Inside The Life of an IMAlive Volunteer

Iris

From the Netherlands

I volunteer for IMAlive because I believe in hope.

Those who have been in a very dark place and have come out on the other side have probably experienced that there is no stronger feeling than hope – an often surprising yet incredible feeling that is one of the most natural ones.

We can find hope in places that we would never expect to find anything but pain. And it is in those dark places that we aren’t even aware that it’s not there.

This silent but unremitting hope is what brings people to IMAlive. The belief that things will be okay again if only they asked for help.

I volunteer here, at IMAlive, because I want to remind people of the enormous power that they have forgotten is inside themselves. As responders, we try to help people to help themselves, but mostly we want them to know that they are not along with the pain they are suffering. It is so much easier to lose your way when you are alone.

I’m proud and honoured to be part of IMAlive, and I admire the work all volunteers do everyday, dedicating themselves completely to those in need.

Being a responder is tough. You are asked to emphasise with a stranger while at the same time you are not supposed to get to emotionally involved. You are supposed to build trust with a person that you are supposed to keep your distance to. It is about finding a balance. You can’t help anyone else up again when you are down yourself.

In this way IMAlive inspires me to be a stronger person.

Of course I feel scared, sad or distressed in my daily life, but when I am on shift

I forget about my own life and I focus my energy and my care to the person asking for my help. I am strong for them in the moment they cannot be strong themselves.

Being part of this team has made me grow and will continue to help me grow. I have been able to learn things that enrich my life, that helped me change the way I look at things and how I react to them. It will continue to help me with my own experiences and challenges I face, no matter whether it is in my everyday life or the struggles along the way of getting my medical degree. Or even looking beyond it will help shape my future profession as a doctor in which I wish nothing more than help others every single day.

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