I really love Hannah of Ponderous Pieces and have followed her across several blogs for a number of years (where does the time go?). I’m particularly a fan of her book reviews. We’ve not met in the flesh yet but you know when you start following someone and they’re in your news feeds every day and you end up feeling like you really know them? That.
Hannah is definitely one to follow so I hope you do. Enjoy this post and then show her some love! ❤
For nearly a year now I have been volunteering for Childline, so I thought, what better subject to write about for Christa as the first anniversary approaches of something that has changed my life.
When I initially applied I was living in Aberdeen, having moved there from Glasgow for – as always – a boy. I found being in Aberdeen very difficult; I was a three hour train journey away from my friends and it took me ages to find even a part time job. I wasn’t adjusting very well to my support network being so far away and to having nothing to do but shuffle about a flat that was a tad “in the sticks” all day.
I am not somebody who does very well having too much time on my hands. I suffer from anxiety, so give me enough space and time and I will string myself up into a quivering mess with worry and stress. I also, as the Dr put it, have” touches of depression” so endless time to stare and churn over dark thoughts is to be avoided at all costs.
So, I was feeling miserable, lonely and without having much in the way of employment, didn’t feel like I had much to contribute – to the world. At all.
I felt under my BF’s feet and didn’t know how to adapt to my new situation. While he was taking everything in his stride and striving, I felt like I was curling up at the sides. It didn’t take long for the darkness to start creeping in at the edges, chewing up any self-esteem I had. Hours would go by and I hadn’t moved from whichever spot my BF had left me in that morning, I hadn’t washed and I’m not convinced I always remembered to blink. I couldn’t face going outside. I’d spend all day like a housebound dog waiting for him to come home, literally sat at the window from about 4pm waiting for his car to turn into the driveway. The relief everyday when I saw that black Peugeot was heavenly.
My anxiety was getting pretty bad, not the worse its been, but getting there. I would get the shakes just thinking about having to walk the 4 minutes to the Spar. I got into this vicious circle where I believed the only good thing I could bring to the relationship was the certainty of milk in the fridge, but because I was feeling so slow and meaningless, going to the Spar became something I almost couldn’t face. All I had to do was buy a pint of milk – I couldn’t even get that right.
I needed to pull myself out of my slump, I was keeping how I felt a secret from my BF, depriving him of the chance of helping me. A stupid decision, and yes, I got out of it, but with hindsight I should have said something. I decided I needed something to fill my days, having so much empty time was giving my mind too much roaming space, too many gnarly horrible logs to look under. It needs a tighter leash. So I signed up for an OU introductory course in counselling. It was all theory based – lots of reading and researching – exactly what I needed! I found it really interesting and not only did it cement in me that counselling was an avenue I wanted to pursue, it also helped me step back from my own thoughts and view everything I was feeling more logically.
One day when I was job hunting, a cheery, engaging and very green Childline advert popped up looking for volunteer counsellors. It was the enthusiastic, daring shove I was looking for. It promised the outlet I needed, the distraction I wanted, and the vindication I craved. The interview was the hardest I have ever endured, but I was OVER THE MOON when I got a call telling me I had been accepted.
But, things then went pretty wrong again and having accepted the place I found myself having to move back to Glasgow. Out of the blue, My BF ended our relationship and it felt like I had been hit by a train. Just as I thought my life was taking the right turn it was smashed into a million pieces. So, I was back to staring, back to thinking, crying until I was sick, back to feeling nothing and like no-one. I resisted and resisted getting my Childline application transferred to the Glasgow office – this, for me, would be finally admitting that everything was over with my BF and I really, really didn’t want to do that. Every time the woman from the Glasgow office called me about it I had another excuse, then another. If I moved my application then I was DEFINITELY going back to Glasgow, and it was definitely, definitely all over.
During that time, I spent most of my time up in bed, I stopped working and festered with my broken heart. But I was saved by a man, no, many men, in wigs. Surrounded by decimated tissues I binge watched Ru-Paul’s Drag Race – and never have I found refuge and peace in such a bizarre place before! It’s pomp and colour, its glamour and irreverence was the exact opposite of what I was feeling – I was a stinking, blotchy, sweaty sack of shit. But it turned out to be exactly what I needed! I found the whole thing so uplifting and beautiful that it managed to shake me out of my trance. I saw life again as some daft, silly romp full of chances for fun and that I could just fucking get through it on my own. I was going to get my head up, hit that runway and sissy my walk.
Before I got to the end of season 4 I was phoning the Glasgow NSPCC office to confirm a training spot and it was honestly the best decision I’ve ever made.
Whenever I have dark pukey moments now I have something to immediately counteract them- something I did all by myself, something that scares me each week but that I still do. I feel appreciated – when do you really feel that way at work? – and I like that I have this lovely, giving thing in my life. Hearing a young person laughing at some goofy joke you’ve made, having been in floods of tears half an hour earlier is glorious. Or just having them go “huh! I didn’t know that, that’s cool! I feel so much better” is THE BEST thing. Since last October I can honestly say that I like the person that I am now and that I deserve good things to happen to me. I never, EVER thought I would feel that way.
I have met wonderful people that make me howl with laughter, enrich my soul and make getting up at 4.30am on a Saturday morning so very worth it. It’s nearly my one year anniversary and its the charities 30th this year – I thank the world for its existence every day – it has done as much for me as it does for young people 24 hours a day.
I have recently been offered a full time job there, obviously I bit their hand off, but I was asked: “are you going to carry on volunteering as well?”
– for the second time in my life, the decision was blissfully easy.