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to not be sure what hobbies I want?

(20 Posts)
APieOfButter Wed 06-Jul-11 11:56:09

OK. What I actually want to do is have a paid job, but I suffer from a sometimes very severe mental illness, meaning that any employer would get very annoyed very quickly at my erratic behaviour and time off. I won't go into the details, but the relevant ones are that sometimes I find it hard to judge what is an appropiate amount of time and effort to put into things. While I can sometimes be very very productive, often I take it too far and cause problems and become ill. However, I sometimes get very depressed too - I need a steady amount of activity and a rigid routine.

I would really like to "give something back", but I'm not sure how. I can't do anything where people are relying on me, as I would have too much time off, but ideally it would be something quite structured. Most of the time you wouldn't know I was ill, but anyone who saw me regulary would most probably notice, and sometimes I do embarrasing things, so I would need a suppirtive environment where I wouldn't be judged for being a bit mental sometimes.

Hobbies wise, I do a basic cooking class, which, while it is a bit below my skill level in itself, is enough of a challenge on bad days, as it involves going out, catching an irregular bus, getting there on time, sitting still and listening for two hours and interacting with other people. So you can see my difficulties.

However, I am actually quite clever (not like I want to blow my own trumpet, but I was heading for a 1st at uni in English and Social Policy, so basic literacy etc aren't really relevant) and I would be capable of a light workload of challenging work, if that makes sense.

I enjoy gardening, but I know nothing about it. Same with crafts - I tend to just make it up as I go along. I'm a member of the Labour Party, Fawcett (a feminist organisation) and the Fabian Society (a lefty organisation), and have pretty much the political values that they represent (I have a few problems with Labour, but mostly). I would quite like to volunteer doing some kind of mentoring or advice as I live in quite a deprived area, but again there is a risk I would become too involved or let people down.

I have a 4yo and 1yo, who attend nursery part time. DH works part time and my ILs live nearby and are very supportive. I don't (can't) drive, but do have a bus pass.

I really, really don't want to sit at home twiddling my thumbs, and in fact it would be awful for my health. There really must be a way I could be helpful, but I'm not sure what. I keep asking if there are any schemes or anything, but they are either for people who are so ill that they need a day centre, or for people with an aim to get back to work soon - I've been told to forget that for at least a couple of years sad

So...ideas? Hobbies, volunteering, activism or anything. As long as it gets me out of the house, has a regular routine and not too much responsibility, but ideally is a bit challenging and interesting.

I live in a small town which is between Sunderland and Newcastle.

Sorry for the rant. blush

mumblechum1 Wed 06-Jul-11 12:03:56

Have a look at Do It. Org. It's a website which advertises all the voluntary vacancies in your area and will be split into sections like work with the elderly, children, animals, environment, etc etc.

You've been very open about your problems, so I'll be open about my feeling that you may be better not doing mentoring/advice type work as it can be very draining. I work on a voluntary basis for Barnardos and am a professional advisor (family lawyer) in my day job but even I find the mentoring/advisory work for Barnardos a strain. You may be better off doing somethign like working in a hospice, chatting to people but also doing practical things like helping in the kitchen?

Do you like music? I'm in a community choir and that 1.5 hours per week is the highlight of my week, Iforget about everything else.

Good luck.

APieOfButter Wed 06-Jul-11 12:14:49

Thanks smile Honesty is good. Better for someone to point out a problem now than for me to start doing something and fail/get ill.

Should also point out that some places might be a bit funny about the fact that I have previously had psychosis (ie I heard voices), although I haven't had that for years now, and even when I did I was never a risk for anyone else. I have had temporary sections for my own safety in the past though. Still, it did once come up as an "advisory note" on a CRB, and even though the note said that I was never dangerous, they thought it relevant (I suppose in case i was trying to apply for work where I had to have complete awareness at all times, and that CRB was during the time when i was still on medication for that problem, which I'm not now, and there has been suggestion of any psychosis for years). Still, it could very well affect any job where i had to be checked, even though I am perfectly happy for people to speak to my medical staff who will confirm that I am no risk.

GoEasyPudding Wed 06-Jul-11 13:25:41

How about those one off projects like planting trees.
Do it org could help you track something like that down or the National Trust.
It would be one day of hard graft and then no commitment.
Litter picks are quite the community thing in my town. You could set a date, put up posters and see who turns up. to help you.

