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My name is Patrick.

I am a 25 year-old data scientist based in Dubai and I have MS and I am gay.

I was diagnosed with MS when I was 19 andI have been on Gilenya since this diagnosis. So far, I have found considerable relief with this drug.

However, I come from a very conservative Irish family. My father was always very hard on me when growing up as I was flamboyant. I was not the "normal" child he wanted apparently but a freak. I also never liked how he used to release his temper onto my mother and the bigoted mindset he exerted. Hence, I always made it my business not to have a relationship with him going up.

In my first year of university, mainly due to my incredibly sheltered upbringing and being still closeted, I was bullied mercilessly by my 7 housemates. It culminated with me nearly assaulted.

I subsequently had to take the next year out for an anxiety condition.

I am thankful this occurred for 2 reasons - I gained the courage came out as gay and I was diagnosed with MS (my GP, at a regular appointment, noticed one eye blinked slower than the other and sent me to a neurologist and I was diagnosed).

I then returned to university, and got my degree. Upon graduating, I joined a consultancy firm which I stayed for 16 months with. Even though I spent a year in America with them, it was a very homophobic environment and i even got slapped by a colleague outside a work event. I never went to HR out of fear nor did I tell my family.

I now work in Dubai with a very LGBT-inclusive firm (yes, I understand the irony - LGBT in Dubai, however, I am mainly working with Americans)

Now, up until June this hear, I was dependent on my father to send me my medication.

I should say he threw me out of the house last Christmas eve in one of his anger fits, which I never got a proper apology for. However, the worse part came last June when I was leaving ireland back to Dubai on my last visit home. He corned me in the hallway of his house and menacingly said in a low-breather "You are lucky I no longer control - I would not let you g at all.

Yes, I no - the words appear benign ... but it is the sentiment of wanting to control my life which scared me. I know he hates the fact I am actively gay. He wants to know everything to which he would spout his emotional/ psychological rhetoric which I grew up with. I put it this way - my eldest sister (hi favorite) took 2 years to tell him about her first boyfriend as he is so Catholic about relations before marriage. Just to get an optic on his "conservatism".

On arriving back to Dubai, I subsequently appeared to experience frequent anxiety attacks upon my return to Dubai. But worse - first time since my diagnosis with MS, I begun experiencing serious MS symptoms. I doubt the anxiety and the MS are mutually-exclusive in his case. When I emailed my neurologist, she said it was normal and it is OK as my last MRI said I was stable. But I was told that result ...

I should say, I see my neurologist every 6 months, with an annual MRII.

Up until then, I always thought I never received my MRI reports in the post as they only sent them out if a patient has bad news. Yes, I know - I was a fool.

Upon investigation, I discovered my father was opening my medical post and subsequently destroying them - not notifying me of the results :(

To make matters worse, a few days after this discovery in July, he decided to begin charging me for my Gilenya pos and asking for a little extra too.

Now, I know - one would pay back postage expenses to a helpful parent. But if a domineering man, with a violent temper, who is doing all this duplicitous stuff. I do n't think so!

I thankfully got a enough supply from a friend who was in Ireland last month, so I have enough until my next appointment.

What advice would you give someone in my situation with a difficult, overbearing, homophobic parent who has been very vocal that he has zero faith on my career, about his homophobia,, etc. and has cause of so much sorrow me with all this behaviour?
Should I mention it to my neurologist at my next appointment?

I never spoke to a medical professional about one situation before for fear as my father is very manipulative. He appears a saint in public, a demon behind doors. He would threaten me when with just me, deny it if I told any of my siblings. I often hear my mother tell others, when she thinks i am not listening - "Mike (my father) treats Patrick very badly as he him being gay" ... yet she would never tell someone with power out of fear.

I would appreciate any advice you may give and I apologise if I went on a rant.

I admire your work with this website greatly. You are making a difference!

Kind regards,
Hi Patrick,

I hope you're still following this and doing better. You really have been through hell.
Rough family life, I've found that a conservative upbringing can make you think that love is conditional and that Can really mess up a kid - guilt, shame and anxiety.

I've met people like your father and I'm afraid he's not just an arse - he's an abusive arse and, if he has everyone else fooled, potentially a sociopath. I apologise if my criticism of him upsets you.

You have been both subjected to and witnessed abuse and that is not even nearly ok.

I really admire you for coming out - that must have taken a lot of guts in your circumstances.

Then you were bullied by 7 people - that's awful, bullying is a truly terrible thing to go through.

After that a diagnosis for a chronic degenerative illness.

The reason I summarised this was so that you could read it objectively and recognise the emotional pain that anyone would carry around from one of these experiences- let alone all of them. I'm not sure that you can count on this pain to just go away by itself. But I certainly have no answers. Why don't you look into psychologists/counseling, treat yourself to some serious treatment that will help you to find peace.

Hope this helps,
Cheers, fiona
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