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Get to Know Me

Hi I’m Shaun, a  fully qualified and insured Therapist and Coach, and this is my story.

I come from a normal working class family living in Sussex, mum, dad, and two elder brothers, we didn’t have much, but we always had clean clothes and food on the table, oh and alcohol, alcohol was a big part of my childhood, it was always around and I got to see it from a very young age, the good, the bad and the completely ugly side of what it can do to people and those around them.

I can remember living with anxiety from about four to five years old, I was so anxious that I felt crippled by it, even at this young age I spent so much time on my own because I thought there was something wrong with me, I believed the stories that my mind was telling me, to say I was scared beyond belief would be an understatement, even at this young age I hoped I would go to sleep at night and not wake up, surely this would be easier than living, I couldn’t tell anyone how I felt for the fear of being taken away from my family.

I feared adults from a young age, from parents to nursery schoolteachers, police and so on. I can remember being at nursery school one day and not that I had done anything wrong, I was told to sit on a mat and not move till I was told to do so, I sat there for what seemed like hours waiting, I was so scared of these authority figures I couldn’t even ask to use the toilet for the fear of what might happen, so I just sat there and wet myself, I didn’t say a word, then my mum arrived to pick me up, it was very obvious what happen when I stood up, all the other children and staff were laughing at me, to make it worse I had to walk home wet through, the walk would take about 20 minutes and I tortured myself with stories about what I thought people were thinking of me as I walked past them in the street.

As the years went on it all got worse, I was suppressing everything which just led to me feeling lonelier and more depressed. I went through primary and secondary school with the anxiety getting completely out of control, I really didn’t like myself and I was struggling in life, I had no confidence and couldn’t concentrate, I was so distracted and overwhelmed by my thoughts and feelings that my teachers would tell me I was just naughty, disruptive and that I would never amount to anything in life because I couldn’t complete any work that I was given, this just fuelled the anxiety and lack of self-worth even more, to me these authority figures were clearly right and I believed everything they told me.

By the time I reached twelve years old I had found drugs, drugs were easily accessible in the early 1990’s due to the underground rave scene that was happening, I just started by smoking cannabis, and I liked it, it would allow me to relax, get out of my head, escape my pain, and numb it, I didn’t have to feel those awful feelings while I was high. By the time I got to the age of fifteen I was hardly going to school, it just didn’t seem a place for me, I felt like I didn’t fit in anymore, I had been told so many times that I was disruptive, naughty and would never amount to anything in life, I thought why bother going! I left school with no qualifications and was experimenting with harder class A drugs by this time, I thought they were great as they allowed me to escape the anxiety and pain so much more than cannabis ever did, unfortunately though with the harder drugs the worse the anxiety and depression became.

BANG! It all came to an end, I had completely F#cked up! by the time I reached 21 years old I had a complete breakdown through the constant use of drugs and running from my problems, I was completely unrecognisable! I went to see a doctor and began to take medication for anxiety and depression, the doctor referred me to a councillor for 5 free sessions. The councillor that I went to see had no empathy whatsoever, they had zero emotional intelligence and was literally talking to me from a textbook, all they could say to me was “come on Shaun, you need to man up” they had no clue of where I’d been or what I had been through, let alone how to move me forward, I have to say that they actually made me feel worse about myself.

Then my new friend arrived to save me “Hello alcohol” you see the drugs didn’t work in the end, neither did the councillor, but alcohol, well it had been around me for as long as I can remember, I saw people in my life go through bad times and say “god I need a drink just to take the edge off” That’s it I thought let’s give it a go. The alcohol was great from 21 - 34 years of age, I would go out on a Friday and come home late on a Sunday evening, every week I would go to the pub, club and then the after party.

This was great as I got to escape who I was at the weekend, during the week I didn’t like myself, I started to wish I would die in my sleep at night again just like I did in my younger years, I was so scared of who I was, I was anxious of the external world and everyone one in it, I was still fearing certain adults and people of authority like bosses and business owners, pretty much anyone with a title, I was led to believe these people were better than me, you see I come from a corporate business background and the culture was to rule by fear and make sure that the staff knew their place, I felt like I was institutionalised, I was living a life of torture, I felt imprisoned from Monday to Friday.

This went on week after week for years until I reached 34 years old, I was in a very dark place, I was sinking, becoming more anxious and depressed, I was blacking out whilst drinking, waking up in heroin dens, not turning up for work, fighting, stealing, I even didn’t pick up my super excited 5-year-old daughter on Christmas Day because I was still on the piss, then one day, BANG! Breakdown number 2, nothing lasts forever, especially the build-up of a lifetime of suppressed feelings, anxieties, low self-esteem, toxic relationships and living an unfulfilled life, especially one that is spiralling out of control with no purpose!

There was so much stuff I’d never dealt with from my childhood to this point including toxic relationships, being beaten up badly by a very close family member to losing my dad to cancer.

Something had to change, my life could no longer continue like this, it either had to end or get better, they were the only two options now.

My partner at the time got me to see a very special lady who she had met called Jane, and I am so grateful she did, I owe my life to Jane as without her I don’t think I’d be here right now. Jane was a therapist, coach, and mentor, completely different to anyone I had ever met or worked with. I remember my first few sessions with Jane, she was unorthodox in her style, she didn’t just sit and listen to me talking and then say “how does that make you feel” every time she would make me question what I was thinking and feeling, she would actually explain to me reasons as to why I felt the way I did, gave me tools to help me move forward, supported me along the way as well as making me accountable. Jane was empathetic, had emotional intelligence, actually cared, and was making a huge difference to me and my life. Jane taught me how to set boundaries, understand the anxiety, taught me self-awareness and most importantly that me being authentically me, was enough, enough to live in this world and you know what, she was right, we are all enough we just have to understand who we are and what we stand for.

I worked with Jane for 10 years, month in, month out, I was her mentee, and she was my mentor. Jane has now retired and moved back to South Africa, we still stay in touch every few days and have become the best of friends, she will laugh when she sees this, but I call her my second mum now.

I am now in the best place I have ever been in my life with it just getting better by the day, yes of course there are good days and bad days but actually I am the one who dictates either, it all comes down to how I react to it. Now 10 years clean of all substances, I have a high emotional intelligence, reduced anxiety, massive self-awareness, and love for who I am without judgement or fear!

The best part of my journey is I now give back, by becoming a qualified therapist and coach, I love serving and helping others that are in a place that I was once in, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone come to life and accept who they are.

With the world becoming a fast-paced crazy mess and so much going on at any one time, people living with heightened anxieties, comparing themselves to others, not feeling good enough, lack of purpose, confidence, and energy! Together we can find a suitable path for you.

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