Ty Faruki’s experiences of racial abuse and witnessing first- hand the atrocities of socio/political conflict resulted him being given a ‘disorder’ label. If anyone reads the reasons behind Ty’s behaviours and nervous system responses, they become understandable human reactions to the trauma he has been through.
Ty #Emerges Proud through Trauma and Abuse to tell his story and help to normalise these issues so that they can be more appropriately supported…
Making sense of my brain is like making sense of the unhealthy things that taste good. My father passed away when I was very young, and I always felt disenfranchised in Britain as a minority. Dad was of Pakistani descent, and my mother from the UK, with roots in Eastern Europe. I am the only one with a likeness of my father and, as a consequence, growing up in a predominantly white town attracted all sorts of unwanted comments. When I washed, I tried to remove my skin colour by abrasively sponging my skin, in a desperate attempt to turn white and ultimately fit in with my peers.
Following disputes between the family, both sides ceased contact. I was later diagnosed with OCD; I washed my hands like there was not enough water in the world and this later developed into stress, anxiety, depression and bipolar. I sought treatment but nothing worked.
In my teens I was run over by a known racist on his motorbike, the insults and slurs amassed, and my sense of identity decreased.
Later, I fell in love with photography and it took me to many places including Iraq during the liberation of Mosel by allied forces, Somalia during the major drought of 2017, Ukraine over a period of 5 years, Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Japan, Kazakhstan and more, documenting humanitarian crises, conflicts and cultural histories.
The time spent in these countries made me witness to shelling, bombs, poverty and a guilt that comes with witnessing and leaving these circumstances behind. Watching bullets and shells channel the air to make their way towards an ill-fated destination still seemed unreal, until the bullets came in my direction, whistling above the trees to clink on top of my helmet and flack jacket.
Watching troops I had embedded with respond with mute emotions, knowing anything else could get them killed, and then returning to regular chit chat after battles had calmed, was surreal. The sound of pounding rockets fired from their immobile launchers was deafening and powerful. I remember the force slamming into my face, like an invisible wall.
Sometime later, I decided I wanted to focus on personal projects and took time to build these up. But I had not imagined for one second what was to befall me. I remember waking one morning, wanting to pour a glass of water and needing to consume it quickly. I was paranoid – telling myself that it might be poisoned if I left it alone. The fifth of November came, and screeching sounds through the air emulated times from abroad, where bombs had exploded, and bullets pierced the air above my head. When cars back fired, or building materials suddenly dropped onto the floor, I reacted internally with immense panic, biting into my pillow, hiding around corners, sweating profusely and dodging calls and appointments with friends and family.
As I write this from the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, the air conditioning unit crackling above the couch I am sleeping on taunts me of a time in Iraq.
It is involuntary and when I tell of my ‘condition’ to friends their response is usually “well that’s what they say” and “yeah, ok”. I already feel crazy, and being told indirectly that I am, is clearly not useful to me or others suffering with the same.
Today I feel very different. Although I have not conquered my difficulties, I consciously challenge and fight them. Even though I return to habitual ground zero, the fact I am rebelling against my OCD and depression is a victory in itself. It knows I am here to reclaim my lands – and it too is hiding around corners, sweating profusely, dodging my calls.
Ty Faruki is a British-Pakistani photographer who began in film before progressing towards photography, seeing it as a preferred method of documentation and capture. His photographs have featured internationally in leading publications for a wide array of subjects including: New Statesman, The Irish Times, Financial Times and the Telegraph, as well as exhibitions within the Embassy of Ukraine and the Houses of Parliament.
He currently has plans to work on a project that seeks to help the public understand the difficulties people with the impact and effects of trauma live with. He is also working on a project about Islamophobia, and the problems Muslims encounter every day within the UK and worldwide.
We are so grateful to Ty and all who are bravely #EmergingProud to show there are always personal reasons behind what the current mental health paradigm dismisses as ‘bio-chemical imbalances’…
It is our hope that the more we can all shine a light on this the more focus can go on the provision of therapeutic interventions that actually help those suffering to not only survive, but thrive ❤
We are still collecting stories for our 4th Pocket Book in the KindaProud series; #Emerging Proud through Trauma and Abuse
Please CONTACT US HERE if you’d like to take part.