“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” - Barack Obama
In 2016 I was diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Depression is something I have always struggled with and when I get low, I always come back to the same feelings of worthlessness, of being a burden to the people around me, and the shame that I am not strong enough to ward off these thoughts.
Some days are really bad, and I’m incapable of performing basic tasks and looking after myself. But once that has lifted a little, my Join The Circle sessions can really make a difference to shifting those negative thought patterns.
I’m sharing this with you because if you’re in a similar position, or even if you just want more of what is listed below, I want you to see how helping other people – in this instance by running Join The Circle sessions - can really help your mindset and get you through the hard times.
1. Something bigger than me.
I find the idea of things that are bigger than me quite comforting. I think it’s the idea that in the grand scheme of the universe, my problems seem very small and somehow more manageable. If I’m low, I find I’m drawn to wide open spaces, the sea, the sky, in an effort to feel small.
In terms of Join The Circle sessions, if I don’t feel able to do the session for me (because I need to earn a living, because I enjoy it), then I find strength in the idea that I’m doing it for my participants. It’s bigger than my needs.
2. Feeling I matter.
By the same logic, I know people will be disappointed if I cancel sessions. I know my participants look forward to sessions for a number of reasons and it feels good to be wanted and needed.
Knowing that whether you stay or you go matters to people goes a long way to dispelling the feelings of worthlessness.
3. A sense of belonging.
Through Join The Circle sessions, I build up rapport and relationships with my participants. We are our own little community, inside a care home community. If I do have to take time off, my participants will always ask how I am, whether I’m ok, if I went on holiday they’ll want to know what I got up to, who did I go with. This helps my participants as it keeps them in touch with the world outside of their care home and gives them a chance to nurture instead of being looked after themselves – something we all like to do from time to time. It also helps me to feel like people are looking out for me, people are interested in what I’m doing, I belong somewhere.
4. Mixed money feelings.
I’ve always had a tricky relationship with money. Money is something I need to live and something that gives me opportunities but it’s always felt kind of dirty. Like I shouldn’t be trying to make more of it. That I was being greedy for wanting more than the bare minimum needed to get by. But earning money by doing something worthwhile feels much more comfortable to me.
Throughout my life I’ve worked for several larger companies. Companies that had shareholders and faceless people ‘up top’ who forced spending cuts and sales targets. I always resented working in these positions. I felt like I all I was really doing was lining someone’s pockets who I imagined wouldn’t need the cash.
Earning a living by working in small communities, where I know what I’m doing is helping people allows me to feel ok about taking a fee. I feel like I’ve earned it.
5. It’s therapeutic.
As I said at the beginning, my mental health disorder causes me many problems. Running Join The Circle sessions on a very basic level though, gets me out of the house, and exercising in a gentle way. Something that was recommended to me countless times by various medical professionals!
Join The Circle sessions are an important part of my participant’s lives, but they are also a crucial part of mine. They help keep me connected to my community and have helped me take pride in what I do and what I bring.
If you’re looking for a way you can be a part of your community, to help others but without being out of pocket (in terms of time or money), then running Join The Circle sessions could be for you. Find out more about training on the ‘Co-ordinator Training’ page, or get in touch via my contact page and we can arrange a call to discuss how Join The Circle can make your life more fulfilling.