Bravin Yuri: Trauma made me phonophobic and an introvert

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Bravin Yuri

I am Bravin Yuri and currently, I am phonophobic and a very serious introvert

I have always been asked why I chose to be a mental health advocate and what pushed me to advocacy of the same and my answer has always been simple “To help other people get the help they need so that they don’t struggle the way I did to get help”. It has always been that brief but interestingly most have never asked me about the details of my story so I never talk about it that much. I have always created a platform where people are able to come and share their experiences and stories to encourage others but I have not in a single day talked about my traumatic story. I guess it’s mostly because every time I talk about it, it’s like reliving the experience and every inch of the pain suddenly comes back to life. It’s weird but I always get watery eyes any time I think of even telling the story, so I don’t. I keep postponing about writing about it until I don’t. But today I guess is the day I finally put the ‘ink on paper’.

To begin with, I am Bravin Yuri and currently, I am phonophobic and a very serious introvert. Well, that never used to be the case before. I used to be someone who really loved going out and all that but things changed. For those who don’t know what phonophobia is, I will save you the time of running to google (I am that nice of a person. lol). Phonophobia is basically the Fear of Sounds. The normal environmental sounds like the fear of the sound made when the door closes, a balloon bursting etc. You get it, right? Now that we are on the same page, ladies and gentlemen, shall we? I will try to be as brief as possible so that you all can go back to building the Nation and help settle the national debt.

Bravin Yuri at Hot 96

So, we had closed campus for the long holidays. I was in first Year. I used to stay in the hostels but since it was a long holiday, we were all going home and well, I was to spend that holiday at my sister’s place. She is a very great soul. It was a beautiful time and I loved the city. I mean, who wouldn’t. I came to the university of my dreams, was undertaking the course I liked and now relaxing before I went back to studying? Awesome! right?

On this one particular day, I said let me pay my other sister a visit, she used to stay at Mlolongo. You know, get to meet fam, catch up, since it had been long since we saw each other and I was super excited about it. I went to mlolongo of course with her guidance on the direction since I had never been there before. I finally got there and everything was superb. I had a great time, watched movies etc. I have to admit. I was treated to a very good meal and the environment was welcoming.

Bravin Yuri at Big Fish

Bravin Yuri at Big Fish

The next day, I was woken up so early around 5a.m by a call from my elder sister. She was back. At the door all the way in Eastlands and I am in Mlolongo. She was back from her errand out of town and needed access to the house yet I had the key. Well, some of you would argue I should have left the key with someone or somewhere she could get it incase she came back while I was away but back then, I knew nobody there and I couldn’t just leave the key anywhere since what if stuff got stolen in the house? What then? Who would have been blamed? And as it goes ‘Nairobi shamba la mawe’. I also didn’t think she was coming back that early. Back to the story.

I Prepared really fast and by around 5:45a.m – 6a.m, I was out of the house and said my goodbyes to my sister. Since the stage wasn’t that far, I remember checking my phone and it was 6:02am when I got there. That was the last time I think I looked at that phone and what followed changed my whole life.

I had earphones and was listening to music as I waited for the matatu/bus. Well, I just wanted to get back home since I didn’t want to upset my elder sister. After all I didn’t even tell her I was paying my other sister a visit. Guess it all narrowed down to miscommunication. If you guys know Looking at you by Bracket, that was the song on repeat. I was just obsessed with that song.

Anyways, while I was waiting for the matatu/bus, I had a tap on my shoulder. When I turned around, I got hit by a metal rod. I just remember trying to stand up and kept falling down at the same time. I felt like I was lost for a while. When I recovered some consciousness, I could feel this sharp pain in my mouth so I reached to my mouth with my fingers to feel what caused it. I had lost a tooth (literally broken into the cavity) and the other one cracked. I kept feeling there was something on my neck and as always, reached out to also feel my neck. Voila! A Small knife dug in there. I remember the doctor at the hospital later on saying they missed the jugular by an inch. Let me not go there first because a lot transpired and how I even got to the hospital was just an adventure I never want to talk about.

