I was looking for a photo for this challenge that’s going round, a photo of you when you were
20. I stopped doing that and decided to write about me now.

Well, about me when I was 11, when I was 12, when I was 13 and when I was 14. That’s when my
story begins, that’s when my life was shattered into tiny pieces, that’s when the sexual abuse
started. And ever since (until I went for help) I have been trying to keep the shattered me together.

The #MeAt20 was a complete mess. I married young, and we settled down. There were times when
the kids were young, I just couldn’t get out of bed. I suffered bad with depression for years, even
taking a shower some days was a big achievement.

I was like a Volcano, with episodes of real anger. I got angry over anything , and often.

My wife was amazing, she shielded the kids as much as she could and stood by me. It was her who
found out about One in Four and made the appointment for me.

I knew things needed to change, on paper I had this amazing life ,three beautiful kids, a good
plumbing business and an amazing wife, but I needed to get “me" right. To put the shattered pieces
together, to deal with that 11 year old boy that my coach had destroyed .

And it happened. Not right away, (it took 3 years of therapy), and at the start I found it very difficult
to open up. My therapist was great, but it took me good a while to trust her. When I finally did,
things moved faster, and I began to realise my anger and depression stemmed from what happened
to me as a kid.

The shame I had been carrying around, wasn’t mine, I hadn’t done anything wrong, I wasn’t to

As the weeks went on with therapy we explored my past and its impact on me now . It did help, I
was able to tell my wife about my experiences. I had never told her, I had been too ashamed.

My rage got less and less, I finally had some breathing space. The past was losing control of me. I
discovered other ways to deal with it – I took up running and started to look after myself.

I am far more content now, and its brought me closer to my kids, me and Roisin are in a much better
place as well.

Things are tough for people, not just here in Dublin, I have cousins in Boston self isolating, everyone
around the world is effected and a lot are suffering. I got the support I needed, it took a few years
but therapy really helped me.

I think about the other Toms, people like me here in Ireland, who were abused as kids. I worry
about them now, self isolation mustn’t be easy for survivors.

When I heard the pandemic was effecting One in Four. I asked them what I could do to help. They
asked me to tell my story.
“Tell your story Tom, write it down in your own words so others know we are here for them.”

So this is me letting everyone know, what’s it’s like , how abuse destroys your life, how we need to
protect our own kids and that things can get better if you let them.

Its mad to think a charity like One in Four is struggling, I hope people connect with what I am saying ,
and if they need it get the support they need.

I would really like people to seriously think about giving a few Euros to this brilliant organisation.
One in Four are really special , its amazing what they do, and so are the people that help them.
Giving a donation today means their door will be open for the next person like me.