Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Help myself by helping others

So, like I said - it's up to you to help yourself out of a depression. Whether you do it by asking your friends for help, going to a counselor, changing your diet and exercise routine, or adjusting your medication - it all starts with you. No one else can make the decision that you're going to help yourself.

During my whole deep-depression, a fabulous friend suggested that one way to help myself was to help others. Get involved; volunteer.

I thought about it. Then I thought about it some more. The more I thought - the more sense it made. What I need is a distraction; something to take my mind off of how sad I am, and give me a new focus. I need something to keep me busy; a reason to drag myself out of bed (when work just doesn't cut it) and face the day - especially on days when that's the last thing I want to do.

Volunteering does all of those things. As an added bonus - while I'm helping myself, others will also benefit.

But where to volunteer? My friend, naturally, had a few suggestions there, too. "You'd make a good mentor," she said. Now - I don't see myself as a great role model, but she is not the first person who has said that to me. They couldn't have all just been trying to be nice (right?!), so I started thinking that maybe it makes sense. I contacted Big Brothers, Big Sisters - and had an interview and orientation last week. That doesn't guarantee I'll be a match - but I'm excited at the possibility.

[SN: They really need volunteers right now - Littles are on a waiting list. Just sayin'...]

I also contacted a couple of other organizations - Girls Inc. and Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. Both have some very interesting volunteer opportunities. I've been through the required training at Planned Parenthood and start on my first volunteer assignment in a couple weeks. I'll be interviewing with Girls Inc. later this week.

Why these organizations? My time is precious...even when I'm trying to fill it up any way I can. I want to be very careful about donating time (and money) to organizations that support causes important to me. Empowering girls, and teaching them to be strong, confident women is very important to me. So is encouraging and advocating for proper healthcare, and teaching women (and men) to make informed choices about their health.

Those things are important to me - and these are causes I can proudly stand behind. In the meantime - I'll be so busy, I won't have time to think about being sad.

That's the goal, anyway.


  1. I do it and it works - I volunteer with victims/survivors of rape - keeps me very busy - and I'm actually up for a position on the Board of Directors - which made me very HAPPY and PROUD OF MYSELF ! Good luck Sue !

    1. That's awesome news - I'm proud of you too!!! :) Thanks for the encouragement. I'm excited about this new stuff in my life.

  2. Great idea Sue! And awesome that you are benefiting others as well as yourself. You INDEED are a great role model!!!

    1. Thank you so much. That means a lot. :)

  3. I'm a Big Sister (found this blog because I was googling for BBBS stories :) ). I've been one for a year and half now. It sounds like our reasoning for volunteering is very similar: I have depression, too - psychological, not physiological. Meaning pills don't do squat for me, my depression stems from stuff I've lived through. (I LOVE the title of your blog, btw!) So I decided that I'd take everything bad that happened to me and use it as a way to help another girl who is going through similar stuff. Plus there is a lot of truth in helping someone else is a good way to make you feel good.

    And, after you get the relationship established, you'll find that sometimes being around your Little cheers YOU up. It takes time, but it's so worth it. :)

    Good luck!!

    1. Heather - Thank you so much for your comment! I'm glad you found the post, that's very encouraging. I'm hoping I can be matched with a Little. If not, I'll fill a lot of time with the other organizations. It definitely sounds very worth it. :)