Joining the pack
Joining the pack
Deciding to become a volunteer was a decision, I realised, that was made a long time before I found the opportunity to apply. I had worked on my anxiety and depression, struggling with not being defined by it but seeing it as a strength and something that had allowed me to reflect and look inward discovering who I really was and why I struggled the way I did with certain things in life.
After realising the stigma still associated with mental health struggles and mental illness, I made it one of my missions in life to discuss the topic as openly and as regularly to anyone willing to listening, which in turn alerted me to just how many people I knew or knew of were dealing with their own difficulties and to be honest that underpinned the fact that mental illness shows no prejudice or boundary.
Talking to people about your own experiences invites others to relate and helps to reduce the isolation felt which mental illness inevitably can bring.
Providing the peer-to-peer chat platform was what really drew me in. I always found writing my feelings down so much easier to do and, in a world where everything is done on the pocket sized computer we all have in our hands would make it easier to talk to someone who understood.
A chance to talk to someone who understands and is proof that things can improve is so undervalued. A sense of relief can be seen in some of the chats when a guest realises they are not alone and not judged but related to.
It wasn’t easy at first as I always put way too much pressure on myself to get it right, on point, perfect; however, with the support and encouragement of the My Black Dog family I soon realised I was capable of doing this and my confidence in supporting others has soared.
The sense of satisfaction I get from volunteering gives me more strength to cope with my life and all the challenges thrown at me, and I have been welcomed and accepted into a wonderfully diverse family group that always pull together. Truthfully, I cannot imagine not being a part of this amazing charity and I am so glad they accepted me to be part of them.