Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor
Reality star Kirk Norcross has said he is suffering post-traumatic stress disorder as he recalled giving his father CPR after he killed himself, saying: “I tried my best. I knew he was gone though.”
Businessman Mick, who rose to fame as the owner of the Sugar Hut nightclub in ITV series The Only Way Is Essex, died at his home in the Essex village of Bulphan on January 21st, 2021, aged 57.
He first appeared on Towie in 2011 during the show’s second series, while his son was part of the original cast.
Appearing on ITV’s Loose Women, Norcross, who has spoken openly about his previous drug issues and his own attempt at suicide, admitted he relapsed after his father died.
He said: “It has been the quickest year ever and the slowest year ever. It’s so hard to explain.
“I’ve got a bit of a mental block. I can’t remember my dad being here, but I can like a dream.
“He was a host. He wanted to make everyone smile around him. If everyone around him was happy, he was happy.
“And that’s how I want to live my life, and that’s how I think lockdown’s really affected people that excel at people being around them, to make people smile, to then, ‘You can’t go, you’ve got to stay in this house’.”
Norcross said his father was diabetic so he was locked down alone for 12 weeks, speaking to his son through his window.
He added: “I believe your mind, if you’re on your own, is the worst place to be in.
“I really can’t stress to people – you’ve got to let people know how you feel. You let people know when you’re happy, why not let them know when you’re sad?
“(My father) is old school. He was a docker, he worked in the docks in the 60s and 70s, and I believe that era in men, I don’t know if (they think) it’s a weakness.
“It’s not, you know. If my mate comes and says, ‘I’m struggling’, do you know how strong I think that person is?
“I live next to my father, I was with him the night before. That morning, I was having my breakfast, and he did what he usually did, which was take a bit off my plate. And he was fine.
“He actually gave me his next business strategy and I was like, ‘Brilliant, if that’s what you want to do’. That afternoon he killed himself.
“I was indoors, having my lunch and I got a call from my dad’s partner saying, ‘I can’t find your dad’. And I don’t know why, even though I saw him that morning, I knew what had happened.
“We knew he was in the house, he’d locked himself in the house and I smashed through the door. I found him… I gave him CPR, I tried my best. I knew he was gone though, I knew the minute I saw him.
“It was surreal. It was like my life ended but I had so much to do at the same time. What would my dad have done in that situation?
“Once I gave him CPR and I knew it was done, I just laid with my father and told him it’s time to rest.”
Asked if he has received any help, he said: “Not yet. I’ve had all my family around me. Dad had a really big estate, so we’re still selling his house.
“I got diagnosed with PTSD because I’ve had flashbacks of how I found my father. It’s like the war films… the flashbacks. I’ll be walking down the road and it’s like ‘Bang’ and it’s in my dreams. I ring my friends and say, ‘I need to talk to you’.
“I tried to commit suicide many years ago, I didn’t think I had a purpose then.
“Everyone watching this, you have survived 100% of the sad days, so why can’t you survive more of them?
“It’s been hard. I’m a recovering drug addict and I’m not ashamed to say. I did relapse when my father died, the day after, it was just to numb my pain, but I’m a couple of days away from nine months sober.”
Norcross said he wants to honour his father by helping others, adding: “I think he’d tell me I’ve finally become a man.
“I’m doing it for him and everyone else. I don’t want anyone else to go through what my dad had to do and what we had to go through as a family. Just reach out, it doesn’t make you any less of a man to tell people you’re struggling.”