Many people struggle in life with issues that profoundly affect the way they function on a daily basis. Struggling with a serious illness like cancer, for example, or mental health issues, is something very few in the Greek community are open to discuss, and the community pays a very high price for its silence. How many lives could be saved each year by sharing not only information about an illness or struggle, but also the stories of survival?
Greek-Australian author Nikki Simos, as a teenager, suffered the trauma of rape, twice, and kept silent for over 30 years. She told The North Central Review (TNCR), “When I was 17, unfortunately I had some severe traumatic experiences to do with rape, it wasn’t one account but two accounts with two different perpetrators. I had fallen pregnant as a result of one of those rapes, and being 17 years of age and coming from a Greek background I wouldn’t tell a soul. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to share such an experience.
“I kept it a secret for over 30 years, it wasn’t after I lost my mother in 2012, that I also sensed the significance of the loss of the abortion that I had to go through,” Simos told TNCR, adding that “the loss of her mother brought out the feelings she had suppressed which led to mild depression and PTSD.”
“I isolated myself and was in a dark, dark place for a while,” she said, TNCR reported.
After working on her issues, Simos wrote and published Letting Go Moving On which shares her powerful story. In the book, she recounts her tumultuous teenage years, how she had her first suicidal thoughts at the age of 17, and for over 30 years, kept secrets that stopped her living a full, authentic life.
In the book’s description, Simos asks “What happens to a person when they keep pain and secrets hidden from the outside world? How much of your upbringing and beliefs shape who you are?”
Simos believes that by sharing your story and dealing with your secrets, you can overcome your obstacles and live the life that you deserve, one full of happiness and contentment. In finding the courage to share her experiences of suicidal thoughts, two accounts of rape, and a forced abortion, Simos also found the opportunity to lead an authentic life, one without secrets.
“Writing my book was a cathartic experience and enabled me to heal,” Simos told TNCR, adding that “to be able to share my story and support readers with a message of hope was rewarding.”
Simos is also a contributor to The Book of Inspiration for Women by Women, the brainchild of Ruth Cyster-Stuettgen, successful author, speaker and coach who faced the challenge of leaving an abusive relationship in her own life. As noted in the book’s description, Cyster-Stuettgen “knows that women are capable of overcoming almost anything.”
Simos is now working on a new project, Untold Stories Shared with Courage, and is calling for contributors, 20 co-authors, as noted on her website, from her local community in Australia to share their own experiences of overcoming hardships in life.
She told TNCR, “The types of experiences as we know are different for everyone. They could be violence related, rape, alcoholism, isolation and rejection, forced marriages, migration to Australia, gender hardships and acceptance, and family break ups.
“The purpose of writing these stories is for personal healing and not to relive the experiences but to learn how to let go by understanding a deeper level of self-love and how that comes within us all and having the best relationship with ourselves.”
Simos would also like to offer a writing scholarship to one of the co-authors once the project is completed and is currently seeking funding to finance the scholarship, TNCR reported, adding that contributors would need to submit 2000-3000 words for the project.
More information is available online: MindAhead.com.au.
Nikki Simos’ Letting Go Moving On and The Book of Inspiration for Women by Women are both available online.