Sharon Carmichael from Bangor tells her story of how volunteering opened a door that depression had closed.
Volunteering opened a door that depression had closed
Sharon Carmichael from Bangor, Co.Down is an enthusiastic volunteer with MindWise and Together For You, a mental health and wellbeing project funded by the Big Lottery Fund. However a few years ago her life was very different.
Sharon has suffered from depression, on and off for nearly 20 Years.
Watch her video and read her story below:
“I remember people saying to me ‘just pull yourself together’, but I was too lost, too fragmented to pull myself together. I had no understanding of what was happening to me and no support to help me ‘pull myself together’.
Sharon remembers well the turning point in her life.
“I remember attending a book review in Bangor for Lynda Bryans, and thinking that she was actually telling my story. Hiding when people came to the door, forgetting to eat, all these things that you keep hidden. Listening to Lynda speak all those years ago gave me courage to finally seek help for my depression”.
Volunteering has opened up a whole new world for Sharon. Her confidence has returned, she is no longer taking anti-depressants, and most importantly of all she is now in a position to support others with their mental ill-health. “I have been able to grow myself, and I am now helping others to understand and grow also through my volunteering.”
Sharon, along with the other Together For You partners and people who have benefited from their services, are helping to raise awareness of mental health as part of Mental Health Awareness Week (11th – 17th May). “I want to let people know that it is ok to ask for help, it is ok to say ‘no, I’m not fine’(#itsoktonotbeok). Being involved in volunteering with MindWise and Together For You has made me realise how many people and organisations are out there to help you. You just need to have the courage to take the first step, and I hoping reading this will help you do just that”
Together For You offer a range of services including befriending, bereavement support, specialist counselling, mental health awareness programmes, support for carers, support for LGBT community and volunteering. For further information call 028 9032 9150 or visit www.togetherforyou.org.uk or visit us all this week at the Dock Café in Titanic Belfast between 11.30am and 2.30pm.
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