Resources > Where to find Help - links, numbers, contacts, resources -you're not alone

In crisis – where to find help

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Sunny Clouds:
I call the Sams and find waiting difficult.  More often than not, I ring off, but I've realised over time that often what matters most to me is the knowledge that there are people out there that care, and the knowledge that there are others, like me, struggling.   The latter is important because often when I'm struggling I feel a strong sense of inadequacy, so knowing that others are struggling makes me feel less awful about myself.

That being said, who's to say who's more deserving than whom?  Why is your life or your peace of mind or your welfare or whatever worth less than anyone else's?  You wouldn't think that of someone else, would you?  Or if you would, you've never shown it here.

And if it sounds like I'm preaching, I've been struggling with this in other areas of my life and I'm saying "Please don't do as I was doing."  Having been let down or even cheated by so many professionals, tradesmen and service providers, I ended up feeling I was taking advantage of others if I asked for free help.

During the pandemic, I've found myself brought more into contact with neighbours in contexts where the need for help has come up.  I've had neighbours help with lots of stuff and I've done my best to help.  One neighbour, stridently demanding I hand over my laundry when I'd got washing machine problems, reminded me that I'd once mentioned having done a neighbour's laundry for him.  That neighbour wasn't saying "I'm doing yours because you did his" she was saying "You didn't expect him to feel he was taking advantage of you, did you?  You felt good being able to help someone." 

I have thanked the different neighbour whose medication I've been collecting for them about once a month since the start of the pandemic, a round trip on foot of over an hour each time, for reminding me that I like helping others so I needn't feel awkward about asking others for help.  Another neighbour felt free to ask to borrow some of my mobility aids that I don't need whilst my ataxia is in remission.  Etc.

Sometimes just for a chat, I phone Silverline.  You only get a few minutes, but they cheer me up.

I used to look for other numbers via Helplines Partnership, but they recently changed their website and I can't get it to work.

In the past, I've found comfort also from helplines that are there to deal with particular issues.  There isn't always a relevant one, but you never know your luck, and what suits one person won't suit another.  At 'marmite' extremes would be a prayer helpline. Depending on your beliefts, that could be wonderful, dreadful or uninteresting.

Sunny Clouds:
On a lighter note - I shouldn't have put myself in 'samaritan' mental zone...

An old friend called in the night, needing someone to outpour on and we were on the phone for around three hours and now I can't sleep. 

It was a very productive conversation, though.  She called about a problem I'd had not long ago, and it drifted onto problems I'd had.  We bounced our problems and solutions back and forth, both gaining.

I suppose that's the bit you don't get from a Sam.  Usually, that's good, being able to focus on your own problems, but I also value those moments, online or off, when it goes both ways.

Sunny Clouds:
Just to add - the going both ways thing includes this thread - we bounce back and forth our experiences of trying to get help from the Sams.  My visceral reaction to your post was "Well if Fiz needs the help of the Sams, I certainly don't need to be shy telling people that I do." 

Regardless of whether anything specific I've said helps or not, I hope the reminder that other Ouchers also feel the need for Sams-type help helps you a bit.

Yes it definitely helps to feel less alone but also good to know people find them helpful as I have never managed to hold on long enough in the phone queue to get a response so I wouldn't know. It doesn't help that I struggle with telephones. I worry that I will suddenly feel high anxiety and will need to end the call which will appear rude.

Sunny Clouds:
I've made many calls to the Sams over the years, in bouts, as it were, when things get tough.  I first started calling when I was an in-patient in a psychiatric unit.  Yes, the psychological support was so lacking and the abuse of patients so bad that I needed the help of the Sams to cope with it.

I used to like it better when you could call a specific branch on their own number if you wanted.  We each have different communication styles and I found mine mapped on best to people in certain parts of the country.  I could also pick towns where I got through quickly, so inferred they were less busy.

I find that those that respond best to my personal style are either male or, if female, sounding older and maybe a bit 'posh' or 'refined'.  That's because I instinctively describe not what I'm feeling but what it is that I'm feeling about.  Men seem to be more accultured to that whereas younger-sounding women are more likely to want to know how I feel.  But obviously, these are stereotypes and people are all individuals.

The thing is, though, that it's ok not to find all Sams equally helpful.

There have been times when I've called and got through then explained immediately or a bit later that what has helped most is just knowing someone's there that cares.  I thank them warmly and end the call.  I don't suppose it causes offence so long as they get a sense they've helped.

Ideas about ending calls - what about saying at the start that you're not sure how much battery your phone's got left or that you're having trouble with your phone line?  Then you can leave by saying "Hello?  Hello?  Aaah, wretched phone!"   Or what about ending the calls by saying something like "Oh, there's someone at the door!  I'd better go and sort it.  Thank you so much for being there."

(Now all I need to do is to work out how to end in-person interactions.  I never have a clue how and when to end an in-person interaction with a friend or neighbour.  I'm clueless on those little verbal and physical hints people give.)


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