THE DIARY OF A
FALLEN ANGEL – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
At the age of 21, I finished
university and commenced employment as a prison officer in a maximum-security
male prison. I worked there and at one of Australias most notorious illegal
immigration detention centres for many years, in the capacity of an officer and
intelligence/investigations officer. It was during this employment that I was
exposed to many traumatic events that were to dictate my future.
of a Fallen Angel is
not intended to revisit my traumas and triggers but to detail how I, as an
individual, have coped living with PTSD since being diagnosed in 2002 and the
change in me as a person, affecting all those around me.
My wish is to help other
people living with PTSD whilst they rebuild their broken and shattered lives,
as well as to give hope and optimism to all, including the family and friends,
in order to support, encourage and give strength to those damaged souls.
In Store Price: $20.00
Number of pages: 115 Genre:
Author: Tammy Norris Imprint: Poseidon
Publisher: Poseidon Books Date Published: 2010 Language: English
was born in Brisbane, Queensland in 1976. At the age of three, her family moved
to Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory, before
returning to Queensland in 1988. Since then, Tammy has lived in various states
of Australia and now lives with her husband Alex in the Northern Territory.
Tammy has a
degree in Justice Studies (majoring in Intelligence and Security) plus numerous
other certificates in psychology and freelance journalism. Her first book
Trapped Behind Bars was published in
2003 by Poseidon Books.
The events in
this book are written in a ponderous and reflective manner diary-like as she
struggles with overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and
HERE IS A NEWS STORY FEATURING THE AUTHOR WITH AN
INSIGHT INTO WHAT REALLY HAPPENS.
READ THIS REVIEW:
Tammy Norris, The Diary of a Fallen Angel: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
(Poseidon, 2010) ISBN 978-1-921731-24-2 $20.00
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has effects on
more than just the sufferers. It has effects on their loved ones, their family
and their friends, and on those with whom the affected person has dealings
with, all to lesser or greater degrees. And it helps to understand this through
learning about the lives of those with PTSD. This is, in large part, why The
Diary of a Fallen Angel was written.
The author, Tammy Norris, developed PTSD as a result
of her work in prisons and in immigration detention centres. Its effects have
impacted directly on her life, adversely affecting her friendships, her family
life, and her ability to work. These effects, and the period after the
development of her PTSD are related candidly and honestly in The Diary of a
Fallen Angel, giving it a vividness and directness that strengthens the
knowledge that we can draw from it. It does not embellish upon her life, and it
does not sensationalise PTSD, and this is one major reason why The Diary of a
Fallen Angel should be read.
The Diary of a Fallen Angel is one of those slim books
that does not sensationalise the central situation, the effects of PTSD on a
life, and how Norris has started her process of recovery. It also gives witness
to the possibility of a rich and productive life, and it seems to indicate that
the sensitivity to possible danger has some positive aspects to it, through
Norris’ alertness to the motives and behaviour of others, though this is some
input from her training as a correctional officer.
The end result, in The Diary of a Fallen Angel, is a hopeful and optimistic
book that does not coat its messages with a sugar coating. The book is not, as
may be feared, a bitter pill, but one that eschews false hope, and finds genuine
promise for a better future. It is quite possible that Norris may follow The
Diary of a Fallen Angel with another work, and I would be welcome of reading
further, since the person revealed here is one human, and fundamentally decent
and honest and, simply, worthy of respect and admiration, and since I have ended
up wishing for every measure of success for her.
The Diary of a Fallen Angel is available from good book shops and directly from
A majority of people in their
lifetime experience some type of traumatic event
whether this is a relationship break-up, the death of a loved one, or even a
redundancy from a job there are infinite numbers of stressors that most people
Some people do not recover
from disturbing or distressing events as easily.
If you have gone through a
traumatic experience and are having trouble adapting to normal life or trouble
connecting to people; if youre having overwhelming feelings of not coping; if
youre reliving and replaying the events in your mind; if youre thinking that
you will never recover from what occurred or be normal again then you could be
suffering from a much more debilitating condition known as post-traumatic stress
PTSD can develop after an
incident or situation that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless,
hopeless, powerless and vulnerable.
