Secrets – When You Hold and When You Receive

There is a saying that we are as sick as our deepest secret. What happens when we keep what we see as our most shameful or hurtful secret to ourselves?

stock-photo-20604007-young-woman-looking-through-red-curtains-rear-viewSecrets have a tendency to fester and grow until they consume us. They can infect our mental, physical and spiritual health and  because we don’t reach out to someone else for comfort, guidance, healing, or even a listening ear, we feel alone. The secret most often takes on a life of its own. It can double, triple and often quadruple in our minds. Are  we really objective about our own transgressions or do we minimize or maximize?

12363983-upset-mom-with-frustrated-daughter-over-green-backgroundIf we stay in our own heads, we are not exposed to reason or forgiveness of others or ourselves. Most often, when we hold secrets concerning our emotions, circumstances, incidents or missteps, the knowledge becomes like a splinter. It may start out like a splinter of  minor thought, action or event but it festers into a pus filled volcano of emotion that can no longer be contained. That emotion can take the form of anger, confusion or sadness. Have you ever exploded at someone in unreasonable circumstances and wondered, “Where did that come from?” We have shamed, blamed and punished ourselves for so long that the pressure has built up to a point where it can no longer be contained.

19287090-dice-un-secretoAm I suggesting that you open up to everyone you know? No way! Choosing who you tell is as important as the telling. Choose someone with whom you feel totally comfortable. Sometimes a total stranger can be that person because they can be unbiased and have nothing to gain by betraying your confidence. Trust is an important ingredient in choosing someone to whom you are willing to expose your vulnerability. I ask myself if the secret is just too juicy for them to repeat?
Family conflictThere is often a worry that we are putting someone on the spot
by asking them to keep our secrets. When you are put into the position where you feel that the secret needs to be repeated, just remind yourself  that it is not your story to tell. If our confider wanted others to know, they would have told them. By repeating the secret, we are telling them that they were right not to confide in anyone and next time they won’t and are back to square one. Also, repeating the secret to someone who may be affected will inhibit the confider’s opportunity to work through the situation on their own. Confronting or admitting deep held secrets is an opportunity to grow and/or gain confidence.

Even the word “Secret” has taken on a bad word connotation as in: not being nice to keep secrets, secret life, secret meeting or secret bank account etc. I rarely have secrets that I have not confided in someone. Some think that I should not “tell on myself” but I choose to live happy, joyous and free and to me that means purging myself of my secrets and accepting forgiveness even if that forgiveness is only my own.

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P3

Our grandson, P3, is visiting for about a month and we are so enjoying his visit. He is five and so handsome and entertaining. We have been anxious for our grandchildren to experience all that is Colorado but with school and cost etc. it wasn’t happenin’. His dad drove him up here for a ski trip and we are convenient lodging. Danny, P3 and his dad went downhill skiing for a dad and pop pop day. He looked so cute in his ski bib, jacket and one of my hats. He wanted to stay home with NeNe but there was no way we were going to let him miss a ski adventure. He told his dad and pop pop that he was not going to ski. His pop pop said, “I’m going to ski.” to which he responded, “I’m going to ski too.”

His father went on a side trip to Denver and most likely will head back to Texas from there. We are making a trip to Texas at the end of March so we will have our little man until then. He is in Montessori School so we are amazed at the words and knowledge that he spouts. But he has always been an intelligent kid, after all his dad is an Anesthesiologist and his grandfather is a brilliant Pharmacist so he obviously inherited the genes.

When we talked to him on the phone, he kept asking if we built him a snowman and, of course, we fibbed and said, “Yes.” and told him it was in the freezer. Danny and I kept reminding each other that we needed to build a snowman before P3 got here but since we had no idea how to go about it, we never did. When he got here, we told him the snowman melted so he needed to build another one. Yesterday I reminded him that he needed to build a snowman and he asked if we had done the “L” word to him about our having built him one. Danny said to me in an aside, “Why did you bring it up?” I just shrugged my shoulders because I have learned that the best way out of lie is to tell the truth. So I told P3 that we really hadn’t built him a snowman, that we were just “joking” and that I was sorry that we had lied. That answer was a “Catch 22” for him because he is always telling fibs and when he is confronted says, “I was just joking.”

