So last night I was working late with a group of my volunteers and I was telling them they can follow me on Twitter (@albysaurus or @AlexSuccessIS) and it was the second handle that got us talking. They were confused about why it just ended with SucessIs and were waiting for me to finish that sentence. So I explained about this blog and how I set it up to talk about how volunteering has helped me with my mental health.
Over the years, as I started working longer and longer hours in the charity sector, I stopped volunteering and stopped writing about volunteering so much and so this turned into a general blog about my mental health.
Of course, one of my excellent volunteers would remind me why I started this blog. For those newer readers of my ramblings, let’s talk about my life. #itsallaboutme
I grew up in an Asian household. The expectation for me was to go to school, college, university and then become some sort of doctor, lawyer, engineer or high skilled profession. Unfortunately for my fam, I hated school and that had a huge impact on my mental health and eventually when I turned 18, I was diagnosed with depression and later on anxiety too. I had no idea what I wanted to do so I dropped out of university and started training to be a chef. I loved food and thought this would be a great option for me.
I soon realised that it wasn’t for me. I completed my training though and throughout that I started volunteering and running my own campaigns on various topics. This for me was the first time I felt any semblance of self worth. The first time I enjoyed what I was doing. I met so many amazing people who volunteered with me who I am still best friends with to this day. I’m even going to be a groomsman at one of their weddings in August this year.
I only started doing this stuff when I was about 20. 20 years I didn’t really feel like I was worth anything. I was told multiple times by my stuck up grammar school that I wouldn’t achieve much if I didn’t get all A*’s at GCSE (guess what, even my part time job at Homebase didn’t even ask about my GCSE results, let alone any other job).
It’s pretty great right? It took 20 years for me, but I finally felt like I was doing something useful, productive and helpful to the world. Now don’t get me wrong there were tons of ups and downs throughout my new career in a sector I knew very little about and lots of breakdowns of my body and brain but without volunteering I don’t think I would have survived to this day.
So over the next few weeks, let’s explore how volunteering saved my life and how it’s still helping me survive to this day.