Tag Archives: Volunteering

Depression Exists


Depression Exists:

As you all know lately I’ve been all over the place. However, Depression hasn’t won this time and I intend for it to never win again!  It’s just me I personally have been all over the place. But now I’m  starting to focus and get my act together once more.

Once you realise that you can’t control everything, life seems to get easier. I thought I had to control everything, but then life did a turn and I no longer had to. Meaning I got married and was in a position that I no longer had to work! My youngest was 5 then and my oldest was 14. The 14 year old had been used to me working all his life, but they both loved me being a stay at home mum.

At first this was a huge novelty to me and I had no idea how to occupy myself. I learnt piano when I was young and so thought what the hell, I’ll learn again. I had a spiritual piano teacher and she taught me how to relax and ground myself. I learnt classical and felt really confident with her by my side. I loved the music but really struggled to read it. So, I played a lot by ear.

Then one day, I hurt my hand learning to  play  Moonlight Sonate. It should have taken a break but I insisted on getting it right using the wrong fingering over and over  and ended up with tendinitis. I took a break but in the process lost my confidence. I had been with her for 3 years but all of a sudden I couldn’t hear the music. No one understood; I had played it and loved it. There I was, confidence shattered. I told myself I could no longer play. Just like that, I closed the lid and have barely opened it since.

My son talked me into it a couple of times and recently I mucked around with my 11 month old niece on it. She couldn’t judge me. Actually I’m my worst critic and, at times, my worst enemy. I thought of going back to it. My husband suggested I learn the guitar. He has more faith in me than I do and misses hearing me play. Confidence can be a real prick. Sorry! But it’s true. You lose it and tell yourself you can no longer do something and suddenly… Guess what? You can’t! So, the piano just looks at me and I feel like a failure.

When I knew my confidence had taken a dive, I needed something to make me feel worthy. Yes, we all need to feel this. and being home is great, but we need to keep ourselves active members of society. I ended up throwing huge Christmas parties at a function centre.  It was the party of the year to come to. It was so much fun and every year I had a different theme with all props matching. I bought gifts for Santa to give all the children. There was Fat Cat, Fairies, D.J.’s, and a number of other entertainers. Boy was it fun. The food was the biggest thing to organise, and of course the alcohol. My brother-in-law is a lawyer so he took responsibility for the bar!! Lol I told myself I would stop when my son graduated year 12 (he was 17 years old). I did stop then; it had become quite expensive.

During this period there was no time for depression – I was too busy! Lol

I renovated a number of homes. Not pulling walls down and doing brick work, but being the project manager. All renovations need one as everything needs to flow, just like music! Lol  I was great at keeping tradies happy… No, not in an ilicit sort of way… But that would have probably made for a better story!
Tradies hate it when other tradesman are in their working space, and rightfully so. I became a great cleaner and negotiator.  I did 7 homes in 14 years and whilst it was fun, it’s also very tiring and stressful! Yet you look at the end result and go, I want to do it again! lol

To do nothing only brings about depression as you have too much time to analyse – and over analyse – everything and anything. You make mountains out of molehills and everything becomes bigger than Ben-Hur!!

Keeping yourself occupied is one f the best things you can do for your mind.

Then last year I decided I wanted to volunteer for an organisation. I responded to an advertisement looking for someone to help at an old peoples home. Right, I can do that…. Well so I thought!  When I started I thought “how on earth am I going to remember all these peoples names and areas they belong in!”. But like everything, in time you learn and it becomes second nature. I stayed for 8 months and in that time I met some beautiful people and heard some really great old stories. But it’s not really the place for anyone with any sort of Depression. Why? On one hand it’s incredibly rewarding… and then the other it’s the most depressing place ever!!

The families that love and respect their elderly are easy to see, their loved one has photos, pretty blankets, ornaments, t.v’s, some even have their own laptops. They are happy cheery people and can’t wait for their families to turn up. The ones abandoned there have nothing but their beds and worn out old clothes. It’s heartbreaking to see and these people are generally quite sad and lost. I spent time in the dementia ward and this was not for the fainthearted. I loved being there yet there were times it was a little scary and you had to take a break. It’s so hard watching the families losing all hope as their parents slowly forget who they are. Dementia is a cruel disease and robs everyone of all dignity in the end.

