What i have learnt so far

I have learnt so much over the years via SAPUK, I feel as though it is a lot more than I would have learnt from a textbook, I have learnt with real life people every day for the last (almost) 6 years, but then I guess if I had been studying for 6 years and volunteering for 18 months maybe I would have a different outlook on my learning adsorptions. Real life experiences hold more forte grounds within the mind as they are learnt from the present and based more on the individual person, it is a more intense learning ground as you have to understand the individual as a whole, when understanding from a text book it is more collective, each learning method is crucial as they both assist one another, for example I now know because of learning at university an understanding on bipolar, and the differences between each of the subjects within this illness, where as before i believe bipolar to be of one unit, but it isn’t, there are different types of bipolar – I will do a separate post on that in the upcoming months 😊 

The main things I have learnt is that there isn’t enough support out there for people 70% of people reaching out to the services for mental health support don’t actually receive it, i learnt this on my mental health first aid course, the services are stretched as environmental issues such as the pandemic and financial stresses have been apparant for most people, mental health has increased so much over the last couple of years. At SAPUK we generally cross paths with people within the last moments of someone’s struggles, but then again SAPUK is for suicidal thoughts and tendencies rather than mental health as a whole, another thing I have learnt is everyone is different and has their own perspective on life each dealing with different life traumas, and that trauma hits us all in different ways and has no schedule…

I have learnt patience and understanding, volunteering for such a role can be testing for patience sometimes. Suicidal thoughts are repetitive, we have to go through the same cycles often with different people, when someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts this is inevitably the last path of self-recovery (in their tried experience), it is to end the pain that has no means of going, we work with people and settle these thoughts but when they find themselves facing triggers and becoming overwhelmed again (which is normal in recovery), because of this new path of self-recovery in their thoughts it can be easy for them to revert back to suicidal thoughts and tendencies during their stressed moments as it is their self-thought path, we have to encourage and support daily and sometimes both ourselves and the person we are supporting have to repeat the cycles of support, repetition is also key to understanding and assisting recovery, we have to do It again and again, until eventually we need not do it anymore because the suicidal thoughts have settled and have been changed to a more positive route (such as messaging us when things get overwhelming, we use talking therapy it helps, I promise – just say hey 😊 )

I have learnt that when someone is struggling there is no limit to which their emotions can go, they can refuse to talk, they can become emotional, they can become erratic and/or impulsive, it is mentally painful for them so if someone was to show aggression towards myself or another member for example, I/we have learnt that this is not a personal attack on us but that this person instead has just had enough and is tired or fed up, this generally stems from trying to keep yourself alive for too long, it can leave us with aggressive tendencies, some people have also previously already told their story and received no help, and this can also bring forward agitation, it can almost seem pointless for them to talk anymore, but it isn’t;

I have learnt that the world has been cruel to a lot of people, a lot of people have no knowledge on how much pain the world can bring one single person, I personally haven’t had the best upbringing but in comparison to a lot of people my pain was nowhere near the scale that others have had to face, it keeps me humble, but again each person is different and each has a different outlook on childhood trauma and experiences, we each respond differently, what may unsettle me may not unsettle you and vice versa.

I have learnt that each person who comes to SAPUK to offer voluntary help is selfless, these are all angels of the earth and I am the luckiest person that I get to meet these angels, I get really overwhelmed every time we get a new volunteer, it is really inspiring to hear other people want to help others especially in this world we live in, support doesn’t co-exist much these days, and sometimes even if they are struggling too, lotta love for the SAPUK team, old and new x

In an academic perspective via SAPUK, I have learnt a lot about many different mental illnesses, the different behaviours they can portrait, the states of minds they can bring forth, and the different levels of intensity each illness can bring, the main thing I have learnt is that everyone is different, we cant categorise anyone into any group as its individuality we aspire for rather than groups, we want to keep it close to home, that’s where the support starts. Two people may struggle with BPD but in two different ways, a lot of people have been diagnosed with other illnesses too on top of their ‘base’ illness, so it gets more complicated, we also know that what works for one may work for another, so we have to treat each person as an individual, they are all here for the same reason to carry on their story;

I have learnt that no one actually wants to die, they are in a temporary state of mind which is clouded, this creates poor judgment, and the inability to function as of their capability, mental health changes us pretty quickly, they may convince themselves and you that they need not be here, but inevitably underneath it all they want to live. Someone once told me, you can’t save everyone, I disagree and between SAPUK and the other CIC communities we are able to reach a lot of people, I think with SAPUK as of last year we crossed paths with over 600 people in means of support, we made a difference to that many people, many people have been signed of our message line who wouldn’t be here if they didn’t have our network – one person at a time.

I understand and have learnt that no matter what scenario comes through to SAPUK, I can’t take it to my home, I know that my family need my mind frame as stable, so I have learnt to keep my heart to a degree up my sleeve, but none the less I care for each individual that comes through to SAPUK, we all do. But there is enough of us volunteering to extend that care so that it doesn’t all fall on ones shoulders, I know that if I am not around another person will be, more than one person is online per session, we are also incredibly supportive amongst ourselves

I have also learnt that no matter how bad your trauma may feel you can heal, I have watched countless amounts of people heal from their thoughts and tendencies, you just need to ensure that you are keeping yourself here through these periods, it will come in waves, but as long as you have healthy coping mechanisms and a decent support network you are able to heal from anything. Please reach out;

All my love D x

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