Earlier, I posted about how I wasn’t sure if I could stay at the clubhouse because I got the impression that someone was impatient with me. Some people on a forum and a commenter here encouraged me to stick with it. The people on the forum said that dealing with people who give discouraging responses is a good life skill to have and that I need to build resilience. I’ll keep going, and I’ll work on those skills.
I went to the orientation at the mental health clubhouse. I got the impression that one of the staff members was irritated with me, and I had trouble using the computer for my tasks, so I got too anxious to continue. I said, “I’m not feeling well, so I’d better go. I’m sorry.” I’m not sure if I can do this.
If I can’t do the Evergreen Club, the volunteer coordinator at the First Call for Help hotline won’t give me the position, so I’d lose two things in one.
To make things worse, there have been a lot of complications with getting my internet modem, and I’ve dealt with some really harsh customer service people. They’re also telling me contradictory things, which is confusing and stressful. I really needed my therapy appointment today, but I took a different bus than usual because I was coming from my mom’s place and missed my stop by accident. Now my therapist is unhappy with me, too. I have a lot of problems piling up on me, and I’m not keeping it together very well. It feels like a ton of people have turned against me.
The volunteer coordinator from the mental health hotline emailed my therapist to say that he was impressed at our meeting and looks forward to future conversations with me. That surprised me, since he told me he wants me to work on some things before volunteering there.
I find his email encouraging and am even more determined to get that position. My therapist referred me to a clubhouse for people with mental illness where I can practice my social skills and simple tasks. After a few months of doing that, she’s willing to help me get into the peer counseling training program. I look forward to it.
DVR, which helps people with disabilities find jobs, didn’t send me the paperwork I needed to get started. Also, they didn’t call me back after I called to reschedule my first appointment. I was irritated with them, but I called them today to ask for the paperwork and make a new appointment. The receptionist said that they’re only working with the most significantly disabled people right now due to budget cuts, so she’s not sure if they can work with me. I remember how difficult is was to deal with being scrutinized about my ability level when working on my Social Security case, and now I’ll deal with the same feelings with another organization. I hope that they’re willing to work with me and give me some advice about how to become a mental health therapist.
The volunteer coordinator from the mental health hotline I applied to wants me to do a peer counseling training first because he said that he doesn’t have time to teach me all of the skills I’ll need. The website for the peer training says that they mostly train people who will become official peer counselors at Medicaid billable agencies. I’m not sure if they’d be willing to train someone who just wants to volunteer right now. After days of stressing about it, I called the peer counseling training assistant to ask, and I haven’t heard back. I’m not sure what to do if she doesn’t call me. I’ll ask my therapist for advice if I haven’t heard from the peer counseling person by the time I’m at my appointment.
Trying to get into volunteering/career stuff is stressing me out. However, if it doesn’t work out with DVR, or I don’t get the hotline volunteer job, I’m hopeful that I’ll find other ways to contribute to society.
On Friday, I met with volunteer coordinator from a mental health hotline. One of the things that he wants me to do before volunteering is to get peer counseling training. He thinks that I’ll be ready in a few months to volunteer. I looked up the training website, and it says that the training is mainly for people who want to become peer counselors working actual jobs at agencies that can bill Medicaid. It doesn’t seem like the organization would want to train someone looking to volunteer at a free hotline.
Also, they want trainees to be “well grounded in their recovery for at least a year.” I feel that my recovery process is just starting. Even if they’re open to training someone who has unconventional reasons to do it, I’d need to wait for a long time to do it. I’m afraid to talk to him about this. He said that he wants me to do the training because he doesn’t have time to teach me all of the skills that I need to know, which shows me that he doesn’t have much patience.
It would really hurt me if I talked to him and he got impatient with me. I’m also afraid that if I talk to the agency, they’ll be angry that I’m asking for training just to volunteer. I’m not sure whether to talk to the volunteer coordinator or the organization first. I’m so anxious about this that I admit I’m tempted to give up. I’ll ask my therapist for guidance when I see her this upcoming Friday.
John told me that he wants me to do a couple of things before starting this volunteer position. He wants me to participate in the Evergreen Club for three months, going as often as I can. The Evergreen Club is a clubhouse for people with mental illness where they can work on tasks, such as serving lunch, running a cash register, or writing a newsletter. The other thing he wants me to do is to do a peer counselor training program through my state’s department of social and health services (this will be in addition to the training from the volunteer site).
While I’m at the Evergreen Club, he wants me to watch out for people who need help and to help those people.
He appreciates the work I’ve done on my blog and Ask Metafilter trying to contribute to the mental health field, but he’s concerned that I don’t have enough experience interacting with people directly or taking care of responsibilities to be a helpline volunteer yet. He’s the expert, so I trust what he says about me not being ready for the position. Fortunately, he’s willing to re-evaluate after I complete these two things.
I’ll occasionally call him briefly with an update so that he knows that I’m taking this seriously and will follow through. I’ll take notes on incidents of helping people, their reactions, etc. so that I’ll have concrete proof of my progress. In addition, I’ll do research on community resources and mental health and add that to my portfolio. I’d like to go beyond the goals that he set for me to show my commitment to the mental health field and get even more ideas for how to help people.
He wants me to learn more about how to read peoples’ boundaries and how to protect my own. He’s concerned that at this point, I won’t be able to deal with abusive callers. I’ve had issues before with either being too passive and letting people trample me or lashing out at people who have been mean to me, so that could be a problem. I’m determined to learn how to deal with mean behavior in a way that respects both myself and the other person in part so that I can be effective at this role.
The feedback was difficult to hear, but I accept it and will do the work to build a skill-set for the job. I’ll ask my therapist to refer me to the Evergreen Club on Friday, when I see her next.
I didn’t see the volunteer coordinator for the mental health hotline at our meeting place yesterday and couldn’t get a hold him. I felt hopeless, disappointed, and frustrated. Today, when I was calmer, I tried to get a hold of him again. He said that he was called in to work all night and he was so exhausted that he couldn’t deal with it. I understood that he had a lot going on. We made plans again to meet, this time on Friday. I hope that we’re able to meet this time. I really want this position.