My family have always lived by our Christian beliefs, that it costs nothing to show kindness. For me, that means being caring by nature, relating with gentleness, sharing laughter and joy, and treating everyone with respect. Finding the right support, where I experience genuine compassion and empathy, has accelerated my recovery. Seeing the flow-on effect this has on the happiness of my family, inspires me to keep moving forward.
I’m grateful for how caring my family have been throughout my journey, reading everything they could get their hands on about mental health to understand how they could best support me. Navigating the health system can be confusing but I found the hope and direction I needed when I connected with the group activities provided by Flourish Australia.
Without the group, I’d be back in hospital. Now, when I’m working through hardship, Flourish Australia have a house where I can stay a few days and feel fully supported. Just knowing that’s an option takes the pressure off and I bounce back quickly.
I used to be very hard on myself. Their genuine care has softened me and helped me to appreciate the importance of self-compassion. Receiving the encouragement of my Support Workers reassures me that I can do this, and I’m going to be ok.
I’m supported in very practical ways, but it’s the human connection that means the most. They sincerely care about who I am as an individual and come alongside me with enthusiasm every step of the way as I go after my goals. To me, that’s true kindness. It strengthens my confidence to pursue what makes me happy, like my Zentangle art, which I aspire to selling one day.
With the Zentangle technique I can find a Zen state of mind as I create a colourful tangle of dots, lines and curves. It’s a way of allowing my inner child free expression which brings me peace and joy, helping me to overcome the social anxiety that was holding me back. When my symptoms flare-up I tend to rant but my art helps me to stay grounded. It gives my confidence such a boost to see how stoked my Support Workers are when I share something I’ve created with them.
I’ve gained so much understanding about what’s important to stay focused on for my mental health, from Peer Workers with their own lived experience. In the past, I would go off my medication the moment I began feeling well and start to spiral, but I’ve learned to manage my wellbeing.
It’s validating to know they get what I am going through. I can feel the weight of stigma that was always such a scar on my life, falling away.
There’s no judgement with Flourish Australia. You’re taken for who you are and made to feel you bring something unique and special to the table. I am surrounded by wonderfully like-minded, buoyant and uplifting people, which has helped me self-esteem to soar.
We’ve grown to feel like family and I will be saddened to lose that connection when the group folds due to a lack of funding. I can’t give them enough credit for the kindness they’ve poured into me. It has been life changing. I’ll never forget it. I’ve become a better, happier, more outgoing person.
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