Some examples are:
When your sense of safety, wellbeing,
protection, confidence, resilience and trust has been devastated and crushed,
its understandable to feel crazy, disconnected or numb. This is because the
mind and body are in psychological shock and these symptoms can take any length
of time to develop and to overcome from days, weeks, months or even
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress
disorder can be:
Being scared or
Reliving the event
over and over
when reminded of the event
such as pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, sweating
activities, places, thoughts or feelings that remind you of the event
Loss of interest in
activities and life in general
Sense of limited
outbursts of anger
Feeling jumpy and
Guilt, shame or
mistrust and betrayal
problems, chest pain
Much of the above information has been
collected from http://helpguide.org/mental/post-traumatic_stress_disorder_symptoms_treatment.
My trauma was published by Poseidon in
2003 Trapped Behind Bars, and goes into the detail behind the triggers
of my PTSD. It was written during the most miserable, bleak and dark days of my
life. It is an extremely angry and volatile book where even my memory and view
of my childhood was tainted by the state of mind I was in.
At the age of twenty-one I finished
university and commenced employment as a prison officer in a maximum security
male prison. I worked there, and at one of Australias most notorious illegal
immigration detention centres, for many years in the capacity of prison officer
and intelligence/investigations officer. It was during this employment that I
was exposed to many traumatic events that were to dictate my future.
Below are just some examples of the
things I witnessed:
drinking bottles of
jumping off roofs
Diary of a Fallen Angel
is not to revisit my traumas and triggers, but to detail how I as an individual
have coped living with PTSD since being diagnosed in 2002 and the change in me
as a person, and the effect it has had on those around me.
My wish is to help and
assist other people living with PTSD whilst they rebuild their broken and
shattered lives, as well as giving hope and optimism to all, including the
family and friends supporting, encouraging and giving strength to those damaged
I hope you enjoy the journey of my life
and my recovery.
Emotionally battered and
bruised it came as no surprise to me and those closest
to me that I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. At twenty-six
years of age I had seen, and been involved in, more violent and brutal
situations than even some of the most hardened and experienced prison officers.
Further stress and strain
was placed on me whilst going through the WorkCover process I had to prove I
was psychologically and emotionally scarred by all I had seen, witnessed and
been involved with over the past few years.
After a three month battle
with no income I finally won my case with the overwhelming evidence provided
by doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists. I was messed up and it was my
employment that was to blame. Overcoming that major obstacle I could start my
journey on rebuilding and reshaping my devastated, traumatised and shattered
In total I was off work for
twelve months or so and to some people having a year off work with full pay
sounds like a pleasurable and enjoyable time. It was not and could not have been
further from my reality. That first twelve months was an emotional rollercoaster
to say the very least.
The only way that I knew I
was alive was the fact I was breathing and my heart was pumping blood around my
body. Emotionally I could feel nothing positive or feel much of anything really
as I was numbed no love, no affection, and no care. In contrast, fear, anxiety
and apprehension were ever present and relentless. I had become a hermit
enclosed in the safety of the house that I shared with my partner.
I went nowhere much and
never, ever alone. I rarely saw other people it wasnt safe out there in the
real world too many illicit and non law-abiding citizens existed out there. No
way did I want to step out of the front door only to be hurt or harmed in some
way by another person. I already had been during the course my employment. I had
been exposed to enough darkness to last me a lifetime and I doubted that light
actually existed at the end of the tunnel.
What I also detested were
the mind games that inmates and some officers played or games in general that
affected peoples emotions or insulted their intelligence. Human nature is cruel
and twisted and people were out to hurt each other as much as possible. Why
would I want to step out into that world? I didnt, as I refused and I remained
in my safe little cocoon.
When on the odd occasion I
did go out I was constantly on red alert. All my senses were electrified and on
fire I hated seeing groups of men together and my heart would beat at a
million miles an hour and my palms became sweaty. My fight or flight response
was constantly switched on. I was relentlessly looking over my shoulder and
jumping out of my skin at any shouts or raised voices Id become a trembling
mess. I absolutely detested men covered in tattoos or any people that had that
general rough and tough look about them, even though this is a very
stereotypical view of criminals its one that I reacted to most strongly.
In addition to this trigger
group, I hated seeing Muslims especially the women with their faces covered.
Most detainees in the detention centres were of Muslim faith and to me they
represented and reminded me of the riots and all the horror and pain Id
experienced. My reaction was always physical if I did see them quite often I
wanted to be sick. When I saw these people on TV I would scream at it and wave
my fists at the screen, You mongrels! Piss off back to your own country! I
would holler. Fear, panic, revulsion, horror and sheer terror always
accompanied these outbursts.
