Episode 13: Breaking the Silence: Nick’s Journey from attempted Suicide to Hope

Welcome to the Stronger Families Podcast, a space for candid conversations with real heroes that sheds light on the side of things not glorified in the media. In each episode, we learn about what goes on when these heroes go home, so that together we can build a stronger family. Today, Noel Meador, host and CEO of Stronger Families, interviews Nick about his story and how healing brings hope.

To begin, Nick introduces himself as a police officer in Washington, and he was continuously experiencing various trauma on the job. He had slow changes over time that he couldn’t recognize, but his wife pointed out when he changed 6 or 7 years down the line. He felt like what he experienced on the job is supposed to be normal, but it’s not. He truly never sought out counseling and almost lost his life in an apartment fire. He’s had people fighting with him and had an individual commit suicide in front of him. He started to lose emotions and couldn’t feel things. He became numb towards wife and their relationship started to suffer. On October 6th, 2022, he made the decision to kill himself. He felt so much darkness and felt like it would never end. He loaded his gun and was planning to shoot himself in the heart. He was trying to find any way to stop the darkness and was telling himself all these lies to justify it. He was counting down from 10 and when he got down to 2, there was a phone call that he couldn’t ignore.

His sergeant, Chris Oakes, was on the phone asking where he was. Nick drove back to see them and Chris just hugged him, and Nick started sobbing. For the first time, he felt like he got a life preserver and Chris just kept saying, “it’s going to be okay.” Chris told Nick that he needs to get help, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and that he needed to heal. There was a First Responder Wellness Center and he kept making excuses on why not to go, but went on October 8th. Nick kept being told that he wasn’t alone and as soon as he walked through the front doors, there were 5 other guys who were experiencing very similar struggles. He felt like he actually wasn’t alone. He participated in the in-patient program for 75 days and it felt like a restart. He had a very strict routine and healthy ways to cope with therapy, including journaling and scripture study. He thought going through treatment would be the hardest thing, but coming home was. He didn’t have a safety net and at home, you have to focus on healing and life. He had setbacks with being home and aftercare was his number 1 priority. He realized he can’t be the right husband or father if he’s not okay.

Next, Nick explains how he joined law enforcement. He didn’t know in high school what he wanted to do and he wrestled growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah. He came back to Spokane and wasn’t sure what he was passionate about. He wanted to help people and to do something that everyone doesn’t have the will or courage to do. Right before his high school graduation, he got arrested for reckless driving. His cousin in law enforcement said if you want to make a complaint, maybe you should become a cop and fix the culture yourself. For those who have a profession of service, they see 80% seeking wellness and healing. Nick goes into his past traumas and how growing up, if something negative happened, he would bury it down. His wife, Alicia, asked him one day if he was sexually assaulted as a kid and he started sobbing because he didn’t even realize it. He then had a tidal wave of the memory of his trauma in that moment of being sexually assaulted and raped starting at just 6 years old. He never told anyone these things and never admitted them to himself. He was very angry as a child because he felt like his childhood was robbed from him. He stayed safe by being alone and didn’t want to deal with that trauma. After he remembered these events, he told his therapist and they said that he can get through this. Nick would tell someone with the same story that it’s not your fault and if you feel like you can’t get through it– you can– because he felt the exact same way. He was told over and over again that the event already happened and the hardest part was over. He says you have to trust in yourself and your therapist, and that time doesn’t heal all wounds and you can’t treat yourself. His therapist talked to him about EMDR and even though it felt too hard and too painful, it just felt that way in the moment. Healing is intentional, and then you can start to move forward and heal those wounds. He said his healing journey didn’t happen overnight, but he slowly saw progress and started to feel better. It takes dedication and is hard, but it’s worth it.

Nick shares his journal entries from treatment, including the first journal entry from October 8th, 2022 and his last entry. He shares that maybe he’s fighting all this so his kids or somebody else won’t have to. Nick states, “I will be victorious and it’s time to come home.” For anyone struggling with thoughts of suicide or darkness, Nick says that you are deserving of happiness and worthy of love, and you have to take that leap of faith. It’s so much more than just you- every person that loves you, you will put that pain onto them if you go through suicide. Once he got home, he knew that he had to implement healthy practices to help himself with these traumas and stress. Life doesn’t stop when you get home. He felt like he was a burden to people if he called them, but Nick says just pick up the phone and call. It doesn’t have to be a burden, they could help you get to the next day. He also states that you will hit a plateau in your healing where you may need to switch up your healing process and routine. He says there are resources in and outside of departments that can help you.

You do not have to go through this alone. When you get home, it can still be hard and it is expected to slide backwards a little bit. Your brain will try to trick you when you get home and get back into bad habits. Eventually, he did have to pick up the phone and all he had to say was, “I’m not doing well.” He realized he wasn’t doing well because he wasn’t doing his aftercare. His darkness will never go away and he has to face that enemy everyday and use his aftercare tools to come out victorious. While he was healing for two months, his wife Alicia was home and was essentially a single mom with four kids. He was coming home to a wife that was exhausted, stressed and angry. They had to heal and move forward together in their healing journey together. They went to a talk called “Stronger Together” and made a weekend of it, and they were reminded of how much they love each other and their why. He took his first letter with him to read through it and remind himself of how far he had come in his healing journey. He burned it since, and made a promise to himself that he would never speak those words again. Family are the people who show up for you, love you and support you.

Please like, share, and subscribe! 


0:43 – Host Noel introduces and welcomes guest, Nick.

2:05 – Nick introduces himself and shares his story.

14:33 – The factors that led Nick to law enforcement.

16:51 – Nick talks about his childhood trauma.

24:47 – What Nick would say to someone with the same story.

28:29 – Nick shares his journal entries from treatment.

34:44 – What was it like coming home?

39:57 – Element of “not going alone.”

44:28 – What healing looked like for Alicia and his family.

49:31 – What happened to the letter?

53:29 – Closing remarks.


Learn more about Stronger Families

Check out more podcasts here.

Business Leaders Seattle

Network and Do Good.
2023 Details coming soon. Sign up for more info.

Notice: JavaScript is required for this content.

Business Leaders Dallas

Network and Do Good.
Details coming soon. Sign up for more info.

Notice: JavaScript is required for this content.