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 :)