“From 13th August, my life changed” – Nick’s story
Trigger/content warning: physical assault, suicide
After experiencing a violent assault, Nick was left with a deep, life-changing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a traumatic brain injury. Even though he contemplated suicide numerous times, Nick is still here fighting for justice and a better life.
On 10th August 2008 at 8.30pm, I left my former friend’s house to start walking home. I turned onto the road up to where I was living and saw a group of around 30-40 teenage lads looking suspicious. I got the feeling that something wasn’t right but I had to walk past them to get home.
I got past the group of lads but I still got the feeling that something didn’t feel right. I looked behind me and three lads were following me. I changed directions three times and got to the top of the road. One lad came up to me and asked if I had a smoke. The following day, I woke up at my mum’s with a gash on my head and bruising on my face and chest.
From 13th August, my life changed. The people there to protect you – the police – didn’t come to see me like they said they would. Three days after I was assaulted, I waited in all day for the police officer to come out and see me to take my statement. But nobody came or phoned me, so I spoke to the MP at the time who raised it with the Justice Secretary. No response.
I constantly had bad thoughts of ending my existence and considered this over 20 times.
Then a few years after, the MP who fought so hard to try and hold Greater Manchester Police accountable, sent a detective out to investigate a complaint. He told me a gentleman found me in the road, so he got his son to pull me to the curb but the police destroyed the report of this complaint.
From 2009 to 2013, my mental health dropped significantly. My moods, motivation and concentration was getting lower and lower. I didn’t see the point of being in this world. I constantly had bad thoughts of ending my existence and considered this over 20 times between 2009-2013.
The thoughts I had were that I’m useless, I’m not worthy of being here, nobody cares at all about me, why should I stay in this world? The people that are there to protect you and hold perpetrators accountable didn’t care at all, so I didn’t care about myself anymore.
I went two years without gas or electricity, so I was freezing cold. But I didn’t care at all. I hardly ate anything. The only thing that stopped me from going through with my bad thoughts were Millie and Molly, who I got in 2005 when they were dumped as kittens.
I then decided I needed help, so I went to see the GP in 2009. I was put on anti-depressants and referred to talking therapies which started my recovery in 2011. At the time, it didn’t have any effect on my mental health. In 2012-2013, I came to the decision that I needed to move away from where I was assaulted so I could have a fresh start.
We need to defeat the narrative that we should stay quiet. We must start talking openly.
I requested a move to another landlord but my mental health was so unpredictable. It affected my anxiety around people which made me not want to go out. Millie reassured me I was okay and Daisy, another cat I was given who was pure white and a real softie. Millie and Daisy could sense I was getting into a bad place and straight away came and lay on me.
In 2013-2015, I was in a new place and a new job, working in the community as a support worker. It really affected my anger, frustration and memory issues due to the stress so I left the job. I had three jobs during 2012-2019, all of which I had to resign from due to my PTSD and traumatic brain injury, which I was diagnosed with by a neuro doctor in 2022.
I self-referred myself back to talking therapies and was put through to a therapist I knew from 2012 through a stress class. I had that trusting relationship with them, so for 12 months I received EMDR (Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy. That really helped me to understand how bad my dizziness and falls were, the level of damage I sustained during the assault.
I’m now able to fight authorities to get answers and to make people accountable for failing me. I’m strong enough to deal with the issues and take people on to get justice for myself and others. We need to defeat the narrative that we should stay quiet. We must start talking openly.
If you've been affected by the issues that Nick has mentioned in his story:
Headway is the UK-wide charity that works to improve life after brain injury by providing vital support and information services.
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