I am very proud to be a volunteer Crisis Counselor with Crisis Text Line. Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7 crisis line, all via text message. Since most of the texters who reach out to us are under the age of 25, this activity provides me with the chance to reach the younger audience and connect with them in a compassionate, caring way. I am also the Children’s Ministry leader within my church. Surprisingly, the two seem to intertwine, as I love being around children and helping them be the best they can possibly be.
This is also an incredible volunteer activity I could do from my teeny, tiny town (population, 943). The training and volunteering is all done from my personal computer.
As a child, for as long as I remember, I suffered in silence with anxiety/panic disorder. Back in the ‘60s, doctors didn’t have a term for what I was going through. My parents didn’t understand it and looked at it as a discipline problem. Thankfully, as we progressed in understanding mental health issues, anxiety was brought to light. My feelings are, if I can reach out to one texter and tell them, “I get it” then they will understand that they will be okay. Because of the training I received, I can give them the tools they need to get some help.
My favorite thing about being a Crisis Counselor, oddly enough, are the active rescues. The moment the texter responds with, “they’re here” is the time you realize that you helped someone get the help they need. It’s not only about saving their life for me; it’s about letting them know that people care.
There is a phrase I tell my texters all the time: “You matter.” It is surprising that so many texters respond with, “Wow, I have never heard that before!” Those two words assure my texters that they are going to be okay and they are meant to be in this world. All the pain and anxiety . . . the negative thoughts . . . they don’t matter, because you do. When they open up to me and let me know that they really are listening to my words, it brings me a comforting feeling. I think in a way, it is also healing to the little girl in me who struggled with unknown fear and anxiety for so many years. Being able to identify a piece of myself within a texter’s words, helps me to help them see that these feelings have a name and they don’t always have to feel this way.
I think I am a much better and healthier person since becoming a Crisis Counselor. The training and my compassion have finally merged and I am able to let someone know that, in the end, it is all going to be okay.