Excerpts From The Book

November 1999


On a cold, crisp November morning a truck pulling a fifth wheel RV rolls onto the Zuni Indian Reservation in New Mexico. There is no one around for miles and while it has a stark beauty, it is a desolate spot. The man driving the rig is a fugitive from the law. He is a tormented, lonely soul who has endured all of the misery he can tolerate. He is past trying to deal with the ever-present depression. He has nothing to continue to live for and has lost all that matters to him. At one time he had it all—successful career, wife, son, beautiful home and ranch.  He had brought his life’s dreams to reality. That is all gone now and only memories remain as a constant companion, haunting his every moment. His life as a respected bank president who worked tirelessly in civic and charitable organizations on behalf of the community he served feels as if it was someone else’s life, not his. He is living an unbelievably hellish nightmare, facing at least six months in an Arizona prison.  He has nothing left to live for and no way out. The man stops the truck. He reaches across to the passenger seat, picks up his .45, and puts it under his chin.  As the sun rises at his back, the light reflects off the gun’s barrel like a sunburst.  Tears stream down his face, his hands shake, but he knows this time it is for real. There is no going back. The man’s trigger finger begins to pull back and his last thoughts are of the life he has lost, what he had been, and what he has become.

 SHATTERED: Tragedy on the Mountain 

Living with traumatic brain injury and bipolar madness


SHATTERED is the story of a man who had it all: a successful career as a bank president, a loving family, and a beautiful sprawling ranch nestled among the rolling hills and tall pine trees of East Texas, a region of the state characterized by its sparking lakes, world-class fishing and hunting, and black gold buried deep within its soil. The man was a nationally recognized bank president who had finally realized his life-long dream professionally and personally. He was at the top of his game and in the prime of his life. Yet, in mere minutes this idyllic life was shattered beyond repair. A life-altering horse riding accident in the Weminuche Wilderness of Colorado, known for its dangerous and rugged beauty, left the man with major physical injuries and a traumatic brain injury, which triggered a debilitating mental illness. The man, his wife and son began the unbelievable journey many families have been forced to take when dealing with mental illness. This is the story of John Larkin Nicholson’s descent into the depths of hell that is bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and paranoia and how he lost everything, including his family. This is the story of a journey into the world of illusion and delusion that forever changed his circumstances and tossed John and his family into unimaginable and unendurable pain. This is a gut-wrenching story as John’s family comes to understand how this mental illness steals his identity and leaves a stranger in his place. However, this story is not without hope. It is the story of a wife and a son who struggled to understand why and how through a personal journey to discover the answer, they found healing and peace along the way. This is a story for all who have ever had reason to ask why, and though searching, have yet to find the answer to this question, and who thus have yet to heal. This story will speak to the hearts and minds of those who are dealing with the results of traumatic brain Injury and bipolar disorder or who are in a relationship of family, marriage or parenting where there is any kind of mental illness. It is insidious. It is a thief and it devastates.  Yet, as we see a new willingness on the part of celebrities who are experiencing mental illness to come forward and give it a recognizable face, there is added hope that spouses, children and parents everywhere will find the healing and peace that John’s family found.




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