A tweet today suggested I needed professional help. It was one of a few I have received either hinting or declaring that I might benefit from such treatment. To be honest, I was a little shocked, but perhaps the intensity and rawness of particular episodes in my life have convinced some I am still hurting. Wrong.

Yes, I do still have the occasional awkward moment where I might feel uncomfortable in a bar or going to some social event. There’s a little part of me that hesitates sometimes when I walk through town or a shopping centre. That will always be a part of my life and I wrote about it in a previous blog.

But otherwise I go about my daily life and work without a care in the world. I’m neither depressed nor sad. I love life, travelling the world, love my wife’s company and my two children who mean the world to mean. How I look now doesn’t really matter. I’m happy, and love writing the blog.

Some years ago I featured in an RTE documentary called Skin Deep with others who were also facially disfigured. Through no one’s fault, Trish and I felt I came across rather negatively, as if I was still living in my dark past. I seemed intense and joyless, no fault of the director. It made me realise my story hadn’t been told properly, but as usual I did nothing and the years rolled by. Now I have the blog at hickeysworld.com.

My writing can be brutally honest and intense because I willingly drag up memories of some pretty ghastly experiences. They are truthful and extremely painful to write about, but they are also in the past. They don’t dominate my life anymore. I’m lucky in that respect. Yes, I want to write about how I struggled and failed to adapt to facial disfigurement. I want you to realise I was deeply hurt, and badly traumatised back then. It scarred me in many ways and I’m not silly enough to believe otherwise. And I had no professional help, no one to turn that negativity I lived with into something positive, other than my family.

I’m a survivor. I was extremely lucky to meet Trish, a remarkable woman who loved me almost from the start, and has been hugely supportive since we first met. She has been my rock, my greatest supporter, and I love her dearly.

So, if you flinch a little when you read my blog understand I am good, very good. It has been a long, very emotional journey to get to where I am now, but I have never been happier. Trust me.

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