My experience calling GibSams
This month is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and as part of GibSams awareness campaign articles from the charity will be published weekly on Saturday’s throughout the month of September. This article was sent in anonymously by a GibSams caller.
One night, I found myself at a really low point. I just felt so down and so bad, I cannot put into words how it felt I would not wish those feelings on my worst enemy! Work was really stressful; my relationship was falling apart, and I felt that I had no one to talk to and nowhere to go! Yes, I have great friends and a loving family around me, but I just could not bring myself to open up and talk to them. I did not want to burden them with my worries, my personal demons, or problems.
A friend of mine kept sharing posts on social media from GibSams about how it is “Ok to not be Ok” and that is “good to talk”. But even though I knew she would probably understand how I was feeling, I also knew I could not call or message her. I decided maybe talking to a stranger might be helpful, I was so upset I knew I had to do something or if I did not, I might just not be there in the morning.
It took all my courage to tap the number 116123 into the phone, my hand was shaking, and I could feel myself feeling panicked. It took me a while to actually press the call button. I actually hung up the first time as soon as someone answered the phone.
But I forced myself to try again, to have courage although I have to say I was feeling like the worst coward ever. This time when they answered I stayed on the line for about a minute listening to their calm voice, asking how they could help me. I then plucked up the courage and responded. The volunteer I spoke to was truly kind and very calm, even when I kind of broke down, he never made me feel like I was a nobody or this mad person who was crying down the phone!
I was given time and space by the listener to take my time, and they reassured me that everything I said to them was totally confidential and that the calls were anonymous and they made me feel safe and cared for. Sometimes our friends and families can be so judgemental, always giving their opinions and always trying to fix things. Some things cannot be fixed!
Deep down I knew the answers to my problems, I did not need someone to fix me, but I really did need that space and time for someone to care enough to just listen for a change.
Life is not easy, things are tough. I had already lost a couple of close friends in the last couple of years to suicide and in a small community like ours that can be so hard on us all. I did not really want to end my life by suicide but at that point I just felt so bad, so tired and thought I was a burden to all my family and friends around me and that they would be better off without me!
But thanks to the kind and caring listener I spoke with at GibSams that evening, I am still here. They are living angels who give of their time to help others like me by volunteering 365 days a year, providing a much needed and valuable service to the community of Gibraltar.
One day I hope that I can be in a place where I can volunteer and train to be able to serve my community like they helped me. I am so grateful that we have this space available to us, so that we can call or chat with experienced trained listeners who really helped me to explore my feelings and see things clearly for the first time in many years.
I decided to write this article to highlight my experience and to reach out to others to say if you are struggling, please do not struggle alone. Even when things look so bad and bleak, there is always hope with the listeners at GibSams. They really do care and are so patient and kind with the callers that it helps to overcome that anxiety and worry that we have before the calls.
I am now in a better place and every day I give gratitude for still being here and able to share how grateful I am to GibSams for providing me with a lifeline when I needed it.