He sometimes gets his emotions confused apparently because when his pop pop was teasing him about not getting a toy, he kept saying, “Pop pop you embarrassed me.” Poor Danny Darlin’ didn’t know what to make of that.” but I got it. I corrected P3 by explaining the difference between “angry” and “embarrassed”. Of course, he spent the rest of our day trip telling his pop pop that he is angry with him. DD should be used to it though, he has nine grandchildren. It doesn’t help that P3 keeps telling his dad and his pop pop that he loves me more than them. Makes me feel good though cause he is the only one that favors me over their pop pop.

I got the privilege of taking him to buy a toy, one of my favorite things to do. We spent quite some time on the Leggo aisle. I kept pointing out this one and that one and he would reject them. Finally, I showed him a Star Wars kit that he liked but he would not give me credit. He and his pop  pop put it together last night and he continued to play with it by himself at the table even after we left the room. This morning he informed me that Hans Solo is dead. On an up note, he gave me credit for picking it out with one hand and then added that he actually saw it first. Whatever…

We don’t have kid channels on satellite TV and He keeps telling us that we have to go to the toy store because we have no toys. We had so many toys before we left Texas and what their parents didn’t want, we gave away. So he’s right but the good thing is that he’s not so focused on toys and television that we don’t get to enjoy introducing him to Colorado and spending quality time.

P3 is well mannered, loving, funny, intelligent and mischievous. Works for me!

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20 Years Later

Have you ever looked at the ways that you and your spouse complement each other, how you  are alike, and how you differ?

Danny and I complement each other in these ways:

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  • I like the soft fluffy french fries, he like the crispy, skinny ones.
  • I like the middle slices of bread, he likes the heel.
  • I like to feed the fish, he likes to feed the cats.
  • I like to pull weeds and he likes to cut the grass.
  • I like to decide where the pictures will go on the wall, he likes to hang them.
  • He likes to clean the garage and I like to clean the house.

 

We have these things in common:

 

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  • We are both people persons.
  • Neither of us ever met a stranger.
  • We both like spicy foods.
  • We have very similar tastes in decor.
  • We both love left-overs.
  • We both love nature.
  • We both love cats and fish.
  • We both love Subaru’s.
  • We both enjoy off-road adventures.
  • We both like to eat out at the same restaurants.
  • Our family backgrounds are similar.
  • We are both family oriented.
  • We both like psychological thrillers.
  • We have the same spiritual beliefs.
  • Our family backgrounds are similar.

 

We have these differences:

 

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  • He is the glass half-full and I am the glass half-empty.
  • He is oblivious to his aches and pains and I am sensitive to mine.
  • He keeps his own counsel and I verbalize everything.
  • He is the dreamer and I am the realist.
  • He researches everything and I fly by the seat of my pants.
  • He is task oriented and I get side tracked.
  • I am impulsive and he is methodical.
  • If I think something, I voice it. He thinks about something before he voices it.
  • I stick, he runs.
  • What’s his is yours, what’s mine is mine.
  • He is athletic, I am not.

 

The thing is…

We have had scary moments.

 

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We have had ecstatic moments.

 

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We have had angry moments.

 

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We have had peaceful moments.

 

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We have been on the same page.

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We have been in different books.

 

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But after 20 years, we are still two halves of a whole.

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See Something, Say Something, Do Something

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When I was in a domestic violence situation, there were many opportunities for intervention by acquaintances and strangers who witnessed the abuse. Yet no one wanted to get involved and I did everything I could to keep up appearances.

I was silently screaming for help but was too ashamed to reach out. How I wanted someone to care enough to take the situation out of my hands, to force me to leave. I suppose acquaintances were afraid of my ex because it was obvious that he was vindictive. My family respected my boundaries and honored my choices leaving me to feel love for their lack of interference and resentment for their lack of interference. Domestic violence victims experience many emotions, one being confusion.