I stopped watching the news
it was all doom and gloom and it reinforced my warped, twisted and deformed
view of the world. Illicit, immoral and impure the world was full of bad and
evil men and terrorists. I had an especially bad reaction when war was declared
with Iraq in 2003. As much as I avoided the TV, there was no way to escape it
entirely and on that particular day it was almost smashed, with the rage I
unleashed. I scared myself with the intensity of my hatred, fear, resentment and
panic towards humans in general.
Is it any wonder that each
night Id have nightmares? Two or three times a night Alex would awaken to me
ranting and raving, shouting and screaming at invisible and unseen enemies.
Extremely violent and extremely vocal I would fight for my life, all whilst in a
deep sleep. On numerous occasions Alex would stop me from physical punching and
attacking him. Other times I would be shouting at inmates to, Break it up! not
to jump, not to hang themselves, or cut themselves. My nights were always very
eventful, although I could not always remember my dreams and most times Alex
would let me know the next day.
Contact with my friends was
extremely limited during this turbulent and disturbing time as I had cut off
from practically everyone. Id tried to keep in touch with an amazing friend
Stacey who I had become friends with in 1989 at school through email. For
me, email was a safe way to communicate I didnt have to speak to anyone.
Rarely would I answer the phone at home because I was petrified of it and never
knew who could be calling. Distrust and fear were such an enormous part of my
Therefore emailing became my
way of communicating with people in the big, bad world and this way the big, bad
world could not engulf me with its negativity and nastiness. I especially liked
receiving lovely messages about friendship and love and all those junk chain
mail ones the ones with beautiful messages of hope. I would forward these on
to Stacey to show her that although I was not ringing or visiting, she meant a
lot to me.
After some time, Stacey sent
back an email asking me to stop sending her junk messages. Had I not been
suffering PTSD this would never have been an issue, but I was absolutely
devastated, distraught and hurt. In effect she was taking away my only method of
communicating with her I couldnt sit and write a letter because I had nothing
to say, because nothing was happening in my life I was cooped up at home
safely, using email as a way to touch base. She ripped my heart out with that
simple and innocent request and I exploded with rage, anger and resentment and
emailed her a volatile response.
From that day long ago I
have not heard from Stacey. On numerous occasions over the past six or seven
years I have tried desperately to make amends and contact my childhood friend
but have been snubbed each time. In 2008 I sent her a copy of my book, writing
in the cover that I hoped one day she would understand and forgive me and I also
left a phone message. Stacey did not return the call nor acknowledge receiving
my book. PTSD had claimed my first friend.
The next defectors were a
couple Bettina and Nigel. Our relationship became rocky when I commenced at
the prison because they said it had changed me and I wasnt the same person. Of
course they were right as I was watching all sorts of nasty things day in and
day out. It was turning me into another person.
We had a falling out over my
behaviour. A few months after starting in the prison Bettina turned twenty-one,
and although I went to her party, I didnt stay for a personal reason. Later I
missed Nigel and Bettinas wedding because of work. I flew to the other side of
Australia for a six week stint in one of the illegal immigration detention
centres. I really had no choice but to go, and flew out the day before the
wedding. Bettina was not amused and was extremely hurt. Numerous times the word
selfish and liar were used to describe me. Over time, we mended our
relationship through communication and talking but even that ultimately would
not save our friendship from the death grip of PTSD.
Meanwhile, Bettina and
Stacey had become good friends and shared a great bond. Bettina informed me that
she had seen my angry email and wasnt impressed. Very soon all contact with me
stopped. I was left absolutely devastated by the rejection, hurt and
embarrassment. I sobbed and sobbed, crying uncontrollably with Alex trying to
reassure me that she was not worth the emotion or the trouble. He couldnt
possibly know how I hated my angry, uncontrollable and vicious outbursts. Why I
was so deeply affected and hurt by the people who were meant to be my friends?
They thought I was nothing but a bitch, liar and selfish. They had absolutely no
idea how broken and overwhelmed I was, with absolutely no capacity to think of
others. The loss of their friendship compounded my perverted belief of the
The denunciation by my two
girlfriends and Nigel, whom I had known since high school, sent me further into
depression and despair. Not only were inmates horrible and nasty creatures
causing harm and mayhem to the world so were friends. My trust in humankind
was already shaky, volatile and fickle so this devastation drove me deeper into
chaos. My trust of people became non-existent. If you couldnt trust your
friends, then who could you rely upon? If friends caused so much pain and agony
then imagine what strangers would do. Work colleagues, the person in the service
station or the local shopping centre, or the person walking along the footpath,
what would they do to me? I was unaware of my thought processes at the time but
now, looking back, I realised it furthered my decline.
