DEFORMED – Finally Hearing My Own Voice – is my new memoir
Gary Thomas was born in the early 1970s with a flat nose and cleft palate (a hole in the roof of his mouth) that would blight his early childhood and schooldays, leading to bullying and severely affecting social interaction and relationships.
His problems were exacerbated by the realization at an early age that he was gay, but UK laws and attitudes in the 1980s inhibited his ability to ‘come out’. Although his mother was loving and supportive, she did not fully appreciate the effect of her son’s physical disabilities and mental health issues, and his relationship with his father was distant at best. Following his parents marriage breakdown he had to adjust to a new step father.
During his schooldays and teenage years he underwent various surgical procedures that eventually led to achieving a ‘usual’ looking face and speaking ability, enabling him to slowly build relationships, and begin, at last to trusting others. Using ‘mirror experiments’ Gary got used to his new look.
Gradually overcoming his disabilities, he began to discover a passion and ability for creative writing and film-making, securing a variety of media-related work and funding, going back into education and attaining a degree in digital imaging, boosting his self-esteem and independence.
However, internal demons were never far away and he had several lapses into deep depression. A random stop-and-search encounter with the police tipped him into paranoid delusions and almost over the edge, and led to a corrosive suspicion of the police that was to last for the next ten years. He also took up boxing and wrestling.
With the support of his mother, and various psychiatrists – and gay friends he made once he had taken the decision to reveal his sexuality – he achieved a positive mental state and began to build a career in the film industry.
As the Paralympics came to London, 2012 marked a transformational year for Gary, as he worked hard every day in writing and filmmaking, he was also invited to give a presentation to the police about his personal experiences.
The highs continued for Gary as he realises he can achieve what ever is in his imagination.