Want to volunteer but afraid to jump in am I healthy enough??

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by zenouchy, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. zenouchy

    zenouchy Member

    Hi All,

    Thank you for reading my post. I am just feeling such confusion about my health, lack thereof, or whatever it is because it changes so much! As I know you can all relate. I'm sorry, this post is a little long.

    When I feel well, it's WONDERFUL (!!), except it's almost an odd feeling in that I don't know what to do with my time because I don't have any plans to do anything because I have that time "blocked off" to be sick. (Sad, isn't it?) But it's reality.

    So, when I do have those times when I feel good, it's weird, because I spend time catching up on things I need to do of course, but then when and if I actually catch up on chores and life's never-ending to do list, if I'm still feeling good (a bit more unusual), I feel this sadness because I start seeing all of the things I'm missing out on and then, I also don't know what to do with my time that doesn't involve doing the things I do when I'm sick (like hanging out on the computer in a zombie-like state, reading, etc).

    Which brings me to the thought of hey, why not volunteer? Which sounds good! But then I wonder, gee, how long will I feel good? I don't feel good consistently for a long time by a long shot, although I do feel good sometimes. (MADNESS.) And I don't want to let people down. And I can rationalize, well, it's just volunteer work, so it doesn't matter, but I don't like letting people down, and I don't want to volunteer for two weeks and have to quit. And gee, I REALLY want to interact with people other than my husband?

    *Can anyone relate to my ramblings?! My health situation is just so all over the place; I don't know what to do!!

    What do you all do? Any ideas? Thanks for any thoughts and of course, your support.

    Warmly, Erika
  2. pw7575

    pw7575 New Member

    Hi Erika,

    I know how you feel...I too am one who HATES to disappoint people. Maybe you could check out some places you could volunteer and see if any have a schedule that could work for you.

    Maybe some have an on call type of schedule where they go down a list of people and call to see who can come in and help for the day. That would be really good for you because if they call you same day you would know if you are feeling ok to come in or not and if you aren't then you can say you can't while still knowing that they have others on their list to call next. That way you won't have to feel bad if you can't do it.

    I don't know if there is such a thing but you could check. Or you could set up that type of arrangement with a place. Just tell them your situation and ask if you could be a more on call type roll. Then maybe you would feel ok about it since they wouldn't be expecting you to be there.

    I think you should give it a try. Don't worry about disappointing them. They will be so glad to have any help you can give. Better to help on the days that you can than to not help out at all because of the days you can't. I bet if you ask any of them they would say anything is better than nothing.

    Good Luck!!
  3. applecrisp

    applecrisp New Member

    I'm sorry I dont have any real advice...

    Just that I know exactly what your talking about. I cant even honestly volunteer at the school for activities because I dont know if on that particular day I will feel well enough to go. The room rep for my daughter calls 2 times each month and I dont answer the phone because I know she wants me to roster and I cant comit.

    I'd like to go back to work so I'm not cooped up at home all the time and we need the money, but I worry about not being able to commit to that either.

    Your right...just to be around other adults other than my husband. err...

    Sorry you feel this way too.
  4. Mwitherite

    Mwitherite New Member

    you can paint nails, do hair, fill water picthers, read the paper, play cards. all that.
    - M
  5. AllWXRider

    AllWXRider New Member

    she goes whenever she wants to. Meets lots of handsome doctors too. She is studying dietetics, so its a great environment for her.
  6. balletdancer74

    balletdancer74 New Member

    Hi Erika!

    I've volunteered at nursing homes which is very rewarding and not stressful as it's on your own time.

    I also volunteer with my advocacy for FM and CFIDS/M.E. by raising money, trying to get articles written - not easy but getting there. That's VERY rewarding for me since it's for "our" cause so to speak. You can advocate on your own or join a foundation (s). I belong to the National CFIDS/M.E. Foundation in Mass. www.ncf-net.org Everyone there is a volunteer. I also, as I said, do things on my own.

    Like others have said, think about what you like to do. I used to sing at a nursing home once in a while. It was fun and only occasional, so it didn't wipe me out.

    Don't pressure yourself. Something interesting will come up when you least expect it. The only reason I'd avoid hospitals is because of the germs. We're so susceptible to catching so many things.

    You could also read to the elderly or children or disabled.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help. I wish I could work period and get paid again! Of course, I'd crash and burn, so I volunteer with the above mentioned activities.

