Tom Lindop, a 72 year old great-grandfather and former factory worker, has lived with depression for 35 years. He tells how volunteering at Camoys Court has helped him to cope.
It was seaside day at Camoys Court and there I was along with Gypsy Rose Lee and Punch and Judy - and I was laughing my head off. We were entertaining the children from the local school and I was the laughing clown. Every time someone dropped a penny in the box I had to jump and laugh, I laughed so much I had a right sore throat.
Coming to Camoys Court gives me a bit of a lift and that lift is harder to get when I’m not there. I volunteer twice a week, on a Tuesday and a Thursday. I help in the garden, and have a game of dominoes with the residents. I organise the bowls in the lounge and they love that - some are in their nineties. I’ve also made about 20 bird boxes out of wood so that Camoys Court can sell them and make a bit of money. I like working with the residents, chatting to them and making them a cup of tea. I’m doing something for them but they are helping me out too.
I can’t understand why I’m like the way I am. I feel no joy out of life. I never really look forward to going on holiday; I haven’t been fishing for a good while because I just don’t feel like it. I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone. I’ve done everything I can to help myself. I’ve done exercises, listened to tapes. It’s the same as if someone turned the light off. That’s how my mind is day in and day out, dead dark. There’s no light in my head. I worry about everything. I just can’t get that happy feeling any more. I do get it a bit when I come to Camoys Court.
I live seven miles away. If I lived next door I’d keep popping in. I’d love to come up every day. I just like talking to the residents. I’ll do anything for them if they ask me to. I will help them with their shopping. Today I helped one resident with her hearing aid. For that split second when I’m helping them it takes my mind off the rest.
I wish my mind wasn’t so miserable. I used to really enjoy life. It isn’t quite as good now but I push on. I’ll keep going, I’ve got to. I’ll have a go at anything, instead of moping around in the house letting it get worse.
First thing in the morning I don’t want to get out of bed. I was rough this morning, I didn’t feel great but you have to push yourself. As soon as I got to Camoys Court I had a little bit of a lift.
I started volunteering here three years ago and I would miss it if I didn’t come. This year I’m dressing up as Santa Claus for the local school children when they come here for a Christmas party.
We have a laugh at Camoys Court. I wouldn’t come if we didn’t. I love it.
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