Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Best of 2009: Day 6

via rofanator

Day 6: Best workshop?

I'm not sure if this counts as a workshop or not but here we go. As some of you may know I'm currently training as a listening volunteer with a well known crisis charity. For the past seven weeks, every Wednesday night, I've been learning how to cope with calls from people in despair or distress (plus prank calls and sex calls, but we'll save those for another day). The lonely, the suicidal, the hurt and the frightened. It's been hard. Really hard at times. It's made me challenge my perceptions, my beliefs and the way I handle situations. But it's also been the most incredible thing that I've ever done. There's only one week of training left and then I'll be taking calls. It's starting to get very real now. And quite frightening.

I'm still not sure how I'll cope when I get a call from someone who's already taken steps to end their life. A call from someone who just wants to tell another person their secrets before they leave this mortal coil. It's a huge privilege in a way, to listen to things that they've never told anyone else before. A huge privilege but also a burden.

Because that's the thing about being a listener. You can't take the stories home with you. You can't tell your friends, your family or anyone else about what you've heard. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared about how I'll cope. But I will.

There are so many lonely people in this world and if I can be there for even a few of them, to let them know that they're not alone, then isn't that fantastic?