All this turmoil relating to
friendship was brought on by an email requesting me to stop sending junk
messages. Without a doubt post-traumatic stress disorder has certainly played
havoc with my life. I often sit and reflect, wondering what sort of person I
would be had I never set foot in the prison system and instead, Id got a job in
a nice environment. Would Stacey, Nigel and Bettina still be my friends? And
would I have stayed the fastidious person I was? Would I have the ability to
keep friends and make new ones? In the life I was leading, this was impossible
because of my mental outlook. It was near impossible with my lack of trust and
ability to see the good in anyone or anything.
As you can imagine I wasnt the only one
living through the effects of working in the prison and detention centre
environments. Other officers were experiencing and suffering the same thing and
dealing with it as best they could. My dear friend Tori was also recovering.
Together we had shared and survived the detention centre and the riots, fires
and protestors we had laughed and cried and now the two of us were emotionally
lifeless. We were no longer good for each other. We couldnt offer help or
support, and sadly that friendship faltered, floundered and died.
That breakdown affected me
the most as we had shared so very much during life threatening situations and
events that caused our current state of mind. How I missed Tori and how I cried
and cursed the world. I cursed myself for being a freak. I hated myself for
being so unlikeable, unlovable and for causing pain to many of my friends and
family without meaning to and without any real control. I closed off even more
I was horrible and didnt deserve friends, friends were nasty at any rate, so
that suited me fine. I trusted no one and unfortunately this ill-trust of the
world and people has haunted me for the years following. It has been difficult
and hard to overcome. Its been a long, and sometimes very lonely, path.
Good friends who did stand
by my side throughout my entire ordeal were Dannita and Jim. God only knows why
as I didnt visit them very much. In the past I was a regular visitor to their
house, but in that first year of my diagnosis I was a ghost, an echo of a
memory. Dannita was fantastic and came to visit me a few times at home but I
dont think even she fully comprehended what my problem was. No one did.
On rare occasions Alex and I
had Dannita and Jim over for a BBQ or vice versa. In all honesty my enthusiasm
for visiting friends and having friends over was zero. I had lost all passion
and gusto for entertaining and being entertained. I was still very fearful of
the world, and I remember Dannita innocently saying one day that she felt sorry
for me because Alex wouldnt let me visit alone. Alex and I went everywhere
together, and I guess it may have looked as though he was stopping me from
visiting my friends. It wasnt the case. I explained to Dannita that he actually
encouraged me to visit people, but I just couldnt do it. I didnt describe how
even the thought of going solo made my stomach flip, palms sweat and heart race.
On the topic of
entertaining, my cousin Janet came to visit for lunch one day on her rostered
day off. I knew she was coming and yet I didnt have the foresight to have
anything appropriate in the pantry and fridge for a meal. I hadnt been eating
properly myself for such a long time and it was highly embarrassing for me to
say I had nothing. She was another person on the long list, who didnt fully
grasp my health and looked at me rather strangely. I think she even said, You
dont invite someone over for lunch and have nothing to offer them. We managed
to scratch up Vegemite sandwiches or something like that. It was the story of my
life that people thought me rude. Most times I just wasnt capable of thinking
Another friend who remained
in my life through the ordeal was Sandy. She was a childhood friend I stayed in
touch with ever since leaving the Northern Territory at twelve years old.
Although it was me that did most of the ringing and the writing to keep the
communication alive, I adored her to bits. Wed been friends since the tender
age of three.
At one point, work in the
prison became so overwhelming that I just had to get out. I rang Sandy and a few
days later I flew from Brisbane to Perth for a much-needed holiday. It was great
to be away from the daily grind and to be with Sandy and her hubby. I could
forget everything whilst I drank wine and port and alcohol with them. When they
were at work I did a lot of sleeping. Sandy would often ask why I didnt go for
a walk outside or catch public transport into the city. I couldnt explain the
dread those activities provoked in me. She thought I was a bit strange to fly
all that way and not go and see the sights. I was content to sleep and catch up
in the evening with the two of them.
