Volunteering has been an integral part of my recovery over the last 2 years. It’s given me my mojo back and made me use skills I haven’t used since being in the travel industry. I love the buzz and excitement of an upcoming event, or being able to signpost someone to get help from the service I promote. It really has given me a reason to get up in the morning, as sometimes I struggle very much.
I’ve learnt valuable life skills on some of the courses I’ve attended either with Together or Time To Change. I’ve completed Speaking Out training, running your own campaign, event planning, peer support, peer mentoring and other useful sessions. I’ve just tonight filled in an application to be a Mind Volunteer also, working on the wellbeing project in Hastings. You get very well cared for as a volunteer and they invest in you. If I’m successful in my application with Mind I need to attend a further 2 days training course. I respond well to training and I always did in the travel industry. I was quite intensely trained in selling skills when I worked for Thomas Cook and American Express and other companies, and at Thomas Cook specifically I went on to be the top seller. Training teaches you a lot about yourself you didn’t know, with any course!
If I hadn’t of been given the aripiprazole injection two years ago none of this would have been possible. I just couldn’t get on with my own medication and took it in fits and starts, normally combined with whether I was at home or running away somewhere because my home life was so miserable stuck out in the sticks with only a Vespa to get around on. I wasn’t fit to be driving with the concoctions of psychiatric medication I was on, and was a danger to myself.
I came home 2 years ago after a particularly dangerous episode and in 4 weeks I’d moved house and been given my first injection. Since then my brain has come back to me and I’m more and more motivated to do good, or better still do anything! I still have my moments but they are no where near as severe as they were, and I don’t get in half as much danger.
Volunteering has given me my confidence back and has taught me how to integrate in the community and use my skills. I feel very valued in all I do with each of the organisations I’m involved with.
If your looking at volunteering in the U.K. and would like to help tackle the discrimination and stigma attached to mental mental then Mind charity and Time To Change are good organisations to volunteer with. In fact Time To Change isn’t an organisation it’s a social movement, so let’s get it right.
Here’s the links