How Volt Malta Helped Me With My Depression - Şeyma d'Anjou
How Volt Malta Helped Me With My Depression - Şeyma d'Anjou
Having moved from Malta barely a month ago, when I look back on the three years I spent there, I am amazed at the personal growth that fits into that time frame.
I arrived in Malta, a year after graduating with my bachelor’s in International Relations cum laude in Istanbul and having worked as a call-centre agent in Bucharest, Romania. My husband had gotten accepted to the Bachelor’s Programme of History and Archaeology at the University of Malta as a “mature learner”. I had almost no clue what I wanted to do with my life. All I knew was what I had to do: work until my husband graduated and figure out what to make of myself in the meantime. The only problem was that I felt numb and lost in a world that made me feel so small and helpless.
I had all kinds of reasons for leaving Turkey, economical, familial, political and social. There was a lot of wrong in the world and in my country which I was confronted with and cared deeply about but had no power to resolve by myself. I felt weak and lonely there after almost all my friends left for either abroad or for different cities. But it did not work out for me in Romania either.
Not only did I have to accept that you cannot escape a country’s problems by just living abroad, but I also ended up experiencing many physical health problems there. In the end, I left Bucharest after having had an operation on my spine that left me bedridden for months and with a wound that had to be checked by a doctor every single day. On top of my mental and emotional exhaustion, I was also physically weakened.
You know how, at the end of a long day of hustling, you come home and sit down on a comfortable couch and only then does it hit you how tiring the day was. That is exactly what happened to me after coming to Malta. With me finding a job within a month as a language teacher and my husband enrolled at the university, it felt like I finally made it. I made it out of Turkey, I am safe, I have a job and my husband will have a better shot at life with a degree.
That point was that allegorical couch in my life and all of a sudden, with that realization, the weight of all the past traumas and hardships started to squash me. As if they were coming out of the woods now and saying, “Oh, by the way, you can’t go any further without resolving us”. After a few sombre months, I signed up for therapy to get myself out of the darkness because I had to admit that my husband and I were not equipped to do it by ourselves.
Two years of on-and-off therapy has helped tremendously with untying many knots in the jumble that was my past life and gave me some tools to tackle the future with. But I was still facing the mirror and asking myself what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I had the potential. I decided that if I didn’t know what I liked, I had to try and figure it out. So, I ruminated on what mattered to me the most: Making the world a better place. But how? Just by myself, I was too small and ignorant to make a significant contribution. And the amount of change that this world needed was simply overwhelming. Then it must have been time to unite forces!
I signed up for a Social Enterprise course at UoM. I learned a lot of things there, but most importantly and ironically, what I learned was that I did not want to become a social entrepreneur, I simply did not have the stamina at the time. Then, I thought, I can help people who have already created organizations: Volunteering it is! I tried donating my time and my skills to some of the many lovely volunteering organizations in Malta. The only issue was that even though I felt more of a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment in my life compared to my depressed years, I still wanted not to just help alleviate the symptoms of our sickly global society but to also be part of a movement that actually did tangible things to address the root causes of these problems. Then I entered Volt!
Volt is a political movement consisting of European national and local chapters, as well as a unique European level, boasting locally elected representatives in dozens of cities, spanning from Almalaguês to Amsterdam, and from Frankfurt to Isernia, as well as a Member of the European Parliament, and National Parliamentarians in Bulgaria and Netherlands. I wondered why any other party hadn’t thought of this structure before.
After all, it’s obvious that in a world of global and regional challenges, national politics fall short of answering these problems that necessitate cooperation beyond borders while regional or international politics fail to address the nuances of local politics. Volt proved to me from day one that they had the vision and the passion to create a new, healthier political landscape that could answer the exceptional challenges of our times from the bottom up.
On top of that, Volt Europa is a relatively young political movement of five years, meaning that it is not a giant machine that will chew you up, unlike most antiquated political parties. This makes it so much easier to voice your opinion, have it heard, and shape the future of politics.
I joined Volt Malta as a volunteer policy editor. As we continue to think about the issues that plague Malta, we think of fact-based solutions and best practices that can be contextualized for Malta. If we need help during this process, we have a whole continent of Volters from all over Europe who are ready to dedicate their time and resources to help us find the answers. Although, what I like particularly about Volt Malta is that it is already made up of resourceful and smart people who love this place they call home. They volunteer some of their time after their studies or jobs for a Malta that can progress beyond the muddle of a political dichotomy.
After a few months, I decided that I am in Volt for the long haul. So I joined the Policy Editorial Review team of Volt’s European level as well. There, I have had the incredible opportunity to work with some of the best minds of this continent on how to provide sustainable, realistic and science-based solutions to the pressing problems of our time regarding issues of economic welfare, energy transition and the climate crisis, politics of populism and fear, citizen empowerment and reforming the EU to make it a more democratic institution.
Every day, I get to wake up now with hope and determination that my potential is being put to good use together with people who are just as driven to make Europe a better place to live in for all its inhabitants. I humbly suggest you give it a chance too, who knows how your talents could be put to good use and give you a boost of purpose and direction!
- Şeyma d'Anjou, Volt Malta's former Global Balance Policy Lead & current Volt Europa Policy Editorial Review Team Member.