Ten years onBy Carren Smith | Oct 12, 12 08:44 AM
Premium member Carren Smith shares her survivor story ten years on from Bali
It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the Bali terrorist attack that killed 202 people and changed the lives of countless families across the world. October 12 2002 is a day that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I witnessed unspeakable horrors, lost two dear friends and came close to death myself. Despite this, I choose to share my journey as a tribute to victims of the Bali Bombing as well as stand up as an example to people everywhere that it is possible to triumph over tragedy.
The story of how I found myself to be in Bali on that fateful night is one which began 12 months earlier with the suicide of my partner, Greg. His death left me deeply depressed and my life became unrecognisable. I developed such intense hatred for myself, I soon became convinced that I didn’t deserve to be here anymore.
My best friend Jodi was my rock after Greg’s death and when I told her I wanted to go to Bali to commemorate the first anniversary of his passing, she insisted upon coming, as did another friend Charmaine. Jodi knew how dark my moods had become and didn’t trust me to be alone. Despite her suspicions, she had no idea that I had made the decision to end my life in Bali.
We had only been in Bali a few hours when we went out for drinks at the Sari Club. It began as a fun girl’s night out and I was in the mood to celebrate, feeling resolute that my decision had been made. I remember talking to my friends one moment and the next feeling this great rush of air hit me like I was standing in front of jet engine. When I woke, I was covered in rubble which contained hands, feet and faces. I ran for my life, falling into ditches, climbed walls and jumped from great heights. There’s nothing human about the human instinct for survival, the power was super human.
My skull had been shattered and 28 staples were inserted. Doctors told me that I would die within hours if I didn’t have surgery to relieve the pressure on my brain. After coming so close to dying, I now knew for certain that I wanted to live and I had to get back to Australia, fast. I was fortunate to get on one of the first flights out of Bali and received the medical care I needed while surrounded by family at home.
All the while I was unaware that my two friends had been killed in the blast. I had even spoken to Jodi’s brother from the hospital telling him that Jodi was fine and that I could hear her in the hallway talking on her phone. It wasn’t until I was back in Sydney recovering in hospital that I discovered the heart-breaking truth.
I spent the next five years in a fog of self-hate and was dragged back to life thanks to the support and love of my family and partner.
One morning I woke suddenly at 5.30am and like a message from above, knew that I was going to be a professional speaker. At the beginning I was terrible, I would vomit, have sweat running down my back and forget things. I invested thousands of dollars to improve my speaking and overcome my nerves. I persevered because I knew that I wanted to make a difference. I owed it to Greg, Jodi and Charmaine to share this. I now travel the world as a professional speaker trainer and my Speakers Fast-Trak and Mindset Makeover programs are designed to inspire audiences to take action and make positive changes in their business and relationships.
Almost 12 months ago I made the decision to truly embrace my experience by sharing it with the world and writing my memoir Soul Survivor. Writing a book was often in the back of my mind and I had various journal entries with random thoughts and paragraphs in them, never having the courage until recently to put it all together and revisit the experience in its entirety.
Despite sharing my story regularly on stage, the act of writing presents new challenges. I was forced to recall graphic description, details and emotional language along with memories that I had buried deep in my subconscious. It was a cathartic experience, and one which has finally brought me to find forgiveness for myself.
Ten years is a remarkable chunk of time to reflect upon and I’m constantly humbled by the beauty and joy I am blessed to experience. It is my wish that through my example, people can see themselves with greater clarity and as a result discover acceptance, truth and creativity. Our lives are in a constant stage of transformation and when we are enlightened to the power that lies within, we all can be unstoppable.
You can read Carren's whole story in her autobiography Soul Survivor
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