Deonny’s Story

Moving Forward with Life Through The Work I Do!

At the time I was recommended to join Figtree Conference Centre by my counsellor I had been landing in her office a lot, struggling with a lived experience of anxiety.  Now that I feel supported in my workplace, I am focused on building a better future for myself instead of dwelling on what’s been wrong in my life.

I have a passion for hospitality and came to Flourish Australia with more than 20 years industry experience.  Working in the conference centre has given me the opportunity to get my career going again and move beyond the mental health challenges I was facing.   I am continually developing new skills and confidence in my abilities and I enjoy the interaction with people from all walks of life and lines of work.  It feels good to be part of a professional team who love what we do and take pride in doing it well.

My world keeps expanding through my work and I acquire new skills every single day.  I’m involved with the LGBTI Rainbow Network and in November I worked at the Invictus Games where I supervised a banquet for the athletes and their families and carers. Recently, I contributed to input for the Community Advisory Council as part of a group of supported employees who had our say about how we’d like to see things develop at Flourish Australia; and I’ve also become involved with the Senior Leadership Team in putting together a booklet which outlines what Flourish Australia is all about, for the board and stakeholders.

I’ve grown through formulating these ideas and composing the necessary documents, because I have had some difficulty in the past with understanding word meanings and putting words together. Through Flourish Australia, I was able to take a writing course where I built confidence in using words I knew the meaning of, to express myself, and this work experience has been an opportunity to build on that.

Being recognised for the Women Advancing Flourish Australia campaign means a lot to me. I recognised my own Peer Worker and it never occurred to me that I might also be put forward.  It’s got me thinking that perhaps peer support work is something I would like to do in the future.  There’s a lot of work involved for me to get there professionally but I’ll keep taking steps in that direction. I was invited once to speak at a recovery forum to encourage other supported employees on their own journeys and I realised that I can use my experience of overcoming personal challenges powerfully, to help others who are dealing with similar problems and show them that they can achieve what they set their minds to.

If it wasn’t for my work I would be shutting myself away at home, fretting about problems.  My work commitments give me motivation to get up and get going each day and have changed the way I see things. 

When I’m working, it lifts my spirits to think about what will make people happy instead of dwelling on my own problems.

Right now, I have some family matters I need to focus on and the workplace here gives me the flexibility to be able to take a step back from my workload, to deal with that.  Long term, I have my sights set on working in the open workforce and the high quality work we do at Figtree Conference Centre shows that everyone can be productive and make a valuable contribution, regardless of their diagnosis.  Having a disability hasn’t held me back and I feel encouraged to go after my dreams.

More Real Life Stories