Friday, June 1, 2007

Volunteerism

I've written another post about this a few months ago but as soon as I feel better, I start volunteering. Since my time is somewhat limited these days (I'm working on a big freelance writing assignment which is due in a few weeks, finishing my last photography assignment, and studying for the final), my top priority is to entertain my mother and her friends at her assisted living facility. I play the Autoharp and I'm accompanied on the harmonica by Monroe, an 89-year-old resident who's a friend of my mother's.

We sing a lot of songs that people in their eighties (and older) like. It's fortunate because I like all these old Gershwin and Porter tunes as well as folk songs and songs that are categorized as "Americana," although I'm not quite sure what that means. My only real concern is that that the songs must be in the key of "C" because Monroe plays a "C" harmonica.

I not only enjoy performing but I also like practicing. I've found that tuning my Autoharp is a perfect exercise when I'm slightly hypomanic because it takes a long time, and requires a lot of patience, which is a kind of zen-like activity.

I'd be interested in knowing what volunteer activities others engage in. While I can't wait to hear from my "regulars," it would also be nice to hear from those of you who read this blog but never comment. In an odd way, I somewhat feel like writing comments when you read a blog on a regular basis is sort of like volunteering. It's a way of sharing your expertise to help others. We are certainly a welcoming group and would enjoy having you participate.

FYI...when I'm looking for new songs, I go to this great site, The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health), which not only has lyrics but you can hear all the songs.

4 comments:

Cindy said...

I've been reading for a few days now, enough to know I'll be reading a lot longer, so it's time to "volunteer" comments and quit sponging. :)

I volunteer for a local theater group every summer, taking notes for the directors, keeping track of who's going to be absent at which rehearsals or performances and helping out with keeping track of the costuming. This is fun, if a bit draining.

The other volunteering I do is much more personal and less "socially" impacting, but incredibly rewarding. I am my 90 year-old grandmother's chauffer and errand runner. I check in on her nearly every morning, have a cup of tea and see if there's anything she needs done. Her friendship is wonderful, and she's been able to continue living at home a bit more easily than she might have otherwise.

I identify with a great, great deal of what you write. Some things you've written I fiercely believe myself but had never heard voiced by anyone else. That surely means we're the only sane people in the world, right? :)

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Cindy,
Thanks so much! After I posted and asked readers to comment, I wondered if any would. But to read your comments is truly a gift.

Personally, I find your work at the theater to be quite interesting. But what you're doing for your grandmother resonates with my soul! I believe it is those "small things" that make all the difference in life!

Welcome to our "village." Glad to meet you! Yes, we may be the only sane ones. Smiling back at you!

Susan

Terry said...

Hi,

I have only been reading the blog for a couple of weeks. It is great! I have been so desparately looking for a positive "spin" on bipolar. It seems like the focus of others is to "share the misery." In my good times, I certainly am not miserable. And when things are not so good, I sure don't want someone's misery to pull me down further.

On the topic of volunteering, I am pretty involved at my church. My church family is wonderful. They don't look down on people who are "different." Instead they love everyone!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Hi Terry,
I couldn't agree more. For more than a decade I tried to find a bipolar site that was uplifting and all I read was doom and gloom.

Even the sites others evidently thought was "positive" wasn't positive for me.

You and Marja (Roller Coaster) may have a lot in common. She's writing a book on the group she's started at her church.

There are others as well who find their churches to be very healing places.

Welcome! Glad to have you on board!

Susan



Susan