The flame inside of me that never dies…

I really was in a dark place

Yet, despite this hugely challenging period, looking back I can honestly say that I never once lost hope. I came close, believe me I came close, but I still somehow managed to keep that distant flame flickering inside of me… I don’t know how I did it, but I did it, and I can now say with all sincerity, that ‘hope really does spring eternal’! After having heard positive feedback about the Involvement Centre through conversations with Sally, my then Occupational Therapist, I decided in early 2018 to finally go for it and thus I began to take my first tentative steps towards finding out a little more about this ‘volunteering lark’…

After a somewhat unsure start (which I fully expected), I can now say with my hand on my heart, that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made! Honestly and truly, I feel like a different person to the one which first walked through those automatic sliding doors at Duncan Macmillan House. Becoming a volunteer has shaped my life in unimaginable ways! I now have a purpose to rise in a morning, a framework to harness my day and above all, the indescribable feeling that I am, finally, moving my life in a positive direction! Over the course of the past year and a half, I have progressed from struggling to attend fortnightly volunteer meetings, to sitting on Integrated Care System task groups, co-producing a module on OCD at the Trust’s Recovery College, and all together feeling like a valued and worthwhile individual.

Being transformed to a good place

I really can’t speak highly enough of the support which I have received from the staff at the Involvement Centre; never before have I encountered an environment where one truly can be oneself, be it on a good day or otherwise. Words do not describe how empowering it is to be in such a place –transforming, is perhaps a word which goes some way to capturing how I feel.

As to my next step… I will let time be the judge of that. However, in the context of where I was not so long ago, I now can say with complete honesty, that I really am in a ‘good place’.

To the fabulous team at the Involvement Centre (special mentions must go to Lyndsy and Laura); to my amazing fellow volunteers; and finally to Nottinghamshire NHS Healthcare Foundation Trust – I really can’t thank you all enough.

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