My journey with RF began at a time of complete emotional collapse, fuelled by a long history of suppressed and unknown emotions catalysed by a career and personal life that thrived in and chased what I “should” be and terrified me away from exploring what I might “want” to be. There was no encouragement or permission to pause and recalculate my route – from others or from me. But I knew deep down the inner conflict was leading nowhere wholesome.

A very lonely, scary and debilitating time. But now, I can look back with gratitude because as painful as it was, going through it allowed a re-birth and a much more wholesome connection to life as well as to an exceptional community – the RF community.

With RF’s support I have been able to indulge in my values and learn from my pain and my emotions. I have experienced how powerful seemingly simple tools can be at helping to navigate challenges and fears. It’s still hard! Doubt and fear creep in all the time and try to tempt me towards the “should” routes! Sometimes I cave, sometimes I feel like a warrior taking those thoughts to court (to coin our much-loved Angie’s phrase!) and taking bold steps in spite of them!

It sounds so easy. However, this is an active, intentional journey that began 5 years ago and one that I cannot see occurring without the support and amazing staff and community at Richmond Fellowship and Community Connections.

To feel heard, empowered, not judged, not rushed and experience a safe place to explore myself was everything. My 121s with an absolutely amazing Employment Advisor were essential to rebuilding a sense of self that was in pieces.

Becoming an RF Volunteer was a no-brainer, once I reached a stable stage of recovery there was almost a desperation to share and help others.

I am humbled, grateful and so proud to have been a part of this life-changing service for 3 years now. It has been essential to my own on-going healing and mental health journey. Being fortunate enough to be entrusted with deep pain or fears is something I am profoundly grateful for, because my pain was guarded for such a long time it’s release was not easy. I recognise and value every single person who comes along to our workshops or 121s with such vulnerability.

To make an impact on anyone’s day is something I hope for. To normalise simple, accessible tools they can deploy is essential. To help them feel less alone or afraid. To encourage them and remind them of their strength is very important to me. Above all to remind them that they absolutely matter.

I feel extremely lucky to be surrounded by such a warm and supportive team, who have allowed me to share ideas, contribute to new initiatives and co-facilitate workshops. But also to explore my authentic “want” to help clients further. I enjoy and value the deep connection this yields and continue to be so inspired by their gratitude and feedback.

A small ripple that I hope leads to a big wave of positive change.

My journey today with RF is one of inspiration, active hope, emotional intelligence and acceptance, inner strength and an unwavering desire to help others.

Thank you, RF

 

Contributed by one of our lovely volunteers

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