GAY conversion therapy goes under the radar, but it still happens in Australia.

Back when James was a teenager his own mother sent him to get electric shock therapy to "treat" him for being bisexual.

Here, the Queensland 32-year-old explains what the "treatment" was really like.

I was raped by a family friend when I was very young. No one wants to talk about male rape. My family was extremely religious - they certainly didn't want to talk about it.

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My mother didn't know how to handle my mood swings or growing depression as a child. When I reached my early teens and told her I was bisexual she thought I needed to be "cured".

She forced me to see a doctor; supposedly he was going to "help me". He asked me lots of questions but everything I tried to talk about he somehow led back to there being something wrong with me. It was very much talked about as being all my fault. I was to blame, for whatever was wrong.

I was given heavy drugs. I didn't like taking them because they made me feel exactly that - heavy. They told me I would die if I didn't take them.

I showed the drugs to one of my teachers at school, who explained they were strong sedatives. Bearing in mind that my mother would suggest taking Valium if you ever told her you were sad, turning to medication made sense to her.

When I stopped taking the medication, there came what they called an "intervention". The man would ask me questions. I knew he was trying to win my trust, so I played the game and nodded when I thought he wanted me to agree.

One day, they told me they wanted to monitor my stress. To be honest, I didn't have any fight left in me. I felt emotionally abandoned by everyone. No one understood me; my mother thought I needed to be "cured". I felt like a burden.

So, when they told me to sit still in the chair I did it. When they strapped me down, I didn't resist. When they put something in my mouth for me to bite on, I nodded quietly as tears ran down my cheeks.

The man would ask me questions. If I didn't nod, he would give me an electric shock. Whenever I shook my head as a response or showed any sign of resistance, I was given an electric shock. Then he would keep talking. Looking back, I think they were hoping it would literally teach me to think differently.

My mind raced. I blinked hard, trying not to let them see for a split second that I didn't agree.

It was so confusing. My instincts and my heart told me one thing, but I had to nod. They were trying to turn me into someone else. It was horrific.

I was totally at this supposed doctor's mercy. It all depended on his mood.

Sometimes the shock would last for a few seconds, other times it was so long that I blacked out. When I came round my pants would be soaked through. I'd passed out and wet myself through fear - or whatever it was. I have no idea.

When I got home, I didn't even look my mother in the eye. She was paying for this "treatment" that was going to fix me. Clearly, she didn't love me.

I cried myself to sleep. I still do sometimes. I was 13 the first time I tried to take my own life. I sat on the edge of a cliff and willed myself to lean forward and fall. Cuts and bruises - but I wasn't brave enough. My mother was furious with me. I left home soon afterwards.

Sometimes I stand in the shower and cry and cry. I let the tears fall and merge with the water. I just let all my heartbreak out.

My mother is not well. I've seen her twice in the last few years. I have tried to explain that what she did to me as a child, what she allowed to happen to me, was wrong. She says it's because I was difficult. She won't acknowledge the incidents. There is no admission of guilt.

I know my mother does not love me. She never has. That is a hard thing to live with.
I was being horribly bullied when a friend recommended I join Blokes Advice. I've found there the acceptance of men who aren't afraid to say they're scared. In the morning, I have notifications from people, friends, checking I'm OK. It's the first time I've actually felt like someone cares about me.

For the first time, I feel like I belong somewhere.

WHERE TO GET HELP:

If you need to talk to someone, the following free helplines operate 24/7:

DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
LIFELINE: 0800 543 354
NEED TO TALK? Call or text 1737
SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234

There are lots of places to get support. For others, click here.
- news.com.au