I admire you wanting to give something back but you can also have a hobby just for yourself for those times when theres nothing doing project wise.

Good luck though!

KatieWatie Wed 06-Jul-11 13:39:39

I second the one-off environmental projects idea.

Are you musical? Would you enjoy the challenge of learning a new instrument with a view to joining a group? For instance I am teaching myself trumpet on a cheap Argos one so I can hopefully join a brass band/sally army type thing once I'm good enough.

I don't know what your religious leanings are but you could look into Humanism, I believe they do charity and environmental type work. Although I guess you would have the danger of getting too involved.

Good luck with your new pursuit/s smile

northerngirl41 Wed 06-Jul-11 13:56:01

I'm thinking something structured and focused would be really good for you - but which you could drop back on if you find yourself ill without letting people down.

So something like for example you could design/make cards or crafts and sell them on behalf of your favourite chairty? Or maybe it's something like organising a poetry competition to use your English degree for others who suffer from the same illness?

fernier Wed 06-Jul-11 13:59:36

When I was recovering from depression and anxiety I got into my history main reason being that on bad days I can sit in and do research online on good days I can go out and visit places even have a weekend away if it's further afield to get photos of graves and houses and goodies like that.

fernier Wed 06-Jul-11 14:00:14

That should be family history smile

Omigawd Wed 06-Jul-11 16:06:17

You sound like most Famous Authors, and quite a few Important Businesspeople Ihave known too :-)

(Oh look- an Oxford comma)

IndigoBell Wed 06-Jul-11 16:41:09

Could you volunteer in a school to listen to children read?

Could you work in a charity shop?

I second learning a musical instrument.

Could you create a website? Educating people about MH issues?

DorisIsAPinkDragon Wed 06-Jul-11 17:08:05

maybe become involved with an animal charity, we have a donkey sanctury near us that would like helpers. they animals are gpoing to worry to much if you're having an off day they might even help!

DorisIsAPinkDragon Wed 06-Jul-11 17:08:58

aren't going

valiumredhead Wed 06-Jul-11 17:10:13

What about learning a musical instrument? I have just started learning the piano - my God it's a challenge but I love it!

valiumredhead Wed 06-Jul-11 17:11:12

With regards to 'giving something back' - I wouldn;t focus too much on that, just enjoy a new hobby and see where it takes you smile

UsingMainlySpoons Wed 06-Jul-11 17:17:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

doinmummy Wed 06-Jul-11 18:26:14

How about an allottment?

AlpinePony Wed 06-Jul-11 18:43:22

Animals are very forgiving. X

JamieAgain Wed 06-Jul-11 18:52:19

I'd say listening to children read as well. And it would have the added bonus of getting to know older children (who are great IME). Children are just very rewarding and fun to be with.

I third the website - I used it to find a voluntary job with a Large Charity which was incredibly supportive to me (I've suffered fro, depression)

Do some exercise - I do tap classes and love it

I would say - think first and foremost about doing something you will enjoy, but for an organisation that needs your help, if you want to "give something back". Volunteering does not have to be about face to face contact with people. in a helping role

APieOfButter Wed 06-Jul-11 23:16:59

Omigawd - oh yes, bipolar is the new trendy illness, aparently.

Doesn't feel very trendy from where I'm sitting.

Still, William Blake, Vincent Van Gogh and Stephen Fry can't be too bad as fellow sufferers, eh? grin

Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll look into them all, and as soon as Ive stabilised a bit from this latest relapse, Ill get in touch with people. In fact, this thread has reminded me about the MP, I wonder if she wants an occaisionally mental volunteer? My cpn was going on about advocacy type work, although Id need to be a lot better before I can do that.

feedmecake Wed 06-Jul-11 23:33:01

You could maybe look for charities that need trustees and see if you can volunteer...
I experienced psychosis a few years ago and after the fantastic support I got when in recovery, decided I wanted to give something back to others in a similar situation. Turned out there was a local charity supporting people recovering from the illness that was offering peer to peer support. Didn't fancy supporting people face to face myself but asked if there was anything else I could do, and they said they needed trustees. Been doing it once a month for six months now. Met some great people and have been able to make a differnce by helping to lead and run the organisation. It's really interesting stuff and would thoroughly recommend it. They'll also understand your illness and will be supportive if you get ill again.

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