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Iram Gilani (Author, "Silent No More")

How are you coping amidst the global pandemic? How has it impacted your life and the people you care about? I have mixed feelings about it. I am grateful to have an opportunity to spend time with family, work from home, and spend time sharing my book with others. However, I worry about those who are burdened with responsibilities and may be struggling in isolation.

For the majority of us, bills are piling sky high. My heart is connected with people who are struggling to pay living expenses, and those, who are dealing with health problems that are untreated. Many in those situations have either lost health insurance or are afraid to go to a hospital and be exposed to the virus. My older brother works at a delivery job, so I worry about his contact with others. I constantly worry about him and others in similar positions, hoping they stay safe and healthy. Every time he leaves home, my heart sinks, a feeling I’m sure many can relate to given their own circumstances. Knowing that he, or others, may not understand how contagious the coronavirus is and how important it is to follow the safety measures. One mistake can be fatal. Is A Life That Focuses on Avoiding Pain and Seeking Out Pleasure A Good and Worthwhile Life? Why or Why Not?

We all suffer, and we all want to have the pleasures in life.

Pleasure and pain are part of life. How we deal with them is the key.

Everything we suffer in life becomes part of our story. When we experience a traumatic episode in our life, we learn to appreciate the role of those who love and care for us even more.

We start to understand their importance and the privileges we have—something we may have overlooked previously. Taking care of our self and seeking pleasure is important for healing, but I believe I appreciate pleasures more now that I have experienced pain.

Over the last few years, there has been a growing call regarding the importance of mental wellness, how does your book contribute to this crucial cause?

The word that comes to mind for me is solidarity. Without it, facing trauma could mean life or death for some. I wanted to tell my story to stand with them.

To overcome trauma and achieve a healthy state, we need support and hope.

It is my intent that my book will help others obtain both, the support and hope, they need to move ahead in life. If that happens even for one person, I will have achieved my goal!

What is the inspiration behind the title of your book, "Silent No More"?

After thinking about the book title for many, many weeks, I decided to go with Silent No More. It felt right! When we suffer trauma, often we feel we are at fault and we feel shame for the suffering. These feelings are wrong! It takes courage to go beyond them and open the story to the light of day. It is not possible to heal without freeing yourself from this kind of shame.

Once I realized this, I decided to write the book to let others know about my story in the hope it would help them to move ahead to their own healing. They need to know there is no shame in what happened to them—it is not their fault.

There was so much pain and truth that I held inside myself for so long. I became tired of hiding. Not just hiding from myself, from others too.

I wondered how many other survivors were hiding their pain and if they felt the same way that I did. I called my book Silent No More because I was coming forward to speak my truth and I hope others will too.

Although a monumental act of strength and courage, it is often difficult for a person to talk about trauma and abuse. How did you overcome the tremendous societal stigma that comes with it and decide to share this intimate experience to the world?

My biggest motivation came realizing how isolated I was from those around me. I knew that many others had shared experiences similar to mine, and that it was much more common than I realized. The only way to help others and myself was to expose it all to the light of day. We must take away the stigma of trauma and suffering so we all can heal.

If so many of us are victims of violence, why weren’t we talking about it? There is such a disconnect in recovery and understanding because of society’s discomfort with hearing about pain.

I pushed through so much of my own discomfort to share my story with others in hope of building a community with other survivors, and helping others know how to be a better support to us.