Laura tells her story of why she became a volunteer.
My name is Laura. I'm 20 and a volunteer. I am currently volunteering with MindWise, under the Together For You project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund. I decided to be a volunteer as I wanted help other people. I've suffered from mental illness myself so I understand how important it is to have someone ask ‘how you are?’ and be there for you.
Just over three years ago my Granny's died, and I started suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). At that stage, after her death I also went through depression. In a day, just getting up in the morning became a huge task. It was a lot for a teenager to handle. I became pretty much housebound by my OCD at a time and it was then I decided to go to the doctor and get help.
After a year of Cogitative Behavioural Therapy (CBT), I'm now in recovery. I am the founder of OCD NI and help OCD sufferers every day. I really enjoy helping others and believe that I can be there for them from my own personal experience. I remember feeling so alone with my condition despite being surrounded with people. That's why I decided to become a volunteer, so I could be there for others so they didn't feel alone.
I am now in the lucky position to be pretty much free from my mental health problems, but others aren't, so I want to be there for them. If in a day I can make someone smile or laugh, then that makes me happy too. I know how much those small things can mean. I've found volunteering to be positive for my mental health too. I enjoy meeting the people who go to MindWise; I feel extremely comfortable and feel understood around them. I love volunteering, and leave every day with a big smile on my face from the laughs I've shared with the people at MindWise.
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