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To ask you what you'd do

(35 Posts)
TreatMeLike Wed 03-Apr-19 14:24:07

Not so much AIBU but advice much appreciated. Regular poster, NC for dignity privacy.

I was agoraphobic for...15 years. Social anxiety too. Lots of childhood trauma.

But I'm getting better! Very happy marriage, no DC. All my time is free time. No responsibilities. No money worries.

I appreciate all my privileges, but mentally I feel trapped with no meaning to my life whatsoever. There's no reason to get up. I force myself and keep busy by walking, cooking, bit of writing, etc. I have no family and 2 friends who live miles away. I've become so isolated and alone and I'm only in my 30s.

I need a life. I want a life. I don't know where to begin. My CBT therapist says she can't give me the answers, I need to work it out myself. My confidence and self esteem are really good at the moment. So.

I'm thinking of: fostering dogs, volunteering, part time work, joining a group. But where do I start?

There are so many strong, confident, capable women on here and I'd really appreciate any advice. I've worked incredibly hard to be, say, half recovered, I'm ready to get out there. I know full recovery means I need to engage and take on responsibility.

What would you start with? Sorry if this is super boring. Feel free to let the thread fall and die....

Wolfiefan Wed 03-Apr-19 14:26:07

Nope sorry. Not going to let it die!!!!
What do you enjoy or feel passionate about? I volunteered with the Cinnamon Trust and also a local animal shelter.
Tomorrow I’m being really brave and trying a local book club. Wish me luck. blush

Sirzy Wed 03-Apr-19 14:26:54

As you have mentioned volunteering and fostering dogs you could volunteer for a dogs trust type charity? So your getting out and about and working with dogs?

Are you in a position where what you have been through could be used so you can help others and volunteer for a mental health based charity?

Good luck whatever you find.

Drum2018 Wed 03-Apr-19 14:28:09

Look up volunteering opportunities in your area - be it in charity shops, local hospice attending to visitors, local animal shelter.

Chocolateisfab Wed 03-Apr-19 14:29:02

An acquaintance of mine volunteers at a dog rescue one day a week. He has come on leaps and bounds - not just a ddog thing!! He has gained a new life imo!

bridgetreilly Wed 03-Apr-19 14:30:48

Try something. It doesn't have to be the right thing the first time. But until you start and give things a go, you won't ever find the right thing.

OldAndWornOut Wed 03-Apr-19 14:36:48

You could introduce something completely different and volunteer as a 'special' with the police.
Pop into an elderly care home and ask if you can spend some time there.
They're desperately short of time to spend with the residents.

homemadegin Wed 03-Apr-19 14:39:04

If it was me I would get a dog of my own. I wouldn't cope well with fostering as I would want to keep them all. Then volunteer at a rescue centre as well, which would then result in more dogs coming home.....

Book club.

Which country are you in? If Scotland the children's panel are always needing volunteers.

TreatMeLike Wed 03-Apr-19 14:40:56

@Wolfiefan that's really brave! What book will you be discussing? And will there be wine/gin?! grin

My interests, rather sabotagingly, are quite isolating ones like cooking, writing, reading. Love animals though.

I used to be a copywriter and editor, but I've been out of the industry so long I don't want to start at the bottom again, and want to do something with meaning. I'd really like to help others, in some way.

Despite my anxiety I like people and I can get on with anyone. I'm very friendly, affable, it's just the idea of being - I think - tied that is the barrier I can't get over.

I'm worried that if I tie myself into volunteering even 1 day a week, will I be able to cope? What if I'm ill, or having a really bad MH day? I think my cycle is 'I better not, just in case'. Then I feel relieved temporarily, but then the feel pathetic and empty in the long run.

I know the logic of it, I know it's unreasonable.

Why won't my brain work! Someone give me a kick.