After my dramatic breakdown,
Sandy and I kept in touch but very irregularly. She was a dear and close friend,
but one at a great distance. She never fully understood my distress or my
condition because she wasnt close enough to witness it. I dont think I ever
went into details about my very real horror. I cant honestly remember. But at
least she was there in the background whilst I sank lower and lower into the
gaping black-hole that was sucking the life from me.
Another friend hovering in
the background was Kerry and although we had never spoken on the phone more then
two or three times since we were twelve, we had remained in touch through letter
writing. She was still in the Territory and had kept my details up to date as I
moved around Queensland, to South Australia and back to Queensland.
At one point Kerry visited
with me in South Australia and that brief stopover gave me an enormous boost. On
another occasion I caught up with her in the Northern Territory whilst I was
there collecting a boatload of illegal immigrants to take to South Australia.
She could see, and was fully aware of, the damage the prison had done to me
psychologically and emotionally and my subsequent breakdown. She was a
wonderful, wonderful support even from a distance. Our friendship is pure
quality and very special to me, and I am blessed to say it still is.
In short, I had some good friends and
others that I cut off entirely, some made that decision for me. I was still in
touch with my family which was good. I saw Mum and Dad seldom because they lived
an hour and a half away but I did ring Mum constantly. I found I could ring
Mum without fear of the phone because I knew it would only be her or Dad
answering. There were no scary bogey men waiting on the other end of the phone
I called often as I needed
to feel secure and protected and Mum had always been my safety blanket and
comforter. With this debilitating condition Mum was my ever-present safety
net. Strangely enough I didnt feel love towards her although I knew I did love
her. It was as though I felt nothing positive or good at all towards anyone or
anything. Again, it was a numbness that engulfed me. It was an eerie feeling to
have no positive emotion, especially for me who used to be so loving, cuddly and
In saying that however, I
felt ample pessimistic, negative and black emotions and was angry and resentful
towards everybody and everything, especially my father. It was all I seemed to
feel and I blamed him for a lot of things. Anyone who has read my first book
will know just how heated my words were. I probably hurt him deeply with my
expression and actions and I embarrassed him enormously with how I portrayed him
in the book. I wrote that book in the throes of despair, despondency and misery
so unfortunately my father, who is not a bad man, copped a printed lashing. I
was coming out swinging left, right and centre trying to make sense of my world
and my muddled and disordered head, and anybody who hurt me copped the brunt of
my wrath and fury. This trend, as you will read, has followed me in to 2009.
My sister lived next door to
Alex and I, and I saw her nearly every day. It was safe for me to run across the
lawn, and be in relative safety in a matter of seconds. It was unlikely that I
would be hurt by some nasty human in those short strides, but even so when I
made the journey across my heart would pound and I would run as fast as I could.
Im sure I must have looked hilarious to anyone that happened to see me
sprinting next door. It certainly wasnt amusing or a laughing matter for me and
those living with the person I had become.
It was extremely lucky that
my sister did live next door because had she not, then my severely limited
contact with the outside world would have become almost nil. I came to rely on
Kaitlin as my social contact away from spending day after day home alone, not
watching TV and speaking only to Mum.
My sister didnt know it was
my lifeline and my grasp on reality and a normal life. Subconsciously I could
have been trying to recreate the life that I used to have when we were children
and living at home. It was a safe and comfortable feeling going over every day
to visit, and initially both Kaitlin and James were happy with my visits. Good
things, it seemed, can never last.
It was inevitable that James
my brother-in-law would become annoyed with my constant and unannounced visits.
At the time I could see absolutely nothing wrong with visiting all the time and
imposing on their lives. I was self-centred and focused and I gave no thought to
their wants and needs because I was incapable of doing so. Jamess annoyance and
my condition were going to explode into an almighty volcanic eruption that would
tear the family apart.
That first twelve months of
diagnosis and time off work was a very lonely and isolated period and I was
extremely vulnerable and frightened. I certainly didnt consider my counselling
sessions every week as a social outing, or the cognitive behaviour therapy
course I was participating in. The course was designed to help suffers overcome
anxiety and depression. It was not intended specifically for PTSD sufferers, but
still it was good for me to meet other people who felt abnormal due to
life-changing experiences. I wasnt the only one with a stilted view of the
world. I think this course helped to kickstart my very slow recovery. I was
beginning to see a very dim light at the end of a very long, desolate and barren
Despite my world devoid of colour and
emotion, Alex and I continued to have a wonderful relationship, due to the love
and bond we shared. It was strong enough to survive and although I never said it
often enough I loved him very much and knew without a doubt he was a very
special, unique and extraordinary human being for loving me in my current
condition. The fact Alex was an introvert probably helped. He was quite content
to stay at home and watch movies, DVDs and Foxtel, as opposed to going out and
socialising with others. Our lifestyle truly suited us both. We were
appropriately matched and spent hours in each others company without complaint
or the need for others.
