Twelve years ago I was diagnosed with depression and a number of serious mental health conditions. At the onset of my illness life was pretty bleak – all I did was eat, sleep and watch television. I lacked motivation to do anything and didn’t see the point of getting up in the mornings. My lack of exercise and overeating resulted in me gaining weight, which caused me further mental distress.
It took a while, but over time my care manager helped me to regain my motivation and got me involved in some activities and groups. I started voluntary work and visited a weekly sports group which helped me to lose weight and build confidence. When Sport in Mind was formed I joined their groups as a service user and after six months I was really proud to become a volunteer. This made me feel so special and gave me a sense of responsibility as I knew others would be relying on me – I had never been given that kind of responsibility before.
Since becoming a volunteer with Sport in Mind I have run football, badminton, cricket and table tennis sessions, helped service users attend sessions, taken part in several tournaments and been involved with the charity’s fundraising efforts. The charity has helped give my life a positive focus, gain confidence and enabled me to grow and develop my skills to help others. In addition to my voluntary work with Sport in Mind, I am now working full-time at Homebase and helping to mentor younger members of staff.
I can’t really put into words what being involved with Sport in Mind has done for me, except to say I am very proud and honoured to be a part of the charity, both as a service user and volunteer.