By Peter L
On keeping a job
I used to be a bus driver. I’ve never had any trouble getting a job. The problem was keeping a job once I’d gotten it. I’ve been battling this for twenty years. It’s almost like self destruction. You lose your job, then you end up selling your belongings. It’s a perpetual circle. Flourish Australia has helped me stop that vicious circle.
The important thing is staying on top of your mental health. It doesn’t matter much what actual goals you set. Whatever makes you happy and stable in yourself. Then the other things will fall into place
If you’ve got people around you helping you and you’re trying not to slip, that’s what you need. That’s what Flourish Australia did. I knew that if I hit a wall, then I was just a phone call away from help.
When Mum was sick a number of other things all happened at once. My best friend took off. The TAFE course got a lot harder. And when Mum got really sick I let it all go. But Flourish Australia came to the rescue. When she passed away recently, they helped me with preparing for the funeral, even with getting proper clothes and shoes for it.
On “dealing with it”
I don’t think my mental health issues are ever going to completely go away, but the important thing for me is that I’ve got to learn to deal with it. I can now accept who I am and where I’m at.
On giving back
When I told my Mum I had enrolled in the Certificate IV in peer work at TAFE she was really impressed! Now I am going back to complete it. I’d like to do the same for someone else that was done for me. I’ve experienced agencies that promise things but don’t deliver. I’d like to be one of the blokes who helps people. In the past, I’ve hit Flourish Australia up for some support. Maybe in the future I’ll hit them up for a job!
As told to Warren Heggarty
BELOW: Flourish Australia’s Penrith Service is located in this large but inconspicuous house in Derby Street, near the PCYC, the bowling club, the aquatic centre and the paceway, site of the regular Penrith Market day. PHOTO WARREN HEGGARTY