Despite having friends and family, anxiety and depression can have a way of making a person feel disconnected from those who love them. The perceived stigma surrounding mental health can make it difficult for someone to talk about their problems without feeling dismissed or labeled. And, if they do open up, they might feel judged by family and friends for their struggles with anxiety and depression. Altogether, anxiety and depression can leave a person feeling alone at times.
However, when that happens, there are people out there who can help. Suicide hotlines are out there for those who feel isolated and alone. The people who work for suicide hotlines genuinely care about the well-being and happiness of their callers.
We interviewed several suicide hotline workers from around the world. Here are a few stories they wanted to share (anonymously).
Suicide Hotline Workers Try Not to Push, Assume, or Judge
"Many times, people felt that a random soul on a phone line couldn't care about a complete stranger. A common feeling is fear of being judged or misunderstood. I always sit with these people with an open heart, and let them know that all I want is for them to feel like they can talk to me. I never push for info, make assumptions, or judgements."
They Truly Want to Help
"Another story from my phone calls was a caller who was dealing with anxiety and depression. She had a bottle of pills she said she was going to take with vodka. Over the next hour, she agreed to put the pills out of sight and into another room. And, then we just talked about her struggle with anxiety. I told her about the basics of exposure therapy, that she could make a list of things that make her least to most anxious and slowly work her way up the list, but only at her own comfort and speed. She agreed to do that."
They Think About You After You Hang Up
"I had one caller who was a teen in high school. That was all the caller wanted to say at first. I could tell that the caller was nervous and shy, so I just sat with her, and let her talk at her own pace. After about twenty minutes, she told me what was bothering them, in one breath. Then, the caller hung up. About a week later, I got a call. I recognized her voice, but made no mention of it. The caller then said that she had been feeling like she couldn't hold on when she called last time and that calling in had helped her see that someone cared. The caller told me to thank everyone who volunteered and thanked me for taking the time for her. I really felt that it was a simple exchange that had an important impact on somebody's life."
Don't be Afraid to Call
"While many people feel uncomfortable calling a number to talk to a stranger, they shouldn't. The people on the line really care, otherwise, they wouldn't be answering the phone. All we crisis line workers want is for people to feel comfortable enough to call us and to call back, if they need to. We care about every caller, even though they might not know it. Each person is a human being and that's a beautiful thing."
If you know of someone that could use support, please urge them to call the American National Suicide Prevention Lifeline any time (24/7) at 1 (800) 273-8255.
Date of original publication: April 09, 2015.
Updated on March 08, 2017 .
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