SOLON, Ohio — Author and trauma specialist Deborah Hallal Bradt is a Cleveland native and a trauma survivor. Writing poems helped save her life.

What You Need To Know

  • A Cleveland native published her first poetry book in July 2020

  • The book is called “Lay Me Down Among the Words: A Poetry Collection by a Trauma Survivor Whose Inner Voice Saved Her Life”

  • The author dives deep into her past experiences with trauma in hopes to help others struggling realize it can get better

  • Some poems even allude to the COVID-19 and the death of George Floyd

  • The book is a collection of 40 years worth of poems

“I have had physical sexual trauma. I've experienced that and that was very difficult,” Bradt said. “I struggled quite a bit with anorexia and depression, different things. So it's actually, the poems have a lot of depth to them.


“The poetry was a way for me to connect back to myself, even when I felt really low and I didn't want to kind of live another day, I would find my way to another poem and another memory or something and use the words. And for some reason, when I was writing, I got out of my brain, it stopped that cycle of negative thoughts and it helped me connect more to my soul and spirit and I just felt better.”


Forty years of poems were published in July of 2020, a year when she felt many people needed positive reinforcement.

“The writing and the words were a way to make me feel like I was safe. I was loved,” Bradt said. “And every person in the world needs to feel that, especially right now with this pandemic, we all are scared and feel unsafe. So it's a way to kind of connect back to ourselves.”

It was all an effort to help others who have struggled know they are not alone.

“It's about when somebody feels low about themselves,” Bradt said. “I want them to know, and I'm going to start probably crying right now, that they matter, they matter. And it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. And that was a hard lesson for me.”


Whether someone is struggling with a mental illness, like depression, or is just having a hard day, Bradt said she wants the poems to be a reminder that even in the darkest of nights, the sun will shine tomorrow.

The entire project is based on the poem “The Purple Butterfly,” which Bradt said was written after she finally decided to stop degrading her own self-worth.




“And that poem is like the heart of this project, because I want everybody to see that part of themselves, no matter how they are physically, emotionally, whatever their economic levels, status, sickness, any of it, it doesn't matter. We're all beautiful butterflies that deserve to fly free,” said Bradt.

Some poems even speak to recent events like the murder of George Floyd.

“I decided to put in a whole section towards the end about hope uniting people,” Bradt said. “The last poem is called ‘Can We Rise Up?’ and all of that is about overcoming adversity bonding together in the face of trauma.”

By helping herself, Bradt hopes to help others.

Lay Me Down Among the Words: A Poetry Collection by a Trauma Survivor Whose Inner Voice Saved Her Life” was published by Balboa Press.

For more information about Bradt, visit her website.