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How Becoming a Counselor for Crisis Text Line Saved My Life

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I stumbled across Crisis Text Line during Suicide Awareness week in September of 2015. I found a sign-up form for volunteers, got ace recommendations from beloved friends and less than a month later I was going through the training process.

That was over a year ago. Today, I counsel twice a week for two hour periods each time. I’ve talked to parents, kids and fellow counselors. People hearing voices, being bullied, recovering from self-harm or eating disorders. Trauma and assault survivors. The lonely, the struggling and people in immense darkness. You could say I’ve saved some lives along the way. But really? Counseling has saved my life.

Counseling gives me purpose in my life. Making a unique connection with a total stranger is an incredible experience; it gives the person texting a voice and a platform to use that voice to express themselves. It allows me to step outside of my own daily life and focus on another person, to empathize with them and help them go from crisis to calm. And as we work together to get there, we both get there.

I use the same tips and tricks I give the people I text. I go through the same thought process that I walk them through. When I hear, “I’m feeling so much better,” I feel better knowing that my time has been spent helping someone feel valued. On my best and worst days, I feel for the people I text because I’m just like them.

My days can still be a struggle. But knowing I get to talk to people all over the country, relate to them and help and encourage them, gives me hope. I hope that with personal connections and people that truly care, we can all move from crisis to calm. And maybe, save our own lives.

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Originally published: August 2, 2017
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