And thank you so much for the replies. Really.

homemadegin Wed 03-Apr-19 14:45:55

@TreatMeLike thanks. I think you give it a go. Start flexible. Approach for example a animal rescue. Ask if it would be possible to do an afternoon a fortnight. Does it have to be a set day?

I think you are right re a cycle, but it might help that next stage. So if you enjoy it you will go because you have that sense of being needed and trusted. Then you feel better for going.

That's why a dog helped me. I had to walk her even if I didn't feel up to it, etc.

JenniferJareau Wed 03-Apr-19 14:49:09 You can join local groups of people who share the same interests / hobbies and you get to meet lots of new people. It's what I did to get a new social circle and it worked.

SeaToSki Wed 03-Apr-19 14:53:45

Why dont you set yourself a goal of trying 4 new things in the next 8 months or whatever. That way you might find it easier to give something a go as you are acknowledging up front that you might not pick the best option first and you are not going to keepdoing something if it doesnt work for you.

SeaToSki Wed 03-Apr-19 14:56:28

Sorry posted too soon. Also if you do volunteer, just start with once a week, that way you can build up if you like it, but if it makes you anxious and you cant go one week, its not too big a deal for the organization (similar to if you had a cold etc). You could try a couple of different things at the same time that way.. if you wanted to

WeirdCatLady Wed 03-Apr-19 14:58:59

OP, have you considered studying? The Open University has a multitude of fab courses to try.

TreatMeLike Wed 03-Apr-19 14:59:49

@JenniferJareau I've had a good look of in my area but always wimp out of going to any, figuring those are for normal people, not broken ones like me!

@homemadegin that's a good idea RE maybe once a fortnight, ease myself in so I can see I can do it. Thank you.

@SeaToSki oh that's such a good idea. I could make a list of things and then choose maybe 4 to try. That's not only immensely practical, it appeals to the list-maker in me!

TreatMeLike Wed 03-Apr-19 15:02:06

@WeirdCatLady great suggestion, I do have a degree but I was thinking about an MA. I think studying is something I could slot in, around hopefully getting myself actually out and away from the comfort of the computer.

JenniferJareau Wed 03-Apr-19 15:09:04

@TreatMeLike I was scared to begin with too but a good host will put you at ease and make you feel welcome.

WeirdCatLady Wed 03-Apr-19 15:12:54

I recently did an MA with the OU so I can tell you it will certainly occupy your time 😂

Orchidflower1 Wed 03-Apr-19 15:19:11

We done op on facing all your challenges and wanting to continue to improve yourself.

What about a course at the local adult education centre/ library. It wouldn’t be as heavy going as an MA but would get you out of the house. My local one does 6 week floristry course/ gardening and other “hobby” type courses. It may be the nice balance of commiting to something without tying yourself in long term.

Chocolateisfab Wed 03-Apr-19 15:19:28

How about sign up for borrowmydog?
I have some lovely dogs if you are near me?!

TreatMeLike Wed 03-Apr-19 15:23:23

@Orchidflower1 I hadn't thought of that, I'll have a Google now, thank you.

@Chocolateisfab anywhere near the Midlands? grin

I'm genuinely writing every suggestion down, and taking it all on board so thank you.

Orchidflower1 Wed 03-Apr-19 15:29:12

You’re welcome op.

Onepuddingisneverenough Wed 03-Apr-19 15:35:08

Borrow my doggy is great
We have a lady that we were put in touch with through the site that walks our dog. She is now a friend. We go for coffee occasionally and text a lot. It’s a great place to start
Re local groups - you say you enjoy cooking and writing? I’ll bet there are local groups who meet to discuss books, or share text they’ve written or cookery clssdes? I’d start by finding something you like doing, join a local group . You’ll already have things in common
Good luck xx

Ariela Wed 03-Apr-19 15:40:34

Also along the animal theme, I know in many areas the RDA is desperate for people to help with the riders as well as the horses.

recrudescence Wed 03-Apr-19 15:46:16

What about actually getting a dog?

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