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18 December 2023

Helping others navigate major trauma - Part three, Volunteering for Day One

by Helen Williams

Helen Williams two sticks christmas

Welcome back to my blog 😊

I was moving forwards following the amputation of my leg. Although I was up and about on a prosthetic leg and two walking sticks, my main goal has always been to walk with just one stick outdoors. I’d moved on from two quad sticks to one walking stick and one quad stick, then two walking sticks and was tremendously proud of myself, but felt I could do better.

I was still having frequent falls which made me afraid of even trying to walk outside with one stick. I struggled to get up from the floor after a fall. I had to take my prosthetic off to get up, which isn’t always the best thing to do, especially when its underneath your trousers! So fast forward a few months and I passed a trial for a microprocessor knee. This is a type of prosthetic knee which, amongst other things, helps to reduce falls.

I also really wanted to support others who have experienced major trauma and was pointed in the direction of Day One by the mental health charity Mind. I’d been doing some volunteering in various mental health roles as I was aware of how much mental health problems have the ability to impact on every aspect of a person’s life. I was introduced to Carley Stubbs (the Peer Support Manager) at Day One and learnt as much as I could about what is a very needed and, in my opinion, amazing charity. Carley told me about the peer support service Day One offers, and after passing the training I jumped at the chance to get involved. For me, being a peer support volunteer with Day One is something so positive that came out of a very dark place. I’m now much stronger and it’s lovely to hear feedback from the people I’ve worked with. Whilst everyone’s experience of major trauma is different, the effect it has on a person’s wellbeing often seems similar. I’ve learnt through my volunteering that it was ok to feel the anger I experienced, especially during the early stages of my recovery. In fact, the phrase ‘its ok not be ok’ couldn’t be more true. This helped me to realise the difference peer support can make - people relate to someone who really ‘gets it’, whether that’s through a shared experience, or common emotion.

I’m also more confident thanks to volunteering with Day One and feel much more like my normal self. I am now doing my best to walk with just one walking stick when I’m outdoors. I’ve still got a way to go as, if I’m honest, the whole process of learning to walk again is pretty terrifying, even with my posh new prosthetic knee! I’m due to start having physio to learn to do this… and will update you in my next blog 😊

Find out more about peer support and volunteering for Day One here >>

You can find the other blogs Helen has written here >>

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