I have been publicly humiliated, threatened and emotionally, physically and verbally abused to which there were witnesses – Strangers, acquaintances, family and friends. No one had the courage to stand up for me or even reach out to me. The two times I reached out to acquaintances, they told me that they didn’t want to get involved because they didn’t want to lose his business/friendship. My family respected my choices and boundaries even though they disapproved. I have never been more alone.

The thing is that most victims of domestic violence are like children, they feel helpless and they obviously live in fear. People in general are afraid of losing the victim’s friendship or love by what they consider to be interference. There is also a fear of crossing the victim’s boundaries. To those people I say, “Would you prefer to risk their losing their lives or having a psychotic break or risk their being angry and/or losing their friendship/love?”

I believe that when you love and/or care about someone, you have a responsibility to have the hard conversations. There are times when you have to put another person’s health and well-being before your own feelings and fears. I am not asking that you put your own life at risk but there are things that can be done safely such as:

  • Have a conversation regarding their situation calmly and rationally.
  • Explore options with the victim to staying in the relationship.
  • Offer financial or housing assistance until they can get stabilized.
  • Help the victim make a safety and/or escape plan.
  • Supply them with the number to a Domestic Violence Shelter and/or Hotline
  • Offer the victim transportation to a shelter.
  • Let them know they can reach out to you any time day or night.
  • Encourage them to report the abuse to law enforcement.
  • Call the police.
  • Create a distraction giving the victim a chance to escape.
  • When strangers, make it obvious to the abuser that they have been observed, therefore, can be identified.

Unfortunately, the decision to leave has to be the victim’s. Often there are circumstances which prevent them from leaving such as lack of funds, no place to go, children’s safety etc. When a victim is forced to leave or take action, more times than not they can be easily enticed by the abuser to go back.

Please don’t make excuses to look the other way. If one day your son or daughter became a victim of domestic violence, what would you want someone to do?

Kindness of Strangers

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One night, I found myself abandoned on the service road of a freeway with no gas in my car and a half-full gas can. The gas can nozzle was meant for a lawn mower so I couldn’t get much fuel in the car. My ex-boyfriend/later husband had pushed me out of his car with this gas can and left me to my own devices. I had committed the crime of “forcing” his mother to cross the service road to a McDonald’s rather than leaving her in the car on the service road alone while I went to call him for assistance. This was before cell phones were in every hand and roadside assistance was not a standard insurance perk.

Once I got some gas fumes in my car, I drove it as far as I could before it was dry again. I was able to pull into a Mustang Tractor drive and feeling distraught started walking. By this time, it was close to midnight. I had never risked anything like walking down down a freeway alone at night before because no one I had known would have put me in that situation. I was in too much emotional pain to feel fear and trying to make a decision as to whether to call a friend or family member to pick me up. I decided I was too embarrassed for anyone to know that I would put up with this type of treatment, one of my character flaws. Appearances at all cost.

A mini-van stopped and a man asked if I needed help and I told him about the gas can problem. He asked if he could give me a ride back to my car to see if he could remedy the situation. He saw that I was hesitant so he told me that his wife and mother-in-law were in the vehicle with him and that they had been to a church event that evening. On the drive back to my car, he asked me what I was doing on the freeway with a gas can. It was obvious that he wondered why someone would give me a can of gas and leave me without making sure I got my car running.  I told him that I didn’t want to talk about it and he didn’t push. When we got to my car, he broke a beer bottle he found on the ground and used the neck as a funnel. He then followed me to the gas station to make sure I got there safely.

When I got home, I was furious and let my boyfriend know that he had left me in a dangerous situation. He knew he looked like an ass so he comforted me with apologies. The next morning, his mother tried to fan the flames as was usual in order to show me who had the power over him. This got his stepfather involved who made disparaging remarks about my coping skills. Surprisingly, my boyfriend took up for me saying that he had put me in harm’s way so he couldn’t give me a hard time.

I will never forget the kindness of the family who rescued me. This man was reaching out to me having correctly guessed that I was in an abusive situation. At times I wish I had confided in him, his wife and mother-in-law and maybe, just maybe, they would have encouraged me to help myself sooner than I did.

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Beyond the Political Stage

Oddly, I found myself in tears as I read an article about how the Trump campaign had a plan to have 3 women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual improprieties towards them confront him on national television.