I crawled trying to find my way back to my sister’s house to literally begging for help. The Bodaboda riders who were there were just looking at me like some weirdo and even some saying “huyu hatafika mbali. Atakufa tu” (This guy won’t get far. He is going to die). I got to the place my sister lived but now the gate was locked. I was out here shouting like an idiot. Everything robbed from me. The phone, bag, earphones, cash, everything was taken. I even threw a stone at the window in vain. She slept like the dead.

Bravin Yuri Indoors

Msiwahi dharau kanisa nyinyi (Don’t despise churches). Next to the house, there were people singing in a church. I remember going there and I was just saying “I don’t want to die here”. The guys from the church came out to try and help. I showed them my sister’s house and well, she wasn’t even awake yet. I gave them all the numbers I had memorized and I can’t remember much after that. At this time, I wasn’t even feeling anything. I was numb. The cold had gotten everywhere. The pain was frozen by the cold. I couldn’t even talk anymore. My mouth was swollen. I remember someone very close to me (I choose not to say who) saying “Mpeleke tu mortuary. Hatasurvive” (Take him to the mortuary, he won’t survive). I have never moved on from this statement by the way.

I was taken to Shalom Hospital. That’s where I was treated. I spent a night there but told my sister I can’t spend another night there. So, I went to recover from home.

Since that day, I don’t go out at night. When I do, I don’t stay out late. If I do, I Uber from door to door. From that time, I don’t even want to hear the bang sounds especially the sound of a balloon bursting. I can’t even burst a balloon without shutting my ears. Any bang of the door gets me so agitated. I hate too much noise especially in matatus. If there is loud music, I won’t board it. I hate loud hooting among other noises. Even Uon became a nightmare during demonstrations. The sound of guns and teargas canisters being fired always created hell for me.

Last but not least, I permanently banned myself from ever stepping at Mlolongo. Anyone asking me to go there is met with a serious NO! I Even get anxiety attacks using that road going to coast. It has made me to start rethinking road travel to coast (Well, I also hate coast because of the weather. Story for another day)

The thing is, I never went to a counselor to deal with this issue and I think it affected me more than I could admit. But I decided to share maybe it will lift some weight off my shoulders. I might have left out much of the details because I am not more of a storyteller and some of the details might have been forgotten, but I guess that is my story.

Bravin Yuri at Arrow Dental

Arrow dental managed to help with fixing my cracked tooth and got me a temporary tooth for the one that had to be entirely removed. This was a really great boost to my esteem honestly. When I lost my tooth, I could barely even smile. I lost even my smile. I will always be grateful to Arrow dental for they gave me back my smile. Those who know me pretty well know this journey hasn’t been easy. But we move regardless. I lost a lot in that incident. My entire personality changed. Thanks for reading this now let us go back to ‘Completing the journey’.

Bravin Yuri undergoing a tooth replacement procedure at Arrow Dental

 


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7 Comments

  1. I am so sorry for what you went through. Such a huge decision making process you made trying to be the safe space you never went to because of some fears. So glad you are gradually working through it

  2. Really traumatizing story, Yuri. Life is always full of ups and downs, but we’ve to confront every single challenge that comes our way with a clear positive mind.

    I’m glad you are now out here trying to spread the good word about mental health and its side effects – you’ll be victorious.

    Be well, brother!

    PS: While the weather in the Coastal region might have messed you up a bit, I want to tell you to give it a go one more time – it’s the best of places you could possibly wish for.

  3. no one should have to go through this,it’s not easy sharing a traumatic experience,but Its of great help ,to encourage more people to talk about their experiences and help them move forward

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Bravin Yuri is a Mental Health advocate with a background in Political Science and Sociology. He is also an activist, Blogger and Social media Influencer and the Founder of Mental Health Kenya