Bonnie Williams: Finding support, finding a purpose

A better understanding of her diagnoses and a new approach to self-care has enabled Bonnie Williams to find a job she loves – supporting other people with disability. This is her story.

I was born with high functioning autism, and I was diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder in late 2020.

I have just started to come to understand what both disorders mean and how they affect me.

I have had experience in different job roles – I have been a waitress, sales representative, and I held a library customer service position. I even studied at TAFE.

While I enjoyed my roles in some areas, trying to assist and meet the needs of so many people a day caused me to constantly feel drained.

I felt disappointed in myself if I couldn’t fully help a customer or client.

Not being able to slow my anxious thoughts or my stress and anxiety attacks, I quickly fell into multiple situational depressions without understanding what was wrong.

My anxiety got in the way of me achieving and developing further in roles I had really fallen in love with, like I never was able to work full-time in my library position.

I lost positivity and self confidence in my capabilities and relationship with customers and co-worker’s. I even lost friendships.

I didn’t have much information or understanding about autism, especially my own autistic traits, which caused me to feel self-conscious and either withdraw from people or experience a rise in my social anxiety.

Finding the right support

Through a different Disability Employment Services (DES) program last year, I was informed that I could be provided with further support in finding employment.

After having a mental health assessment through Centrelink, I was introduced to Forrest Personnel in Manjimup and soon started attending appointments in Bridgetown.

I have been registered with Forrest Personnel for nearly nine months now.

The Forrest Personnel staff have been so approachable and empowering. I started having appointments with them and I had found a job opportunity.

They assisted me to understand my job responsibilities, and provided me with exercises and methods to look after and maintain my mental health, even outside of the workplace – like a vision board with my goals and small reminders like drinking water and making healthy choices.

The support I receive goes above and beyond what I could have imagined. The Forrest Personnel staff I have gotten to know have been really understanding and considerate, assisting me to slowly develop my self-esteem and confidence.

Providing support to others

I now work as a Disability Support Worker for There With Care Support Solutions Pty Ltd.

I get to empower and help other people and assist them in achieving and working on their goals.

I provide domestic support, like house cleaning, along with social support, where I enable clients to participate in their community.

I have family members who experience mental illnesses, and through talking with Forrest Personnel, I found that in a way I’ve been providing the same kind of support at home for a long time.

I never considered myself working as a Disability Support Worker before, so when I started I was nervous.

But working one-on-one with clients I’m able to understand them and read them. I find personal joy in assisting them to live as independently as possible.

It is a lot easier for me to focus my attention on one person than multiple at once. I can take the time to meet their needs and I learn new things every day.

I must be doing something right – in December I was Employee of the Month, which is still a shock.

Finding a job where I look forward to going to work every day makes everything much easier. I look at my employment as the best part of my day and the payment is a bonus.

I have loved other job roles I have had previously but, unfortunately, I would feel drained and emotionally disconnected for most of the week.

Being able to go to work and have a good day, while also taking care of myself and my mental health means a lot to me.

Forrest Personnel supports people with an injury, illness or disability to find and keep jobs.
Whether you are looking for work or looking for staff – we would love to work with you. 
Send us an email or call us on 1800 224 548.