I have had to learn hard lessons about my limitations and triggers. Sometimes staying well feels like a war, and I have to accept I can’t win every battle. Living in a constant state of hypervigilance has a significant effect on my physical health. Tense muscles, fatigue, sleep disturbance, hyperarousal, depression, anxiety, auditory hallucinations, suicidality, and body pain are all symptoms that I live with.
Last year I started volunteering for an LGBT plus social inclusion charity that provides social spaces that aren’t focused on drinking. They’ve been a huge help to me since I came out and I wanted to give back. I joined their committee and set up a bi plus networking group, offering a space for bi plus people to discuss issues that affect us, meet new people, and organise activities and events. Mental health, social isolation and sexuality have strong links and I’m very proud of what the network is achieving.
At Home Group, I've gone from a customer to a volunteer and then from an apprentice to a permanent colleague. I’m currently working for the Engagement team and I still love my job! Our customers never fail to inspire me.
Since I've been at Home Group, I set up Rainbow Roofs, our multi-agency LGBT plus customer group for HouseProud North West, the professionals’ network for LGBT plus people in the housing sector. Customers from housing providers across the North West come together and steer HouseProud to better outcomes for LGBT plus people in our communities. Delivering this project for Home Group helps me see just how far I've come both in accepting my queerness but also in how much more capacity I have professionally.
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