Well, I’ve taken a big new leap into life: I just became a crisis counselor for the Crisis Text Line. Or rather, a trainee for the Crisis Text Line. This is a volunteer position, which is great because I’ve been looking for something I can do from home. A friend of mine from another website, who is a new counselor herself, encouraged me to apply for it. This is serious business; the application had a number of essay questions, there is a training period of six weeks, and I have to pass a background check (which I’m not the least bit worried about). In other words, it’s a real job, and not everyone who goes through the application process is accepted.
I love the idea of helping others experiencing mental health issues. Obviously, I have lots of lived experience and am in a good place right now, so I think I might be pretty good at this. The schedule is very flexible; counselors work no more than 12 hours per week, and I can work in two-to-four hour shifts at any time of the day or night. The only caveat is the time commitment; it’s a minimum of 200 hours or one year. I’m a little leery about that because I tend to start something when I’m feeling well, and then am unable to maintain interest in the project. My last job turned out to be a disaster for the same reason. But it’s time I took a chance at doing something meaningful to help my fellow man…that’s what I miss about nursing.
I know it’s going to be intense at times, working with people who are standing on the edge of the abyss and needing reasons not to jump. My job will be to listen and encourage; it will not be about me or my own issues. They don’t need to hear my story, they need to be heard. And I’m sure they’ll tell me things that will make my hair stand on end, things that may anger me, things that may be triggers. That’s why the Crisis Text Line has supervisors available to the counselors to help with difficult cases. They care about the counselors’ mental health and want to avoid compassion fatigue, which is very common among workers in the helping professions. (I ought to know.)
Yes, I have my reservations about all this, and I’m going into it with my eyes—and my mind—open, but I’m going to take a leap of faith and see if I can do it. That last job dealt a crushing blow to my self-confidence, but in working to build a new life, I feel the need to venture out of my comfort zone a little. I want to think I’m making a difference, which is another thing I miss about nursing. I know there will be texters that I cannot help, but who knows…I may even save a life someday.
It’s worth it to try, anyway. And I really believe I can be good at it. I start training after the first of the year. Wish me luck!