    LB32 (Leeza)

  7. zenouchy

    zenouchy Member

    Great thoughts and ideas. I appreciate you all taking the time to write. Will respond more tomorrow.

    Much love, Erika
  8. LittleBluestem

    LittleBluestem New Member

    Even volunteers need to be dependable. If you are not able to be at a specific place at a specific time on a regular basis, then you should not volunteer for a task which requires that. However, ‘when I am up to it’ is dependable enough for some tasks.

    Some cities have a central agency that keeps track of all needs for volunteers. Your United Way might be able to tell you if there was such an entity in your area. If not, just contact organizations that you are interested in working with and ask them if they have any tasks which can be done on an ‘as able’ basis. I doubt that it will take you long to find something.
  9. JoFMS

    JoFMS New Member

    Hi Zenouchy,

    Funny you mention volunteering, I am currently working as a volunteer co-ordinator for a wildlife place and have done the last year asI had to give up my last job. The problem I have is too much responsibility and people's high expectations of me.

    I get paid very very little but because I get paid somehting and have my food cooked for me, I feel I need to do alot. I'm finding it very tough as people come and go so it's not always the same people around so it's difficult for them to understand.

    In my experience, this has actually been one of the most stressful things I could have done as I am constantly around people with high expectations. My situation is very different from yours however as I live there so cannot escape but I also don't have the money to give it up as I can't do anything else either.

    Looks like I may have to give in this time and leave my job even though there are bits of it I can do.

    There will be a lot of organisations out there that may be able to take flexible people on depending on the job but make sure they're aware of your situation and do not let yourself get into the habit of them relying on you and do not get to the point where you do so much they think you can manage everyday. At our place it would be very difficult to take someone flexible as you need to build up a bond to work with some of the animals and we have set schedules.

    However, basic things like data entry etc could be done anytime and maybe even from home? Looks like that maybe what I end up doing but I too feel the same as you and want to do something so I don't feel so useless to the world!

    PS one more thing - I just wanted to also mention, from my experience I have found that many people who volunteer are usually doing it for a number of reasons - either to escape from something, have mental and social behaviour problems, have done something bad in the past and feel they owe the world etc. This may be good or bad depending which way you look at it. Of course you may meet other people like us too so that would be a bonus.

    Good luck, go for it, I really do hope you find something.

    Sorry my post is so long x

  10. zenouchy

    zenouchy Member

    Thank you everyone very much for your thoughts and support. I actually had an acquaintance ask me to be a volunteer coordinator for a huge hunger walk in our city last week! I had to gently say "no", but told her I'd wouldn't mind helping in a smaller capacity. Heck, if I could be a volunteer coordinator for something on such a broad scale like that, I could be working!

    I was very flattered, but had to explain why I wasn't able to. She knows I have health issues, but she thought I'd be able to do it because most of the work is from home. Even though it's from home, it would be several hours a week, and as we know, you still have to be able to the work and commit, which we can't always do! I haven't heard back from her in regards to helping in a smaller capacity, but that would be nice.

    I think y'all are right. As long as I'm up front about what I can do and set realistic expectations, that will be helpful. It seems like as soon as I start thinking about volunteering, my wave of good health starts to end and I get sick again. Hopefully that won't happen this time! Wishing you all a happy/healthy day.

    Take care, Erika
  11. shar6710

    shar6710 New Member

    You probably didn't mean this to be funny but its so true I had to laugh:

    "When I feel well, it's WONDERFUL (!!), except it's almost an odd feeling in that I don't know what to do with my time because I don't have any plans to do anything because I have that time "blocked off" to be sick. (Sad, isn't it?) But it's reality."

    Somedays I get up and am amazed to find that I feel pretty good: I think wow maybe I could take a class or work part time. Of course 2 hours later I'm having to rest because I fixed breakfast and cleaned the kitchen.(sigh)

    I think if you can find and organization that can accommodate the whims of your condition you should go for it. What do you have to lose? Just start off slowly and listen to what your body is whispering to you, don't wait for it to shout!

    Good luck,


  12. zenouchy

    zenouchy Member

    Hey Shar,

    Indeed, it IS funny! Being sick can be such a bizarro and backwards way to live. I find comedy in just about everything. It sounds like you can relate. Our energy is limited, but at least we do get some from time to time. Hopefully it gets better! Glad I gave you some chuckles.

    Erika :)
    [This Message was Edited on 01/09/2007]

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