Trish and myself in Capri a few weeks ago.
Trish and myself in Capri a few weeks ago.

Those of us with facial disfigurement have tended to feel sorry for ourselves. Some just never adapt to the face they have. I might have fallen into the same trap but I didn’t. Part of that was because I never wanted to remain alone for the rest of my life and realised that with a lot of effort I could succeed.

Of course I made mistakes, blundered occasionally and struggled to find the right path. But I was persistent and thankfully never gave up on myself.

Hiding away from others doesn’t achieve anything, and certainly never gets you to the place you want to be, which is to lead as normal a life as possible. You’ll never do that if you lock yourself away from society and other people. Yes, it will be tough. You may endure some stares, perhaps some unkind comments. But, you know what, people are genuinely  considerate and will make time for you. That’s a hard lesson I learned, but only after many years and enduring needless anguish.

Of course it’s natural to feel self pity and believe the world has rejected you – that you can never ‘fit in’ and lead a ‘normal’ life. But that’s not true. I might have believed that back when I knew very few people with facial disfigurements, but if you look at some of my recent blogs there are some amazing examples of people who have endured horrific injuries and yet rebuilt their lives, people like Turia Pitt in Australia and Katie Piper in Britain, for example.

It’s a different world now and information is easily available on the Internet. You can even follow Turia Pitt and Katie Piper on social media, and both are leading highly visible and successful lives. They are truly amazing people, and so inspiring to those enduring their own hell trying to deal with facial differences. And yet, attitudes are changing for the better. There are many support services available now, perhaps not yet in Ireland – but that too will change.

I write a blog that’s mainly about my life coming to terms with facial disfigurement. I wanted to share my pain, hopes and dreams, and show you that despite so many setbacks I managed to come out the other side. I’m not perfect, not even close, but I love my life now. Before I met my wife Trish I wouldn’t have said that.

I have been humbled by the reaction to my blog posts. I never realised so many people would get so much from my writing and my experiences, so I’m truly delighted you care to read my posts and respond. It gives me the encouragement I need to keep writing, and to be more open and honest about my experiences. In some small way I hope it helps others.