A couple of triggering events happened today. One was related to my past sexual trauma. The other was more recent – the living situation. They combined to make a big soupy mess inside me.
The first call to the regular hotline helped me realize I needed to do something else to release the pressure. Thankfully, my aunt was available to talk. The immediate issue was express my anger so I could accomplish the rest of my errands. Talking with her and making a plan did that.
Accomplishing the other tasks and some self care (groceries, aromatherapy diffuser, walking meditation), I finally made it home. Instead of being able to relax, though, everything started to feel more intense. But I wasn’t sure what was causing the problem – the living situation or the past anniversaries.
So I called the Crisis Text Line instead. You can learn more about the history on Wikipedia here. You can go to the actual website and read how the text line works before trying it here. The Crisis Text Line is a non-profit organization and free.
Texted the phone number with a request. Receive an automated response
Shared some information; received an automated response and took their questionnaire.
Received a text from a trained volunteer. Text chatted with the volunteer for about an hour. The volunteer helped me feel less alone and made some good suggestions. I tried the suggestions. They helped a little. Offered some suggestions and reasons for those suggestions. The reasons made sense, so I tried knitting again – even knowing it might be triggering.
Then I texted STOP to end the session.
For people who prefer to send text messages and have a service plan with either a lot of minutes or unlimited minutes, this is a great option. The first response time is quick – within 4-5 minutes – unless you send a message during busy times.
My volunteer responded within 3 minutes after I finished the questionnaire. Her responses, while slow in coming, were empathetic and respectful while also professional. I explained the situation. She offered empathy and suggestions. I explained how and what I felt. She reminded me I am not alone, and it’s okay to feel what I feel.
I explained about what strategies I have tried and why I felt frustrated. She helped me get some perspective and try something I normally wouldn’t try. Not because I don’t want to, but because physical tasks are usually not on my list when I am in pain.
The pauses between my responses and hers felt too long and anxiety provoking for me. The generality of the suggestions and brainstorming did not feel as comfortable as when I talk to someone on the phone.
But then I didn’t share everything that was causing the anxiety. So that part also contributed to the anxiety. My past experiences get in the way here. For me, the act of calling and speaking to someone, verbalizing my feelings and experiences, is integral to the coping strategy of asking for help.
But the volunteer did help me refocus on the present and accomplish a small task. One that did feel good and was distracting enough to help me reflect on what really disturbed me once I got home.
Yes, I do recommend this Crisis Text Line as a resource. I would use it again in similar situations or ones where talking didn’t feel comfortable.
Plus, the Crisis Text Line website has a wonderful and carefully curated list of referral/resource organizations for anyone looking for more or something else.
I also recommend this for anyone who might feel uncomfortable reaching out or asking for help in more traditional ways. Or is using a coping strategy/technique like this for the first time.
Making that first call or text is the hardest step.
If your experience has been different from mine, please comment and share.
Thanks for reading.