“In 2010 I applied to become a benefits adviser at “Disability Rights Norfolk” as my confidence was at a low ebb. During my training I felt lost and thought I would never understand it all. I was reassured I would develop my knowledge and my assistance would be invaluable and that’s turned out to be the case.
During my time at Equal Lives, I have worked with some really knowledgeable people who have shown me a lot of patience and helped me to regain my confidence. The clients I have supported have given me great satisfaction too.”
I was once told that ‘Life is difficult’. No one can argue with that, except I was not expecting all of life’s difficulties’ to hit me in on go; or at least that is how it felt.
I had a professional, highly responsible role before I was ill health retired in 2012. In the few years prior to retirement I had experienced life changing health problems, which lead to my physical and mental illnesses.
My life had turned on its head. As well as physically not being able of doing some of the things we take for granted (and yes I use we, because I took these things for granted too), like a walk in the woods or the beach, I had to rely on others to help with everyday tasks. Mentally I felt could not cope either as I felt I no longer had a place in society. Of course with help and support I got through that exceptionally dark period and this helped me realise that not only did I have some professional skills required to assist others, but that I have skills that you cannot teach….they are learnt through experiencing ‘Life’s difficulties’.
And so once I had come through my life changing experiences I started volunteering as an adviser/advocate providing advice and advocacy to those in a similar position to myself.
So why do I do it ?
No monetary or material thing is more rewarding than the ability to help others in whatever capacity you can. It also gives me a purpose in life, makes me feel like part of society again and helps me stay grounded. When my own physical and mental difficulties take hold I am reminded through meeting some of my clients that there are always people that experience more of ‘Life’s difficulties’ than I.