The People That Listen
Early into my sophomore year, I was doing well. I had stopped self-harming (for now; as recorded in a previous post). I was surrounded by good people but something still tugged at me. After dealing with what my mind made me feel and knowing that other people feel that way and weren't as lucky as me, I didn't feel like I was doing enough. And I was definitely capable of doing more.
I remember getting a notification on my phone from CNN or something like that about a suicide of a girl in Canada. It was news that went viral because of the videos she posted on Youtube, detailing her (terrible, horrid, nobody-should-have-togo-through-this) experiences. She was blackmailed, harassed, bullied, violated and assaulted. She was hurt. Hurt so bad that she couldn't keep going.
On October 10th, 2012, Amanda Todd ended her life because of the torment she endured. She was 15. This made my heart physically ache. This didn't have to happen. I went to talk to my mom about it and I just kept saying that I needed to do something.
Mom and I did some research and stumbled upon an organization called Lines for Life based in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. Lines for Life includes a military helpline and the Youthline. Youthline is based towards helping kids and teens in their time of need. Whether it be stress about homework or friends at school or if there is an issue at home or a life or death situation. We were trained to help.
I can't tell specific stories of my conversations on the phones because of HIPAA guidelines but I can say, easily, it was the most rewarding experience of my life.
I heard the difference between a panicked voice and one that felt listened to, one that felt relief for the first time in a long time.
Try this: listen, empathize and exude the love that you do have and the rewards are tremendous. Your heart will feel so full and so will theirs! That's the best part.
Be a listener.
Give a shit.
Oregon Youthline Information:
TEXT 'teen2teen' to 839863
OR You can chat online with a volunteer at OREGONYOUTHLINE.ORG