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Amy-Strengthening my communication with Flourish Australia’s Rainbow Group is transforming my life

It’s been so healing for me to build my self esteem by strengthening my communication skills with like-minded people from the LGBTIQA+ Community, in Flourish Australia’s Rainbow Group.

The group gathers weekly at a café to talk about our experiences of recovery, coming out, and whatever else is going on in the LGBTIQA+ Community. At first, I was planning on just listening, but after sitting-in on a few sessions, I felt ready to open up.

I live with autism and for most of my life, communication has been a barrier to relationships. Before joining The Rainbow Group, I struggled with anxiety around other people. For me, it’s been a safe space where I can be real about what’s happening in my life, without criticism or judgement. I feel appreciated for who I am and it's helpful to hear others share their experiences of facing challenges in their own lives.

By communicating what’s going on for me, I’ve gained a better understanding of my emotions and grown more confident in myself, which has had a positive flow-on effect in all of my relationships. Working through my own inside-issues in this way, has been freeing in all aspects of my life. I find it easier to handle stressful situations, and comfortably convey my feelings and needs.

It motivates me to know that my Peer Worker, Britt, started The Rainbow Group as a result of her own experience of feeling isolated in a sub acute unit, where she was the only gay person. She has been through her own stuff, including some situations I identify with, and her genuine empathy has played a big part in helping me to feel fully seen, and that there is hope for me to thrive in my life too. I’ve actually taken steps toward my dream of starting my own art business, painting and drawing to sell online.

Taking part in Flourish Australia’s Rainbow Group has shown me that no matter how much you want to give up on life, you can reach out and find people who will understand you. The sense of belonging that it brings will restore your hope.

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