It is hard for me to understand how I have managed to once again work my way into such a state of activeness. I think every year at some point I mention that I always end up overdoing it and just exhaust myself so completely that I need a month of bed rest (not even an exaggeration!) to recuperate.
It is only just April and already I am silently reeling in my mind thinking ‘What the hot dog has happened to the quiet start to my 2015?!‘ I am happy as always however, as I can honestly say I have brought this all on myself and to be honest, all of the things happening this year are things I have been hoping and working towards for the past however many years.
I know I am not as regular on this site as I would like to be, I aim for twice a week yet I think I’ve slipped once or twice recently. (Exam time will be a really interesting test for me.) I am ensuring my new Facebook page (facebook.com/thislupuslife) and my Instragram page (instagram.com/thislupuslife) receive attention as well, so if you notice my absence and want to follow me in another way please head on over and join the crowd.
I recently received the most exciting news, which confirmed to me that I had made the right decision at the right time.
‘What might this news be?’, you ask me with a raised eyebrow.
Well, let me tell you. I have officially been nominated by the Volunteer Coordinator at my university for the Western Australian Young Volunteer of the Year Award. The Volunteering Western Australia Organisation celebrates all of the work volunteers contribute annually during National Volunteer Week. This falls in the second week of May, and the award ceremony is on Friday 14th May. This evening and award night recognises one individual member of the community in particular who goes out of their way to engage their time and efforts in providing assistance to others at no cost to themselves.
I suppose I should expand a little on what happens in my life when I am not at my study or writing a post here. I study roughly five hours a day, either in lectures and tutorial classes or at home re-watching lectures and reading textbooks. On weekdays I work 2.5 hours in the afternoon three days a week as an education assistant providing literacy support to primary school children. I am enrolled in, and half-way through, a volunteer program with The Smith Family (again as a literacy support aide) and about to begin work with Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) as a life and skills support mentor. Occasionally I foster an abandoned cat when The Cat Haven is overflowing with cats and they need to rehabilitate an abused cat before rehoming. On the odd Thursday I help out with volunteer activities at the university since I have taken on one of the roles of Murdoch University Volunteer Ambassador.
Please do not think too much about all of this. I have attended to much of my volunteer work since I don’t have a car to drive to the schools for the literacy development or pick up cat supplies from the Haven. AIME is one day every school term and the ambassador is the occasional five hour stint every few weeks or so.
All of the above is interestingly not actually the part of my life that inspired my friend and volunteer guru to nominate me. Emcee nominated me due to my work on this site, the linked Facebook page and Instagram page. A little commented on fact about me is that I also meet people for direct discussion on coping mechanisms, treatment strategies and general health information. If there are concerns about a family member, I meet with multiple people and we have general conversations on theories about health.
I must state clearly I do not believe I can replace medical advice, provide counselling in the place of a qualified counsellor/ psychologist or health physician. I do not pretend I can do anything more than be an ear to listen to ideas and issues, and be the voice to suggest routes that I have travelled down, recommend local practitioners I know, have been to or have heard of. In a way I do in person what I do on this page yet on a more reciprocal and mutually beneficial level.
This is why, my dear friends, I have been nominated as Young Western Australian Volunteer of the Year. I am humbled. I am blessed. I do not think that my contribution is half as great as many of the wonderful people volunteering in the world today, and yet I would love to have a backing to make my voice stronger and louder as I try to help break down the barrier of silence that surrounds chronic illnesses and mental health concerns in our society and world today.
Guess is going to be nominated for WA Young Volunteer of the Year?! I am so #appreciative of this great country that is so full of #opportunities. I realised a few years ago that my troubles with health needn't be a burden but a #blessing. I found each day as I gained experience and knowledge that I wanted to use it to prevent anyone else from feeling as overwhelmed and alone as I did. Life isn't easy and it becomes even less so when things don't go as you hope. But that isn't a reason to give up. I was told I had a way with words and that I should use it. I want to help #overcomeadversity. I want to start conversations about our difficulties and #removethestigma surrounding asking for help and admitting illness. #WAYoungVolunteeroftheYear #goodthingswillcome #workforwhatyoubelievein #support #Lupus #spooniesupport @themurdochguild