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Forums / Welcome and orientation / Newbie on the block

Topic: Newbie on the block

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Tom R
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Tom R avatar
    12 posts
    8 October 2020

    Hi everyone,

    I'm Tom, and kind of new here, though I've been 'registered' here for about five years. I thought that I had posted before, but it appears not. Life has been a challenge from the beginning and I'm now really the closest I've been to knowing myself and being okay with me as a person, and my lived experience. I'm a mid-40's dad and husband, married for more than half of my life. I've been studying for the past 10 years and still going.

    As for mental health, I was diagnosed some yeas ago with a Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia, a mild OCD, and PTSD. I was sexually abused for over 14 years and into adulthood growing up in a dysfunctional and sometimes violent family with whom I have zero contact. I am also a gay man and was subjected to conversion therapy (Not a legitimate or ethical therapy) aka "Pray the Gay Away." Being a gay man and married to a woman has been hard, and seems to get harder the more comfortable I become in my identity.

    In terms of career/vocation, I spent a number of years in the public sector and State Government. I've been involved in 'people helping' for many years having facilitated 12-Step Recovery groups (similar to AA or NA), peer support work and also working with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse which has been such beautiful and rewarding work for me. Since 2010, I obtained a Bachelor of Theology and was drawn to spirituality and contemplative practice, but it was counselling that drew me most, and I now work as a counsellor, psychotherapist and art therapist. I'm also involved in facilitating men's work and equiping men with tools and skills to more authentically live their preferred life. And I really love what I do! Outside of 'work' I enjoy architecture, film, music, photography, poetry and Lego.

    It's been a very long journey (and it's not over yet) to get to where I am now and I've learnt a lot along the way and I really enjoy being able to share of my own experience and coming along side others to share the road. Probably the hardest thing to learn has been my own worth, and I'm still going on that one. But it has been worth it, and I'm learning how to embrace who I am, all of me, wobbly bits and all, and offer myself to the world - scary as that is at times.

    I look forward to getting to know you too :)

    4 people found this helpful
  2. smallwolf
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    smallwolf avatar
    5771 posts
    8 October 2020 in reply to Tom R

    hi and welcome.

    it sounds like you have had quite a journey. Also, there is some commonalities between you and me. I started studying a BTh part time in 2015. Depression set in in 2017 and started seeing a psychologist, and shortly thereafter a psychiatrist was added. To shorten what could be a longer story, because of a few things I can now put that on hold indefinitely. I recently finished a Dip. in Counselling. If you could argue for a calling it would be counselling. Could talk about that more another time. What drew you to counselling?

    On the conversion therapy. I recently listened to a couple of podcasts about that. It is quite disheartening that people today still have such beliefs. That said, there are quite a few churches that are also accepting and open.

    Turned 50 recently, and have 2 kids (18, 20) and a cat. Nearly forgot the wife!

    Your post raised some questions in me, but these can wait until another time. Check out the social section of the forums as well - fum for everyone.

    Tim

  3. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
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    Sleepy21 avatar
    4161 posts
    8 October 2020 in reply to Tom R

    hi Tom,

    I love hearing about people's journeys, and a warm welcome, newbie.
    I too have PTSD (complex/developmental ptsd). I also love art therapy and fnd myself drawn to ACT/mindfulness as well.
    I'm wishing you luck on every single step of your journey and that you find such warmth and care here. It's a safe space with many kindred spirits. Thank you for posting and happy to hear more. Also happy to answer any questions about the forum :)

  4. Tom R
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Tom R avatar
    12 posts
    9 October 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks so much for your response, and it's good to know that I have some things in common with others here. Given that similarity, is it possible to read your story or intro? I've tried to see if there's a simple way to see the posts of an individual but I've not found such....

    I've been drawn to counselling for many years and finally completed a degree after three separate attempts over the years. Typically, I have always found myself in roles helping others work through lived experience, difficulty or trauma. I had a great therapist years ago who also recommended I consider it as a career. I can chat more about that later.

    I'm hopeful that the questions my post raised for you were/are not too difficult for you at this time.

    Take care, T.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Tom R
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Tom R avatar
    12 posts
    9 October 2020 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hi Sleepy21,

    Thanks for your comments. I've been on the journey for along time, and the bulk of what I've shared is not new, but thanks for the encouragement.

    T.

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