So firstly, hello, that always seems like a good place to start!
My name’s Marie, I’m almost 30 (ahh!) and I like to think I’m a pretty alright human being. Well, to be completely honest some of the time I think that I’m an alright human being, but even from day to day and week to week, the way I feel about myself can vary enormously.
There are the times when a) I’ve felt like a fantastic, wonderful human being (rare, but it’s happened, I swear) and b) the times when I am feeling like a bit of a crap human being – now in the past, feeling like I’m a crap human seemed to happen way more often than me feeling alright about myself. But slowly through the years my feelings of self-worth and the belief that I DO have something to add to the world, has grown.
I bet you’re wondering HOW it has grown though? Okay, well I’ll tell you, but only if you make the next cup of tea. After a few years of having depression every year in winter, it was the middle of another cold, dark, I guess lonely winter period for me. I was doing a bit of googling (as you do) and I came across a volunteering opportunity. It was with a mental health service and the ad wanted someone to help out with running the drama group each week. So after some internal vascilating between wrangling with self-doubt and feeling excited that this sounded like a cool thing to do, I applied.
Now I will have you know that I know diddly-squat about drama (although I would like to!), but I guess my enthusiasm came across and the manager of the centre where it ran decided to let me have a go.
To cut a long story short, I absolutely loved every minute of helping out, I began to gain experience in a mental health setting and I ended up finding what I am truly one million per cent passionate about in life.
As a child I helped to care for my mum and my dad – who both suffered a lot with mental health problems (I’ve also had problems myself) and I really feel that these experiences gave me a ton of compassion and empathy for others going through hard times emotionally. Volunteering there (at a local Mind) truly boosted my confidence in a huge way – I had somewhere to be each week on the same day, but not only that – I could help. I realised that helping others was something I was truly passionate about. Helping someone else to feel alright, when they’ve been having a crap time, can be the best, most rewarding feeling in the whole world. By volunteering there I gained skills and confidence, but most importantly, I found what I truly love to do.
I also gained a job, for a charity I’m so proud to work for (big up, Mind!) – and I am still enjoying working there, still gaining skills, and still helping others to (hopefully) feel a bit less crap.
I am lucky enough to have found something that I love doing, and I strongly feel that a sense of purpose, having something to be passionate about in life, can make a MASSIVE difference when it comes to feeling good about ourselves.
Well …all I am saying is that it’s worked for me!