By Rudi Araujo
Raj picked up the phone in the middle of the night. On the other end was a struggling woman who needed to share her story.
New motherhood. A sense of distance from her partner. Fractured relationships with her family. A history of trauma. That’s a lot to handle in the middle of the night. With a previous suicide attempt in her past, she knew she needed to reach out for help. She was receiving professional support on a regular basis, but at 1 a.m. she couldn’t reach anyone.
In the middle of the night, only a Crisis Centre responder was available to help.
The caller was dealing with severe postpartum depression. She felt isolated and angry and depressed. She was afraid she could hurt herself.
Raj recognized how delicate this particular call was and focused on helping her find ways to cope better in the moment and make it through the night. Over the phone, Raj provided a safe space in which her fears, failures, trauma, and shame could be acknowledged. He validated her conflict, and also her hopes for herself and her child.
Raj started volunteering at the Crisis Centre in September 2015. For him, every call is unique. The experience of talking to a person in distress varies greatly from person to person. Even so, Raj knows that holding a safe space for callers to share their reality gets people through to the next day, and that’s a powerful thing for another person to do.