Nathan's Story

EXTENDED REINTEGRATION SUPPORT (SOUTH WESTERN SYDNEY)

Nathan was adopted when he was two years old. His adoptive parents were unable to have children, but not long after, they fell pregnant and had a baby girl. Nathan’s adoptive parents were not kind to him and his father often disciplined him with physical violence. Nathan ran away when he was a teenager and travelled Australia, working many different jobs.

In 2008, Nathan was in a car accident, which left him in a coma and with permanent frontal lobe damage. He had to learn to walk and talk again and still has chronic pain. His brain injury makes him impulsive and compulsive and affects his memory.

Unable to work, Nathan came to Sydney to find opportunities. When seeking treatment for his chronic pain he describes being labelled a ’pill junkie’. He was finally placed on methadone in Kings Cross, which tied him to the area. Before long he began using drugs, sleeping rough and became known to the police.

While in prison Nathan was referred to CRC’s Extended Reintegration Service by his parole officer. The alternative was being released to a homeless shelter or crisis accommodation in Sydney. Once Nathan understood the program he acknowledged he needed support and willingly stayed in custody longer until accommodation was available for him to move into upon release.

Nathan is focused on getting through his parole, maintaining his tenancy and addressing his health needs. He has reduced his methadone and switched to buprenorphine with the aim of being in control of his pain treatment and not linked to a clinic. He also hopes to get treatment for his Hepatitis C.

Nathan would one day like to return to the Kimberley region where he has fond memories of living, and playing in a band. Music is his passion and he is saving up to buy music equipment. He’d also like to study and find work that isn’t physically demanding, such as teaching music or opening a café where people can play music. He also hopes to meet his biological mother.

For now, Nathan needs to finish his parole and needs assistance with keeping appointments. He is going through legal processes for motor accident compensation that involve meeting with lawyers and extensive medical assessments. CRC helps by facilitating the appointments and the contact with his lawyer. Nathan hopes it will result in a financial settlement that he can put towards his music. He needs assistance with budgeting so he can save for the things he wants without sacrificing money for food.

Following his accident, doctors didn’t think Nathan would recover as well and as fast as he did. Nathan attributes his recovery to his passion for music. After waking from his coma Nathan played his guitar as soon as he could. The doctors believe music improved the pathways and functioning of his brain. Nathan sees music as his therapy. He struggles with anxiety and depression since the accident but uses music to calm him or lift him when he is feeling low or anxious. Music is what has kept Nathan going throughout his entire life.