I was out of my comfort zone with travel and meetings but thrived and soon got involved in customer promise assessments and Life Swap, sharing my story about mental health difficulties, being a gay man and how involvement has helped my recovery.
I’ve struggled with my sexuality all my life, I was bullied relentlessly at school, home and work. Initially, I hid in a marriage with a woman and didn’t act on my true feelings for years. I finally accepted that I was gay in the 1980s when AIDS was all over the media and there was a lot of fear around gay men. I was disowned by my family who I haven’t heard from since.
I’ve also struggled with my mental health due to the bullying and isolation, not trusting anyone to be a true friend to me and having no family to fall back on.
Getting involved with Home Group has been so vital to becoming more mentally well, it’s been a chance to be part of society again while being able to truly be myself and not be judged. It’s so important for me to be seen as just Stevie, when I’m involved I am recognised for my abilities, not my disabilities.
I share my story at Life Swaps for colleague training, conference and external events. I’ve been able to use some of my past work experience to help customers with learning disabilities to get involved which has been a highlight for me over the last year. I struggle to feel pride, but I am proud of this.
Just believe in yourself, and don’t let others drag you down. It’s hard to get back up so don’t let anyone else tell you how to be or how to feel. We are all worthy of love.
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