I have trouble remembering things these days, but I’ll never forget one date – 26 June 2008. That was the date my life changed.
I was bashed in the street by a couple of guys outside a bar on Oxford Street, I ended up in hospital for over a month.
When I got out of hospital they told me that I had a brain injury. People kept telling me I was different after I came out of hospital. I used to be a really laid back kind of guy, with a good job, but it all changed after the attack. I couldn’t keep a job. I got really short-tempered and very forgetful. I also had a lot of flashbacks to the attack.
Then I got in trouble with the police. I was on the train and I couldn’t find my ticket when I got asked by the train police. I was looking in all my pockets and I tried to explain that I had a ticket, but they wouldn’t listen. I lost it and got really angry. I don’t really remember what happened, I just flipped out and the next thing I knew I was yelling and shouting and telling the police exactly what I thought of them, which wasn’t very complimentary. I tend to lose my inhibitions and say things I shouldn’t when I get stressed out these days. I got charged with offensive behaviour and resisting arrest.
HALC represented me in Court. My solicitor had contacted my doctors and got supporting letters about my brain injury and the stress that this and my HIV diagnosis had been having on me, and the effect it has on my behaviour. The judge agreed to deal with me by making orders for me to see a counsellor to help me with anger management, and so I didn’t get a conviction. It was like getting a second chance, and my counsellor has given me some great strategies to deal with my emotions. If I get stopped by the police again, hopefully I’ll be able to deal with it differently!
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[all names and information that might identify any individual have been changed for confidentiality purposes]