A paramedic stabbed by her patient last year in the back of a moving ambulance has said she felt 'low' and 'struggled' after the incident - to the extent that she couldn't go back to work.
Amanda Beames, who has worked for the North West Ambulance Service for 20 years, was stabbed by Paulius Zacharovas while she tried to help him after he collapsed in Manchester, England last year.
The 39-year-old medic explained that her mental health was so affected by the incident that she couldn't sleep and needed to take several months off work.
Amanda Beames of the NWAS. Credit: MEN
"I was struggling to function, maintain information and make decisions," Beames told the Manchester Evening News. "I'd invented in my head that he would find out who I was and where I lived and come and get me again.
"I ended up in a really low place and had to go to my GP as I was struggling. It's only now I realise how unwell it actually made me feel and be.
"We put our uniforms on and think we can do anything and solve anything, but over the years, all of the little things can build up and there's only so much you can take. This was the one thing for me that made me realise I couldn't do it anymore."
Amanda was one of a team of medics tasked with taking Zacharovas to Salford Royal Hospital after they found Zacharovas unconscious, worrying that he had fallen and hit his head.
Zacharovas, 30, eventually woke up and tried pulling Amanda towards him, grabbing her pen, threatening her and leaving her with wounds to her wrist, chest and stomach.
Paulius Zacharovas who was sentenced to eight months in prison. Credit: Greater Manchester Police
Zacharovas was later arrested and kept in prison on remand before pleading guilty last month to assault with battery. He was sentenced to eight months in prison and ordered to pay fines of £150 (£207).
After the attack, Amanda went back to work right away but quickly had to take time off, realising the incident was affecting her more than she thought,
"Me and my partner have three older children between us, and even though they're in their late teens and 20s, you still go into parent protection mode, you don't want to tell them because you don't want them to worry," she said.
"Christmas came and it was the first one I'd been off for all of it, but it wasn't the same, and I found myself suddenly having to explain to them why I was walking around at one, two, three in the morning unable to sleep."
Amanda is now on a phased return to work and hopes to get back into an ambulance later this month, accepting what she couldn't have predicted what happened to her.
"I just want to get the message out that if something happens, people should never be embarrassed to seek help - it's okay not to be okay," she said. "Reach out and the support is there."
Attacks against paramedics have been rising in the north-west of England, with the number of reported assaults against Greater Manchester ambulance staff seeing a 40 percent increase from 2016-17.
'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.
Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do.
MIND: 0300 123 3393.
Samaritans: 116 123.
CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.
Featured Image Credit: PA