With Alexs unconditional
love and support plus the effort he made to understand my PTSD, my world was
becoming brighter although still very dark. Sunlight was breaking through the
dense fog that had been hovering around me for such a long time. If I was honest
with myself that hazy veil had descended on me after the first incidents inside
the prison and had grown darker and darker with every episode. It was going to
take a lot of effort and energy to shift it completely and a lot of effort to
even recognise that I still had issues and problems associated with
post-traumatic stress disorder years later, but at least there was now some
For the first time in months
and months I ventured out into the real world with Alex by my side, and we drove
to Cairns for a holiday. We both needed the change of scenery, especially Alex
who worked full-time on top of helping me emotionally. It must have been very
taxing on him, but he never complained. I was very nervous about the trip but
felt I needed to go as my first gigantic step back into reality. After all,
there was an enormous world outside the safety of the house, and eventually I
had to get back out there.
It was a lovely time away
although I still had the same reactions to shouts, yells and other triggers I
worked my way through each one as best as possible. The highlight of the holiday
was Alexs proposal. We were in Port Douglas staying at a beautiful resort and
we were out swimming in one of the many pools. The pool was beautiful and large
with an enormous cave in the centre. It had waterfalls flowing over both
entrances. Swimmers could stroke their way to the middle of the pool, through
the waterfall and be inside a private little area, curtained off by the both
waterfalls. It was very romantic and solitary. Whilst in this convenient and
dreamy place, Alex popped the question. My answer was naturally yes.
Back in Brisbane life continued on as
before, but there was no hurry to make wedding arrangements as we agreed to wait
a number of years for practical reasons like my recovery and saving up money
to pay for a wedding and honeymoon. My psychiatrist thought the engagement was a
wonderful step forward in my recuperation and so did my family. They loved Alex
and thought he was the best thing since sliced bread. Compared to all the
disastrous and inappropriate men Id dated whilst seduced by the negativity
surrounding me, (which Alex is fully aware) he was truly my knight in shining
armour and I privately thought he was way too good for me. Was I deserving of
his love and devotion? What did he find so special about me?
The next small but significant step in
my improvement was the ability to go to the shops alone and out in public.
Slowly I was starting to do this. Not big adventures but small, gradual ones
like going to the post office, or going to the service station. I was nervous
and apprehensive but I was able to complete these journeys. I would not go to
any big shopping centres and hated them with a passion. I hated hordes of people
and crowds really upset me, but I was starting to live again.
One day I ventured into a
New Age-type shop situated five minutes from home, in the main street. Although
I didnt have a reading I got talking with Helga the owner and expressed my
interest in all things psychic, supernatural and spiritual. This chance
encounter almost felt guided by an unseen force, and led to a subsequent stride
towards normality. Once or twice a week from that moment on, I would go in and
help out in small ways. Basically I just pottered around as these occasions were
more of a social gathering of like-minded people. One lady read the tea leaves
and another read auras and my particular interest was in tarot cards.
Slowly but surely I began to
re-engage with the human race, albeit I was still very raw and vulnerable. It
actually felt good to mix with others and I was beginning to feel some emotions
again dull, but they were there. Some days I couldnt bring myself to attend,
but that was to be expected. When I was there I never answered the phone as that
still frightened me, but given time I would start to do this as well.
Id been in counselling for
many months and he was happy with my progress, however it was crunch time and
WorkCover made a decision about my case. It was determined that I could never
return to a correctional centre environment and would be paid out a lump sum. I
had time to think about the offer as there was the opportunity to sue the
company for damages, pain and suffering. My goal was to get better and get on
with life. I wanted to be normal again and that meant I had to start living.
Suing would have done absolutely no good for me at all and could have, in fact
pushed my progress back a long way. I couldnt afford to have that happen. I
took the WorkCover lump sum payment.
What a long and difficult year it had
been for me and everyone close to me, but at least now recovery seemed possible.