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Depressed and have taken too much on - how do I deal with this?

(8 Posts)
Abelia Wed 15-Jun-11 10:36:53

Last year I volunteered to take on a bigger role with a local voluntary group. It means doing a lot of ringing people, organising things, chairing meetings etc. I said I would do it, reluctantly, because no-one else would step up to it.

Since then I have been diagnosed with mild-moderate depression (owing largely to terrible bereavement a few years ago).

I don't know what to do about the volunteer position - in some ways having the push to get out of my comfort zone (I hate ringing people to ask them to do stuff!) and ensure I have social contact is good. But the burden of the work is too much. I am not pulling my weight with it all. Do I step back from it? That will leave people in the lurch. Also, I am not sure I want to tell people I am depressed (most could never tell that from meeting the public "me" ) but if I just quit that looks pretty bad.

Or do I keep doing it, to the best of my ability, given that there doesn't seem anyone else willing to do anything? And perhaps tell the regional person that this is the case, that I'm doing my best but it won't be brilliant. My gut self-preservation instinct is to quit. But I also know that long-term it is good to be involved with something. Argh!

Anyone got any thoughts as to how best to sort this out please?

allegrageller Wed 15-Jun-11 10:48:41

abelia I do understand. i have similar issues atm (not voluntary work just work!!! I took on writing a book 2 years ago and since then have hardly done anything on it sad and I'm wondering whether to tell the publishers it'll never happen or break my back trying to write it now...)

I think if there's some middle ground, take it. Tell the organisation you'rre shorter of time than you thought etc (a white lie? not really. You are dealing with depression and this is time-consuming as hell). Ask for someone to share the job.

BeerTricksPotter Wed 15-Jun-11 10:51:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Abelia Wed 15-Jun-11 10:59:48

THanks for your help, it's good to know I'm not the only one. Sorry about your situation allegrageller, hard having something like that looming over you.

The trouble with asking for help is, there isn't anyone else to help out - it's really up to me to try and recruit more volunteers (hence the horrible phoning, which is a massive source of stress and something I definitely don't want to keep up). So if I walk then the (paid) office staff will be left with trying to fill the gaps. But I feel a bit cross that stepping up to something then means I get this burden put entirely onto me. Sigh.

BeerTricksPotter Wed 15-Jun-11 11:05:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Abelia Wed 15-Jun-11 20:12:29

No you are right BTP, there are people who can pick up some of the slack, however I will definitely be leaving them in the lurch. Sigh. Feel very crap about it but then there is the point that if no-one else wants to do it, why should I?

Just worried really about how to broach it and seem reasonable rather than bailing out for no apparent reason. I will see these people around locally and don't want to be badly thought of (but nor do I want everyone knowing my current mental state).

NanaNina Fri 17-Jun-11 21:01:52

As a sufferer of depression (which fluctuates) I can see only too clearly your predicament. I had my first major episode of depression in 1995 and was in hospital for 3 months. The consultant psych I had then used to tell me not to do anything that was an ordeal, which I thought good advice. I made afull recovery and was back at work a month after being discharged from hospital.

I suffered another major episode of depression last Easter (again hospitalised for 3 months) but this time the consultant psych was of a very different mind, and seemed to be wanting to get me out of hospital as soon as he could. I also had a very nice CPN who was of the mind that I should get out and about and do things to distract myself (people who haven't had depression don't understand that it isn't always possible to distract yourself) and would have been very much in favour of a volunteer role like yours. This time I have still not yet made a complete recovery - suffering blips (as the medics call them) around every 3 or 4 weeks which last around 7 days and then I am really down and can't put on a face.

I am not trying to suggest that I haven't made a complete recovery this time because of different advice from the first time (I am now of course 16 years older for a start) SO back to you - my inclination is to say give up the role, as it seems to be playing on your mind as too much of an ordeal and you seem to have been dragooned into in the first place. That doesn't mean that you can't do other things, but maybe things that are less stressful, as stress as I'm sure you know, plays a big part in depression.

Good luck whatever you decide and sending good wishes.

WhoWhoWhoWho Fri 17-Jun-11 21:10:00

I do voluntary work and at the beginning of this year I felt I couldn't cope with what I had on my plate, the voluntary work was put on hold. Fortunately the organisation I volunteer for is a charity supporting people in all kinds of situations (and known for their good reputation in terms of confidentiality) so they could not have been more understanding and supportive. I was put on 'resting' status and have just started back up again with my volunteering.

At the end of the day you have to put yourself and your immediate family first and if you feel you have too much on your plate you need to pare back to minimum for the time being.

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