At the same time I was volunteering I was in the midst of renovating my last home. We had 2 really big storms come through. It caused major flooding to the house and I needed to spend more time getting things sorted out there. Plus I had tradies crossing each other and they weren’t happy. So, I made the decision to leave the old peoples home. They asked if I would come back when the house sold, but I didn’t. I really thought about it and didn’t think it’s the place to be for me personally. I loved these people and unfortunately I’m the type of personality that if you have a problem, then it’s mine too! Crazy I know but I’ve always been like that. I always feel like I can fix the world. When they were sad I was sad… And when they were singing and clapping their hands? So was I.

The house finally got finished and I had free time, which I loved actually. Then we had things we wanted to do at our rural property and so I spent time meeting the council and organising paperwork. We had some great wins and were given approval to install some additional forms of housing. My nephew turned a complete heap of rubbish donga/transportable into a beautifully equipped little home. We still have 2 more to do, but at least all major plumbing and electrical work is nearly completed.

So now it’s time to go and play… Jobs are all done and I’m off on a holiday. Well, two holidays actually! I shall write about them before I leave!

So for me, reading, exercising and eating, keeping myself healthy is a part of the bigger picture we call life… They are what are keeping me sane. People think it’s great to not have to work and to some degree, I agree. But overall for our own self esteem we need to stay connected to the world and not lose our own self worth. Because this is what nearly happened to me. I frustrate myself because I can do more than I realise or give myself credit for. Being negative is easy… It’s staying positive that’s the challenge!

What do you do to stay sane?

Hugs to you all….Paula xxx


Filed under Fight Depression, My experiences

Putting Me First

Today I quit my voluntary work at the old people’s home:(

As you would see from my last post, I’m having to take Lithium tablets (for now!). I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and that everything seems that much harder to achieve. So, I had to make the decision to stop for now.

I’m coming to the  end of the finishing touches of a house that we are renovating. Hopefully when it’s finished someone will see the great effort we went to give them a new home, without it actually being a new home. Anyone that’s renovated or built a new home would know how stressful it can become. So with doing the home and going to our farm every Friday, and going overseas, it was all getting too much. Rather than have a complete meltdown, I decided to give it up.

When I made the decision, I actually felt really bad and that I was deserting these old people who I had come pretty fond of. Some of them registered that I was leaving, but I think the majority didn’t really understand. Still, at this moment I know I’ve made the right decision.

Guilt is a wasted emotion! But one that eats us alive, if we let it:)

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Filed under My experiences


Feeling really lost and not knowing what to do with myself, I would wander around feeling empty inside and I would try and think of things to do that would make me feel happy, the sad thing was; it was always just a temporary fix.
When I’m feeling depressed, it’s hard to get motivated to do anything, most of the time its hard just to get out of bed; you lay there thinking of all the reasons you should, but then the negativity kicks in and you just want the bed to swallow you up.
You never feel good enough, and the thought of failure, before you have even begun, overwhelms you.

I’m one of those people that when I’m grocery shopping and someone bangs into my trolley, I’m the one to say sorry! The majority of people look at me as if to say; “so you should be.”
God I wish I had that sort of confidence (or arrogance) just for 1 day, to see what it’s like to be so sure of yourself 🙂

I saw an ad on T.V for Beyond Blue; so, not knowing anything about them I google’d it.
One of their slogans was to: Act, Belong, Commit.
They talked about volunteering, which I thought was good idea until that negative side kicked in again and I thought I had nothing to offer anyone.
The idea played over and over in my head until one day, one very positive day, I decided to reply to an ad. looking for people to volunteer  in an old peoples home.

During my interview I tried to be really happy, confident and upbeat and then I was asked what experiences I had to offer them; instantly that very negative side kicked in and I said that I don’t really have many.
The lady must have seen the disappointment in my face and said: “That’s okay, I’m sure any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.”
God, I can’t believe it, they actually think I’m worth something!
That night when my husband came home, I was dying to tell him that they said yes to me. It’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my lifetime.

Its amazing how just holding their hands and asking how their day has been, can brighten a person’s day.
They love talking about their past and listening to music from their era.
I love seeing the people in wheelchairs (the lay down chairs) that don’t really talk or walk anymore, tapping lightly with their hands or feet against the chairs to the music.
When I first got there, I didn’t understand why these people were taken to the concerts; because they didn’t really respond to anything.
Until I saw that tapping of the feet or hands, I never realised just how important music is to us all. It seems to me that no matter how much our bodies or minds seem to give out on us, music lives on.

So if your wondering about whether or not to volunteer, give it a go; it gets you out meeting new people and its very rewarding!

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Filed under What makes me happy