Back when I lived in Baghdad, I worked for the electric company. On one occasion while I was checking an electricity line for work, I was taken captive along with my coworkers. Nobody knew I was taken, and these people were not officials, but I was in prison for two years and four months.
We were exposed to all types of torture, humiliation, abuse and disrespect. Before this experience, I paid tribute to God, and I used to lend helping hands to strangers on the street – I believe this is why I didn’t die from the torture.
Nobody knew I was taken, and these people were not officials, but I was in prison for two years and four months.”
Before I came to Jordan, I had a normal job as a government employee. I had two kids, a wife, and I considered myself athletic and healthy. Back in 2014, when ISIS broke into cities in Iraq, we lived in Baghdad and received a lot of people who were seeking refuge. We provided humanitarian aid and contacted our neighbors to keep their doors open for them. I also talked to my coworkers about people in need. There, we focused on the needs and concerns of females that arrived, because they were the most vulnerable refugees in this wave.
But then there I was, in prison. Prior to being released, I signed papers agreeing not to speak out against the government. I agreed because they told me they knew everything about my family and me. Two and a half years after I’d been taken by the militia, I gave them my word to not go back to my old job and to not work with the government in exchange for my freedom.
I went back to my home but didn’t find any members of my family – no one was there. My neighbors told me that everyone – my in-laws, extended family – they all moved out of Iraq. I had no idea where they went. I managed to reach out to my spouse’s coworker because I knew she was still in touch with my wife, and she was able to send me all my official documents.
My wife was in Amman. I joined her and my children in 2021. When I arrived, my wife was astonished – she saw me take meds for seizures and acute blood pressure; I was really down and had become an antisocial person. My sleeping was unstable. My wife made a lot of effort to cope with the situation, and that’s how I heard about CVT. Initially, I refused to go. I preferred to stay at home, but my wife put pressure on me, so I went.
I went back to my home but didn’t find any members of my family – no one was there.”
At first, I was scared and traumatized to share my story with anyone, but Eman [Dr. Eman Al-Shuaibi, senior psychosocial counselor], my therapist, has brought me back to life.
I was improving as time passed, and session after session things got better. This is the first time I was able to tell my story without breaking into tears. Now I’m more resilient; I became a stronger person. CVT for me was like coming back to life.
I remember when Eman invited me to tell my story to a group of visitors from the U.S. I narrated my story and was resilient. Thanks to CVT, that was a turning point in my life. The exercises I learned from CVT and the breathing exercises helped me the most for my mental and physical health.
Eman kept following up with me to do these at home and stayed connected with my wife to ensure I was staying committed to my medication. I had lost faith in the community, but they convinced me to deliberately drag myself out of my distress by doing these exercises, whether or not I was socializing with people.
CVT also stressed the fact that family came first, and I started to build a new relationship with my children and wife. Now, I’m convinced that my family comes first and is my priority.
One event hosted by CVT in the neighborhood had several workshops, like sculpting and painting. I’m a painter, but this event led me to learn more about the skill of sculpting. Afterwards during my work with CVT, I would collect useless things and begin to craft with them. One of the crafts I made was a ship, and I dedicated it to Eman because of the motivation they gave me.
As a result of everything, I had developed high blood pressure and was having seizures almost every morning. The doctors told me I’d never recover. Praise be to God, now I only have seizures around every two months.
I was a neglected straw in the ocean. But, out of nowhere, a helping hand took me out of the ocean and plucked me out, and this straw became a fruitful tree. I have a wonderful wife and a livable life.
My life has been restored. Now, I don’t hesitate to communicate with the shopkeepers or people in the community.
Still, I have already reached out to the people in my neighborhood to refer them to CVT. I’ve told them how much their life will change after they receive the services and that their spirit and soul will grow and flourish.”
My health has improved, but it’s still hard for me to find and keep a job, and the seizures and blood pressure are my major concerns. Still, I have already reached out to the people in my neighborhood to refer them to CVT. I’ve told them how much their life will change after they receive the services and that their spirit and soul will grow and flourish.
Name has been changed for safety and security.