn’t as easy as perhaps it should have been. Wearing personal mobile alarms were part of our personal protective equipment (PPE) but I wasn’t wearing one. That wasn’t neglect on my part because none of them were working. I raised the alarm by pressing the fixed wall mounted one inside the room. This was faulty too, and although it sounded it sent panic through the building as my colleagues had no idea who was in trouble.

 Leaving me to deal with an emergency alone, I faced a situation with scary consequences and without any choices. Pressing the wall alarm had placed me too close to the wall behind me and the second fist was heading in my direction. Deflecting this and professionally restraining it successfully with my right hand was easy enough but the momentum tipped me off balance and, already disorientated from the first blow to the head, felt myself fall back. The back of my head and the wall behind me met with force as the original fist made its way towards my head. Only a few seconds had passed so far and there was a long way to go yet.

 Convinced that I wasn’t leaving the room alive, I gave up momentarily. When you think you might die your mind can do the strangest of things in order to protect you—in that moment I felt a weird sensation and, as I looked down witnessed the rest of the assault happening. I’d disassociated (had an outer body experience) during which I watched five punches being delivered to the left side of my face. How I remained conscious I’ll never know. The attack on the left side of my face was relentless as the unrestrained fist pounded my face. As suddenly as there had been no hope there was fight in my spirit, that day wouldn’t be the one I’d be giving up. The wall behind me had held me upright and now gave me the leverage required to take control of the situation. Feeling unstable on my feet, trapped and vulnerable I gathered what little strength was left and pushed myself towards my attacker.

Still restraining his left wrist and now without sight myself, I managed to take hold of his right and walk him backwards which knocked him off balance. Now having to concentrate on his own momentum his mind was focused on staying upright and moving forwards when I had every intention of him going back and towards what he would be sitting on. This confused him enough to give up long enough.

  When, finally my colleagues showed up both of us were sitting side-by-side. The patient’s wrists were still restrained, and he was still in a heightened state. Blood was tricking down my face and shock was beginning to take hold of me. My glasses were somewhere on the floor, but I know there would have been a fixed look in his eyes from my experience, saliva was escaping from his mouth and had been throughout the attack. Adrenaline had pumped so viciously through his veins they were protruding in his neck and arms. His robotic apologies were so loud they could be heard over the sound of the panic alarm echoing around the building.

 As my recovery story unfolds and I share my journey—the good and the ugly parts—you’ll discover the challenges this incident has left me facing, how I discovered the severity of the attack, and how a heart wrenching moment unlocked part of my memory that had been blocked by it. Reflecting always makes me realise how lucky I’ve been to have survived, even though it took a considerable time to realise just how lucky I am to still be here for life was happening around me and leaving a massive void where I used to fit.

I wasn’t me anymore.

 Just a lost soul.


Death, my first poem was written during therapy as a way of expressing how I felt about the attack. Although I don’t consider myself a natural poet, I was encouraged by my second therapist to try and express my emotions through verse. Initially it was the most frustrating process imaginable but over time and with the help of a friend I’ve found that this form of self-expression does indeed help. Furthermore, it helps me retrieve and recall memory in ways I didn’t think would be possible which has proven invaluable, too. Institutionalised, the second poem, is my perception on how my attacker might have been feeling at the time of the assault. This poem has been written more recently as a way of helping others—especially family—understand why this event happened and my reaction to it. Accepting my changes have been difficult enough for those close to me but the fact that I defend my attacker when my life has been so drastically affected because of his actions is often too much for them to deal with.


 Bright lights beckoned me, coaxed me, enticed me

As I swirled and swayed towards the valley of death.

Each fist that landed on me, a punch rendering distance

From a life that required one last breath.


His screams suddenly keep me focused on life,

Not death. Then a strange sensation as I look above.

And see my soul looking down upon me

Feel my body looking up at my soul, confusion. Then love.


As spirit and body re-join, a wonderous moment,

A strength, a knowing, a power. I will not die today.

Fear vanishing before me as I take control. Pain surges.

I focused, I reclaimed, but I need to go.


This damned man, with the devil within, couldn’t beat me

Not this day. But he’s taken his toll - the devil has spoken.

He’ll never win, I’ll not allow that. I’ll give him his due

He gave it his best – but I won’t be broken.

I’d dissociated (had an outer body experience). In my case this occurred in order to protect me from the fear of death. It disconnected me from my surroundings in order to stop the effect of trauma and to lower the fear and anxiety of the situation. There was a high level of anxiety at the onset of the attack because of the risk I’d been placed in – I cannot give the details. There was no way of escape and the knowledge that help wouldn’t come in time, I truly was convinced that I would die in that room.  It took me a long time to come to terms with how that left me feeling emotionally as well as physically. My mind had decided – albeit for a short while – that I wouldn’t survive the ordeal. Situations like this can have a detrimental effect on a person’s mental well-being: it certainly had one on mine.

 More often those that attack us are no strangers and, unfortunately, this person has a history of attacking women, yet I had a good rapport with him. Before I continue with how the events of this day affected me, I believe it’s important to share that they’d have had a detrimental effect on that person too. I’m often asked if my attacker is behind bars and the simple answer is no. They are in a position where they will never be allowed in public alone, and that is good enough for me. Often society is to blame for much and when you know the history of a person you want what’s best for them. My second poem, hopefully conveys a little understanding of their perspective.



Looking at her for help, and finding the devil staring back

With snakes protruding from her eyes, ready to attack.

The voices in my head rising all at once, a mighty force

My only choice, defence. Dignity to enforce.


Throwing punches, just like my hero

Mohamed Ali, knocking the devil into tomorrow.

Rendering her useless, a victory for me

She wouldn’t fall down, that much I could see.


Alarms ringing because of my stress

Snapping me out of my transgressions.

Nobody comes to help her, but I know I’ve done wrong

Its why I’m in this place, its where I belong.


I mustn’t hit women, but I wasn’t being me

Something takes over, inside you see.

Again I’m restrained, nothing more she can do

My institutional life. The cycle. Déjà vu.

Without a fully functioning memory I didn’t recall disassociating until my first re-living experience during therapy. This was one of my many break-through moments. I’d been referred due to severe flashbacks that were occurring several times per day and also during my sleep.

 Having always carried on with life regardless of pain there was no justification in my mind why I couldn’t have done that this time. I’d got back on a horse after having one roll over me and stand up on my chest cavity within a couple of days and I had done that at the tender age of sixteen. I’d broken many ribs, my breast plate, both collar bones and damaged my shoulder. Comparing a slight bump on the head to that was nothing, right?

 I’d never been so wrong.

" I definitely recommend you check out this unique book"