I sort of manage another Twitter account for a friend. It’s nothing other than scheduling fie tweets a week for him but it maintains his Twitter presence and I get nice chocolate for doing it.
This morning there was a reminder of what was a painful memory that was brought back to life by seeing the Twitter account of @Twining_news.
Twinings (the tea people) are incredibly wonderful. They support people in Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich with mental health problems in getting back to work. I wrote the article featuring the SEEC which they manage and support and it brought back memories of a time when I could write that kind of piece regularly and I felt sad.
When I first realised that I would have to give up all charity and work, especially writing, I was devastated. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a volunteer in one way or another.
I started off helping run a YMCA youth club (which was the smallest thing I ever did!) and became a contact for the local police and assisted in changing the community in a very positive way. I worked with the graffiti unit with the same police force until it was scrapped and, in order to stop anti-social behaviour in a local park I worked with an ex-Arsenal player supporting him as he coached and finding funding.
My swan song in active community volunteering was acting as a troubleshooter between the local council, businesses and contractors as a local street was closed and refurbished. Heady and heavy stuff indeed.
When the gentler world of writing (though not much gentler and quite pressured at times but that’s another story) about charities for a website I founded with a friend beckoned I did it gladly.
Then the rot set in. I had to stop writing because of the pressure but there was still Twitter. Twitter for that website has had to come to an end because it’s too pressured for me and so my voluntary work, after 45 years, has finally come to an end.
It stings a little because I still have contacts in the various areas and people that I worked with and they still ask for help. On the other hand I still get members of the communities coming up to me in the street and thanking me for the things I did because they’re still impacting positively on their community.
Memories had in strange place in our minds and when you’re least expecting it you find them as though they were a well hidden person in a game of hide and seek.
When I had to stop the voluntary work I felt that my world had shrunk considerably but then I got a new oven, a bigger and better one and started baking bread again. I started a blog which has recently become a food website. I’ve become adept at cooking with liquorice and I’m picking fruits and vegetables in order to flavour vinegars. My vinegars are wonderful. Last week I made my first batch of sausage me and it was fabulous.
The world that I thought would be tiny and constricted isn’t. I can’t bake bread or flavour vinegar during the episodes when even using a hot hob would be a dangerous thing but I can when they pass. They always pass, that’s what Bipolar Disorder does.
My life had to change and I grieved over it for a while and then I moved on. I move on quickly as I refuse to lie weeping over the dead body of a part of my life that has ceased to be. I keep on going, I keep on trying and I keep on living because, as someone once told me, I’m just too tough to give in and die.