‘Nurse who believed in me helped me piece my life back together’

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‘Nurse who believed in me helped me piece my life back together’

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Simon Peacock, who was seriously injured while serving in Afghanistan, talks about his ‘miracle’ nurse Diane Palmer, who was among those honoured in the RCNi Nurse Awards 2017

While serving in the Royal Anglian Regiment in Afghanistan in 2007, I was seriously injured by friendly fire. I have been left with significant physical and psychological injuries from the blast.

Diane Palmer
Innovations in your Specialty award winner Diane Palmer, centre, with RCNi editorial advisory board chair Caroline Shuldham, left, and presenter Kate Garraway. Picture: Barney Newman 

Before I met Diane Palmer I felt that no one cared about me or what I had suffered. I was pushed from pillar to post, and referred to various professionals.

My paperwork was lost several times, professionals didn't follow up referrals as they promised, and I was labelled as having nothing more than ‘an adjustment disorder’. This ignored the fact that I had insomnia, and that when I did sleep I was acting out scenes from Afghanistan, to the point where I tried committing suicide in my sleep. 

Then my miracle happened. I was put in touch with Diane. Without her, I simply wouldn't have coped and no doubt would have killed myself.

Sense of worth

She has made me feel like I am worth something. Before I met her I was nothing more than a robot – someone who responded to orders, with no feelings or emotion. Crying is a sign of weakness, so I was told, so all I could ever do was scream, but the screaming stayed in my head. Needless to say, I developed significant ongoing psychological injuries as well as my physical injuries.       

Diane has made me realise I can cry, and that expressing my emotion is a sign of strength, not weakness. She has been my strength when I was weak and made me believe in myself.

How did she do this? She kept her word. She believed in me. She followed up referrals. She listened. More importantly, she made me human.

Strength and courage

More recently Diane supported me with my tribunal, and kept telling me to stay strong.

Diane has given me strength and courage when I had nothing more than suicidal thoughts, and slowly but surely she has helped me to piece together my life. 

I can now proudly say I have a job as a Braille teacher and have achieved my ultimate dream – a stable relationship with my beautiful wife. 

Through Diane’s constant ongoing support and belief in me, I have become me – Simon Peacock. Soldier, veteran, human. 
I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for her and her team. I owe my life to this woman.

Diane Palmer, of North Essex Partnership NHS Trust, won the Innovations in your Specialty category in the RCNi Nurse Awards 2017. 

For more on award-winner Diane click here