At one time in my life, not that long ago, there was an enormous black cloud that I lived in the middle of. I had just been medical diagnosed as being traumatised and suffering from anxiety as a result of a Road Traffic Accident. I had lost all confidence and any sense of security in being able to cope with life. I was frightened to leave the safety of my own home and I can assure you, that up to that point, I had lived anything but a sheltered existence.

I snapped at the least provocation. I ‘jumped-out-of-my-skin’ at any unexpected noise and I knew that I was useless to my nearest and dearest. But perhaps worse than all of those things I was distinctly uncomfortable in any company, whether known to me or not. I had lost the ability to engage in conversation. I didn’t want, nor knew how, to express how that state of depression was affecting me. Because of that, few tried to engage with me. I received expert medical care, under-going a treatment called EMDR….Eye Movement Desensitization Routine and eventual, after three and a bit years, I recovered. I began to slowly accept the fact that, contrary to my belief, I was vulnerable just like everyone else. I had previously thought that I was impregnable, strong, a self-entity. The very epitome of that island that John Donne made reference to.

In one way or another we cocoon ourselves behind what we call conformity. We shun what we don’t understand instead of embracing the whole of life, in it’s best manifestations and its worse. We don’t welcome those that are different to our own measurement of behaviour and convention. The hackneyed expression…’There but for the grace of God go I’… has lost its relevance in today’s society. It should not be quoted in celebration of the fact that we are normal. It should be used by those that recognise that not all should be measured against the stilted perception of conventional.


About Danny Kemp

I was at work one sunny November day in 2006, stopped at a red traffic light when a van, driven incompetently, smashed into me. I was taken to St Thomas' Hospital and kept in for a while, but it was not only the physical injuries that I suffered from; it was also mental ones. I had lost confidence in myself let alone those around me. The experts said that I had post-traumatic stress disorder, which I thought only the military or emergency personnel suffered from. On good days, I attempted to go to work, sometimes I even made it through Blackwell Tunnel only to hear, or see, something that made me jump out of my skin and that's when the anxiety attacks would start. I told my wife that I was okay and going regularly, but I wasn't. I could not cope with life and thought about ending it. Somehow or other with the help of my wife and medical professionals, I managed to survive and ever so slowly rebuild my self-esteem. It took almost four years to fully recover, but it was during those dark depressive days that I began to write. My very first story, Look Both Ways, Then Look Behind, found a literary agent but not a publisher. He told me that I had a talent, raw, but nevertheless, it was there. His advice was to write another story and that I'm delighted to say, I did. The success of that debut novel, The Desolate Garden, was down to sheer hard work, luck, and of course, meeting a film producer.
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