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Dylan - Through group activities I gained a sense of belonging and overcame my anxiety to go after my dream career

Before getting involved with Flourish Australia’s group activities, I wasn’t doing much with my life. I had a really rough time with bullying at school and one particular incident left me wanting to avoid going anywhere. 

Withdrawing from my peers led me to feel very isolated and I began experiencing vertigo, so I stopped going outside altogether. By the time I reached out to Flourish Australia for support, I was feeling incredibly anxious. I’d lost touch with things I used to enjoy and hadn’t been out in the community for a very long time.  

At first, I didn’t feel confident going out on my own, so I asked for one-to-one support at home and they would visit and walk with me around my neighbourhood. It took about a year of doing this to build myself up to trying some of the group activities they offer. My NDIS package makes it possible for me to do more of what interests me and the groups are an opportunity to make new social connections while learning something new. Getting involved was a big part of regaining the sense of belonging I’d lost, with people I can relate to. 

A dietician who comes to see me and talk to me about eating well recommended taking some cooking classes, and the team at Flourish Australia in Canberra organised this through one of their groups. I really enjoyed the whole experience and gained some new ideas for preparing recipes and making healthier food choices. 

As I’ve started feeling stronger in myself, I’ve set new life goals including going after a job I love. 

I’ve never worked or even volunteered, but as I’ve started to imagine more for my future, my dream is to make a career of creating video games. I found a real sense of accomplishment in recently completing my Cert II in Digital Media and Technology Information, which is a field that’s always interested me. The certificate is hanging above my computer to motivate me to keep going.  

The next step is working toward my Cert III.  

Although the study is challenging, I’m persisting. There have been times I’ve felt stuck, like when my family weren’t able to participate in role plays, but I asked my support team to step in and do these with me, which they were happy to do. Just knowing there are people around me I can ask to give me a hand with day-to-day things like that has been a big help as I’m finding my feet. 

With their encouragement, I’ve been keeping up my psych appointments, and since I’ve been getting out among people more often, I find I don’t experience as much social anxiety. I’m more open to trying new things and talking to a wide variety of people.  

I love that my mum has been so supportive of me on my recovery journey but my hope is to one day move into a place of my own where I can have a bit more independence. I’m still working on overcoming a fear of heights, and claustrophobia but I’m feeling so much stronger in myself, I can deal with challenges.  

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