voluntary work

I've just applied for a volunteer post and on a voluntary website and put I have a sensory disability, maybe I should have put physical with my ankles being bad but just feels good to put something more than the usual- going into things like I have no problems.. Accepting I have problems that will set me back a bit feels good, although slightly nerve-racking. Guilt? Not sure...

11 Replies

  • Hi aqua and congratulations for making what is a big move.

    My guess is that you've not met with anyone from this organisation yet.

    Being able to accept that you have problems and putting anything on paper alerts the organisation and it is something you can talk about when you meet.

    Love n hugs


  • Thanks- I volunteered at a charity shop last year but felt I'd prefer to be doing more to help people. They weren't aware I had any problems as I am used to keeping quiet about stuff, you know not wanting to make a fuss about what people say is 'nothing'. ('You're lucky, you recovered really well')... After 7 months, I felt I was doing too much and getting relied upon more than I was comfortable with. I've only just felt ok explaining problems I have, hope it helps me move forward in life as I've reached a stage I don't know which direction to go in.

    When I mentioned I had been in a coma due to an RTA 20 years ago, man in Job Centre said 'well we've all had accidents' and actually laughed at me!!!

  • Have you considered reporting the man in the Job Centre? Surely his behaviour is unacceptable.

    Love n hugs


  • Ha could do, it was more of a laugh as if to say 'we hear excuses all the time, we've all had accidents' as if he didn't actually listen to what my accident was... I'd never complain, karma and all that. I'm sure he didn't mean it offensively, I just took it really badly and got upset. I'm prepared now to face him anyway- I have an appointment coming up soon so will explain it more clearly, you can't expect people in that profession to be caring :)

    Thanks a lot for the support!

  • I have been to my local Headway centre today and they gave me a card and also said the man in the job centre's reaction was not right and I should complain. I think maybe I will, I might see him next week at my next appointment.

  • Good on you, hope they're understanding but not underestimating of your "disability". I've volunteered quite a bit over recent years as it's supposed to be my 'way into work' having had a TBI 16+ years ago and being totally clueless about what I'm supposed to be doing, whether the effort will amount to anything substantial long-term? etc. NHS have been not much help, there are some great health professionals but they can only do so much and take you so far, they only see me for a few days of the year and can't possibly appreciate my issues entirely.

    But the brain injury charity I was passed onto have been more than helpful, simply going there and being understood was my way of understanding myself better. Through them, I began to volunteer and found it rewarding, just doing something useful, that I feel there's always a purpose and value to living and working even if you don't get paid for it. I now volunteer on a regular basis for a stroke charity for over a year as they often have voluntary posts in their offices or community groups. On my application I decided not to put that I have a disability even though they knew what happened to me, because I figure it could be used against me and will be used to form some opinion about me personally and what I'm capable of doing. But I agree, in a perfect world, we should be able to be completely honest about ourselves and be understood/supported in our roles, but I'll say that it's liberating to be able to show yourself truthfully and hey if they don't like it move on, being a volunteer gives you that power.

  • It definitely is good to give your time and for me, working in the shop really brought back some of my confidence, working on a till, handling money and the public. I used to feel worried about telling employers about my head injury as that would have affected my work in promotion. I was self-employed for a bit and then that became too stressful. I actually never told anyone I'd had a head injury as I felt guilty. Like when I told the man at the job centre last year that I had had a head injury, it was only to explain the massive gaps in my CV (I've done many practical courses and dropped out of others). I wanted to die when he laughed!!! I felt like everything around me faded into greyness and I was sitting there so tense like I'd made the biggest mistake in the world. Why did he do that? I feel like complaining now- I'd forgotten all about it!!!

    I started voluntary to get back into work when I realised the promo was too stressful and I wasn't coping well with it. I worked in a shopmobility hiring out mobility scooters for people that couldn't or didn't want to walk- that was fun!

  • I've got massive gaps in my CV too, actually I've never made a CV, I figure there's no point, the only thing I could put down would be my education and qualifications, which are quite good, but I've virtually no employment history only voluntary work, that's what a TBI in your adolescence does mine was a frontal lobe injury too, so it affected my personality (less cheery/less outgoing), behaviour (became more depressive/withdrawn), motivation/initiative, planning and thinking about the future amongst other things so I tend to live on a day-to-day basis and that means I see the trees instead of the forest or don't have a grander plan. Nobody seems to grasp this subtle effect of my TBI except me, because I'm otherwise high-functioning and appear normal on the surface.

    Sorry you had such an awful experience, I've never been but I don't get a good impression of the sort of people the job centre employs as advisors. You did nothing wrong, never feel guilty for something that happened that you couldn't control!

  • Thanks for your kind words. I feel much stronger for next time I go and will be ready to stand my ground!

    My CV seems pointless so I think I will visit a Headway centre near me and try to get involved there.

  • If I were you, I would get some of Headway's leaflets, The effects of Brain Injury, Communication Problems, Redeveloping Skills, Managing Fatigue after Brain Injury. These are just a few, then take them to give personally to the chap from the Job Centre who laughed at you

  • Thanks- I feel much stronger for next time I go and will be ready to stand my ground!

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