Panicked thoughts. Vivid nightmares. Racing heart. Unrelenting dread. Witnessing the drowning death of her four-year-old brother Owen was the beginning of a lifetime of nightmares. Growing up during the oppressive system, apartheid, in South Africa, increased her anxiety as she struggled with her self-worth.
It was in writing her debut book, A Darker Shade of Pale: A Memoir of Apartheid South Africa, that she unravelled.
In Behind My Smile: The True Story of an Author, a Broken Spirit and a Healer Beryl dissects her struggles with grief. After a lifelong battle with self-acceptance Beryl found the keys to overcoming the stigma of mental breakdown.
The book offers a candid and absorbing account of Beryl’s healing journey. She shares details of the intensive work of clinical psychologist and energy medicine practitioner, Dr Geoff Lyons. This healing encouraged Beryl to explore her belief in the power of her heritage, the gifts available from contact with her ancestors and traditional healing methods.
Having found a true healer, Beryl was able to see the richness of a life free of all manner of oppression — political, psychological, material. Based on her healing she strongly believes that talk therapy and traditional healing must merge.
This story is essential reading for anyone who knows what it means to hover on the edge, and find a way to dive back into life.