Scared, terrified, blocked, scared -- that pretty much describes my first day at CSS. Hearing so much desperation, so much pain, so much confusion and thinking” oh, my God, how can I be of any help? What if I fail, what if I do not do it right and do more harm than help? Am I capable of doing this? What would the fate of this person be if some other volunteer picked up this call? Would the person in need be better off if he didn’t get me?
That was my experience with the first shift, the second, the third and so on until I finally found the courage to say, “Let me answer this call”.
Again it was scary. I was sweating on the line, but I felt a response in the caller’s voice, a little shift, a little tiny hope that life was not so bad after all, at least not all the time…And then came the reward – the amazing satisfaction I felt after we hung up. It was worth the effort, it was worth the trying.
Well…. it was not always like this. This was a good start – thank God! - but far from the everyday routine.
There were calls when I wasn’t sure if I was any help at all, or even calls when I was called a cold bitch and told that I should die, or calls when the callers were trying to get sexual arousal and were confusing the crisis hot line with the sex hot line (or didn’t want to pay the expensive rates).
And so many times it was overwhelming-the phones would not stop ringing-one after the other, after the other….
And so many times I was secretly looking at the clock to see when my shift was finally ending.
But looking back, I have tender feelings inside of me. I loved these people. I was happy to be there for them, to make a difference in their life. And I hope I did, that WE did and that we keep making a difference. The satisfaction is beyond words.