So it’s national volunteers week (well it was last week and as it’s only Tuesday i’m counting it as the same thing) and i wanted to take a second to share some work i’ve been doing around the value of volunteering and how crucial it has been for my recovery.
After i came back to Cambridge i was still pretty unwell, i know this because i needed a hair cut and put it off for months because it would require someone looking at me. Because i am a regular human being who wants to use their brain i felt a strange amalgamation of wanting to do something useful that gave me purpose but also to do something where nobody relied on me or expected anything. It is quite hard to find this balance when you would like the challenge to be something other than tidying your flat and after a failed interview at the co op (failed as in did not attend) i figured employment was probably not an option.
Volunteering at my local mental health Hospital felt like a good middle ground and gave me meaning without pressure and the role has developed over the years into paid employment which wouldn’t have been feasible without the 3 years of volunteering first! I now work as an Administrator for the Voluntary Services department which despite largely being glued to a screen is amazingly fulfilling because i get to support lots of people who are using volunteering as part of their own recovery (it’s the ciiiiircle of liiiiife….). This week (last week) we held an event to celebrate our volunteers and i shared my personal story, it was strange to hand out baby photos to my colleagues but the importance of the work we do hit home and it generated a lot of discussion. As a result i am now famous (ish…within my workplace…maybe..) and a press release was sent out with some info about me and a blog i wrote encouraging staff to take on volunteers by guilt tripping them with my own story.
(Me and my amazingly awesome Manager o-<-<)