This was not the article I thought I would be writing today. It certainly isn’t the one I planned. And, for a few reasons, it took me all day to write it.
I feel that I’m really putting myself out there this time. That’s saying a lot because I’ve talked about so many personal things and struggles in this column. I don’t regret any of it because of the e-mails I receive from people saying that I helped them. That’s all I want.
But this column is different, because a lot of those things I’ve vocalized — out loud to someone.
I’ve never told anybody this — and now I’m about to tell the world — about using hotlines. I am 21 years old and I have hotline phone numbers saved as contacts in my phone.
I am inspired to write this piece because I’ve been going through a lot lately and these lines have been really, really helpful for me. I’ve been able to communicate, uncensored and without hurting anyone’s feelings, about my life, my experience and my feelings.
I have been to therapy and done all of that, and I am actively seeking a new therapist. But these hotlines can be some of the best allies a chronically ill person can have, and they can help you find other valuable resources in your area. There is much happening in the world right now, but there are so many resources available. No one should feel hopeless or alone, because you are not.
One of my favorite resources is Teen Health & Wellness. Here you will find resources for many topics, such as stress and anxiety (my personal favorite, which I often text when I am feeling overwhelmed), drugs, bullying, pregnancy, sexuality, HIV, AIDs, grief and loss, and more. I recommend bookmarking this website if you feel you may need it. It’s a hub of help and positivity.
Now that I’ve shared some resources, let me stress something. I know that when many people think of hotlines they automatically think of a suicide hotline. That is an essential resource for those who need it. But you do not need to be suicidal, or in a crisis, when you reach out for help for some of these other issues. You simply can be feeling overwhelmed and the need to talk to someone.
I mentioned that I text to the stress and anxiety hotline (text “answer” to 839863) YES. Many of today’s hotlines also have text numbers. This is the way that I prefer to reach out. I would be a bit embarrassed to call in. That might be a lot of pressure, and maybe I wouldn’t be as honest. I also don’t want someone to overhear the phone call. There are a lot of reasons people are no longer comfortable with the traditional hotline. But that’s okay because now there are other ways to get help.
Hotlines are wonderful, but the counselors get busy sometimes and it can take a while to respond, or can’t dedicate a huge amount of time for you. But you can always reach out again. These hotline volunteers are there to help you as often as you need.
I cannot thank these volunteers enough for doing what they do, day in and day out. It is so appreciated. If you’re reading this and you volunteer at a hotline, thank you.
Be well, readers. Take care of yourself and do it without shame. You matter.
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.