A man who has been trapped inside his home for two years after he was repeatedly labelled ‘ugly’ has finally ventured outside after being hypnotised.
Richard Savage was taunted in the street because of his looks - the result of Moebius Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that makes his face appear paralysed.
The 43-year-old was called “retarded” by a doctor and also turned down for a job after the interviewer said he was “too ugly.”
After years of abuse, Richard retreated to his home in Shard End, Birmingham, and developed agoraphobia which left him unable to leave for two years.
But now Richard has stepped outside for the first time since summer 2013 - and it is all down to an intense course of hypnotherapy.
Explaining why he remained indoors for so long, Richard said: "Can you imagine living a life where you are frightened to go out the door?
"I never left my house. It was terrible. I had to get a doctors note and wasn’t able to work.
"I have a genetic condition which means I cant move the muscles in my face. It affects my speech.
"I was never able to fit in with society and at school I was badly bullied. People said I was retarded and ugly. I felt worthless.
"I was very dejected and withdrew. In my mind leaving the house was too risky because almost every time I went outside I suffered prejudice.”
Shockingly, Richard, a trained chef, also claims he was verbally abused by a doctor he went to see while studying at university.
He added: "I had gone to college and gone to university and I saw a doctor for a routine appointment when I was about 22.
"The first thing he said, the first comment he made was that I was retarded.
"He left the room, I sat there and waited and I knew instantly what was going on. It was prejudice.”
Richard said that he was also turned down for a chef’s job for being “too ugly”.
Suffering from panic attacks whenever he thought about leaving the house, Richard chose to remain indoors until he started having home visits from cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist David Kilmurry, who runs a clinic in Coventry.
Richard said: "A friend suggested I try and get help with my agoraphobia so I contacted David and had one two-hour session.
"I was very sceptical but I drifted off naturally, like a good nights sleep. David instilled in me a mantra to relax and be calm.
"It was like I had gone through a fog and there were no more worries, no more anxiety and no panicking. It is almost like you peel away years of anxiety and that is a big, dramatic change.
"It was amazing when I left my house for the first time. I just walked out the front door and down the street. It was a small thing to do but a huge step for me.
"I am now more confident and I am more alert and aware. I was a nervous wreck before. I achieve more now.”
Mr Kilmurry added: "I personally think that all of us can benefit and take strength from this gentleman’s struggle.
“It is nothing short of biblical.”
Richard is now planning to write his childhood memoirs in a book to inspire others.
Pictures courtesy of SWNS