I get asked this question a lot and this promotional video from United Way / 211MD does a GREAT job of explaining just what a “typical” day looks like for me. And I’m not just saying this because it features yours truly! (I’m totally just saying this because it features yours truly.)
There’s no “usual” or “boring” day. Being a crisis counselor and resource specialist is more than just talking people off that literal ledge, it’s being there during someone’s worst moments and helping them realize they can get through this.
I was going to write this two months ago to mark a different anniversary, when I was laid off from a job that was the culmination of my career in entertainment and social media. The weeks and months ahead left me struggling with my self-esteem in a way that completely surprised me. I was going to take my time remembering the fear and anger, the sense of betrayal, and a resurgence of the depression I’ve struggled with my entire life.
But I changed my mind and decided to write this for a different milestone, celebrating when my life changed for the better in a way I hadn’t thought possible.
Crisis counseling was stumbled into on a total whim, after reading the job posting and thinking, ‘What the hell?’ Because hey, I’ve been through some SHIT. Good writing gigs are always hard to come by– at least, the kind that don’t make you question whether or not you’re a compassionate or productive member of society. So in the meantime, why not try <gasp> GIVING. BACK?!?
And you know what? This year of trying something totally new has become one of the most rewarding of my life. This job, while hard and emotionally draining at times, is also the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done professionally.
Yes, there are challenging calls and frustrating callers. There are also moments that are beautiful and profound that leave me walking away from my shift feeling like I’ve actually made a difference in the universe today, even if it’s just because of one conversation. It’s the most tangible proof I’ve ever had that I’m not alone, and we can still connect with total strangers in a way that can be life-changing.
So far I’ve figured this out: the Me from a year ago that thought my professional life was over was right in a way. That part of my life – the hustle for leads and scramble for pitches, the constant checking of feeds and measuring of trends – that part is over, for now. Just… for now. And maybe… it’s over forever… I’m at peace with that too if that’s how the cards lay out.
It’s been a year of a different life, a different career, a different purpose, and it’s been one of the best. I thought my life was imploding, now I know that wasn’t the end. But at the time I was so immersed in the pain that I just couldn’t see that, and maybe it’s like that for others, and if I can help in any way it’s to say this:
Please don’t give up – there’s always a chance that it can get better. Sometimes it’s working hard and keeping that chin up, sometimes it’s just getting to the next day and trying again, but never doubt that great things can be ahead if you keep fighting for them.