With every hour I volunteer at IMAlive, I get more stories and more new difficult and heart breaking situations a person’s life can be in. Every story is worth our attention. With some, we connect more because of our personal experience while some we feel the hurt so much it seeps right through the letters on the screen. I’d like to share one of those latter experiences as it’s exactly the reason why I gladly offer my time and energy to people who can’t see past their troubles anymore.
I think I was within my first year and the call that came through made the hairs in the back of my neck rise. It was not exactly what she said, it was how she said it. It might be hard to believe but also, in chats, feelings come across. It was the sheer hopelessness that was in the tone.
The person on the other end was a woman and life had been hard on her. She had lost everything she had- job, money, people. She had tried multiple times to get up again and lost even more in the process, In that moment, she was holding on for dear life and had no expectations; no confidence of being able to get out of the misery that she felt her life had turned into. In that darkest hour of her life, she turned to us. And I took the call, I had the noble task to find that tiny sliver of hope that made her decide to chat with us.
Needless to say, it was a long and intense chat. I was glued to the screen and felt desperate to find something, anything that could be of help or maybe just for comfort. As time went by, I was mostly listening and oh, so slowly taking baby steps to find her more safety.
I was anxious to explore possibilities or people that might have been overlooked. We eventually found an option that she felt was safe and trustworthy. Her troubles were still there but the hopelessness had lifted long enough to see and find that one person that made her feel more supported and less alone.
We sometimes talk about missing a hug button and that was definitely the time I would have used it if it was there! This chat will always be in my mind as an example of how dark our world can get and what it takes to see the tiniest light again. Taking small steps in the right direction instead of rushing blindly to a solution. We all want to feel better as soon as possible but it usually has taken a lot of time too before we feel so downright awful; why not take time to find the right direction?
I still feel so humbled that person trusted me with their life and all the bad things in it. It is a privilege to have this position.