Susan "Huhanna" Jane Hickey

Kia Ora my name is Huhanna which is Maori for Susan. I am 36 years old this February and my story is probably a familiar one for many of you. 6 years ago I was given a diagnosis which stopped me continuing my nursing and changed my life, I was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disability which could slowly weaken my muscles and would cause pain in my fibrous tissue. The deterioration was slow and I was adjusting to it fine. However, I was also in a violent relationship and after years of getting bashed because I may have been to outspoken at University where I was studying Law and Psychology, or something else upset my then partner. I was also beaten by my ex step son who as a young adolescent I tried to work with to help him overcome is anger. Instead I let them hurt me time and time again. My son who was much younger then, use to get very upset as I would hide him in the wardrobe to protect him or get him to stay with friends if I knew a beating would come. I loved my partner I believed they would come through and change because of that love.

In August 1996, I went to a Unit event with my law school buddies and had a great night, I was getting a little sicker my immune system was weakening but I felt happy, I went home and I found out my partner had been having an affair and I was to leave the house. I tried to get my things and I admit I was upset. All I remember is walking into the house to get my things and my ex step son coming at me like a train. He punched me and I fell I got up, he punched me again both times in the face, I remember my head hitting the corner of the door, blood everywhere and then nothing, I remember coming to and screaming they were both on me hitting me. I dont remember anything else until the police came and kicked me out of my own house, they made me drive with a head injury blood everywhere. I had to ring a friend to get me to the doctor who patched me up and sent me on my way, no one asked if I had been unconscious.

Well I had black eyes, sore ribs, a shaved head to let the lacerations in the scalp heal, a cut on my forehead the doctor wanted to stitch but I wouldn't let him. And one hell of a memory loss. Months later, justice did not prevail, they got off for beating me. the police blamed me for sticking up for myself and even my police complaint against their treatment of me didn't get a result. I spent a long time angry, I didnt understand the fits I was having or the turns no one could explain it.

It wasn't until I met some Hamilton Head Injury support people who got me onto this space and from there I have been able to begin to understand. I use to be very suicidal (partly due to also being A.D.H.D) and had no respect for my life, something happened during this event which has given me the urge to fight for the right to having a dignified life. I am more disabled now and am relying on my wheelchair a lot more. I have chronic fatigue, muscle spasms and pain constantly, irritable bowel, incontinence problems, possible fits or turns still to be determined by the neurologist, memory problems, mood swings, muscle weakness and other problems. but I now have a will to live and to live I intend to. Before the beating I was an A student, after the beating, I dropped to a D but made it through from previous marks, last year with hard work I passed 7 papers and this year is finally my final year and I have started with a B- average. At the end of the year I will be finished and starting a job as a policy analyst. My hope is to work in health policy as more disabled need to be in the decision making process that affects us.

That's my story..I believe it is one of hope despite the disabilities, there is hope and fulfillment everywhere, well that's how I see it anyhow.

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