This is not the first time I have experienced this sadness throughout this campaign as I watch the negativity increase. I am very uncomfortable with the cruel remarks thrown at Hilary Clinton. I don’t know if it is because I have read her book and followed her personal life or if it is just discomfort at all she is and is not. I see her downfalls but I am able to set those aside and see her as a strong woman. I cannot dismiss all the positive she has done. There was a time that I saw her as a selfish manipulative woman when she and her husband left the White House taking the furniture with them.

Looking past her sense of entitlement I see the woman who I have found truly loves her husband with all his faults. She has been publicly humiliated so many times and has held her head up and gone forward. She has sacrificed her right to be seen as a mother, wife and friend in order to do what she has the talent to do to help her country and everyone in it.

Hilary is being criticized for the way she has confronted her husband’s infidelity and the women involved but I ask myself what it would be like to be in her shoes. Many women would behave as she did but they wouldn’t be in the public arena.

What do I feel about Bill Clinton? He has also done a lot for our country but he has a sickness that I find repulsive. There was a time that I thought Hilary only stayed with Bill because they had a deal, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” I don’t know if that is the case but I think that she loves him in a way that he is not capable of returning.” Having had the opportunity to show his love for her, he only lifts her up as a humanitarian and politician. He doesn’t show or express his love for her in a way that would show the soft side of her. Has she just been a means to an end? He is like a child who has to be controlled and when he is let out to play, his lack of finesse shows. To me, he’s like the husband of a friend that you just put up with for her sake.

Hilary is in a “no win” situation with regard to her personality. If she shows her soft side, she is too soft to be President and when she shows her business side, she isn’t soft enough. When she missteps, the world is there to see. Am I voting for her? I don’t know but I know that as tempted as I have been with all Trump’s promises, I cannot see past him as a person. I can’t see myself voting for him for anything. I have never admired him throughout my life so why would I support him?

Why the tears? I think perhaps all this brings up the sadness of my childhood involving infidelity and chaos. Additionally, it is because when we dismiss political correctness, we are left with such ugliness and lack of compassion, anything goes. I am starting to see the days of chaos and no credible laws of the Roman Empire returning.

It is my belief that the reason the USA is desirable is that we were at least organized and had a sense of decorum. The Unites States was seen as a strong country and I see it weakening on all levels as every day goes by. When anything goes, will we survive as a united country?

Taking the Time to Consider

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I recently read about a 15 year old girl who had a premature baby in her bedroom. The baby was born alive, weighed 2+ pounds and the girl threw the baby out the window. The baby died.

I find myself trying to assess blame. Do I blame the 15 year old girl for being heartless and not taking responsibility for having gotten pregnant? Do I blame the father of the baby for getting a 15 year old girl pregnant? Or, do I blame the parents of the 15 year old girl who had not built a relationship with their daughter based on trust. A relationship that would enable her to turn to them  when she is in trouble. A foundation that would ensure that their daughter would know that though her parents would be disappointed and upset, they would get her through any situation.

The truth is that I don’t know the intimate details of the story or even the parents side. The reporter wasn’t interested in writing about the human side of the story or may have been prevented by the girl’s age. Was the girl molested by an adult, was the father an older boy, were the parents aware that she was pregnant, had plans been made for finding another home for the child, did her parents plan to raise the baby? The publication only seemed to care about the shock factor and I rushed to judgement based on the little information presented. It is good that I waited a couple of days to write this so that I have had time to ask myself the hard questions. Who am I to judge, where is my compassion, what were the circumstances and the really hard one – what made me read the article?

I wish I could tell you that I won’t read such articles in the future but that would not be the truth. I know myself well enough that there is no doubt that I will continue to read articles pertaining to child abuse, neglect and murder. I must admit that the shock value attracts  me as it gives me a thrill and a target for my outrage and anger. But there’s something else it gives me and that is insight and compassion. I come into contact with young girls who desperately need someone to talk to and they are very much afraid. The reasons they are afraid vary but they don’t feel that they can talk to their parents. These girls need encouragement and reassurance that they can get through any situation. Talking with these girls builds compassion and dampens the rage and anger because I can do something to help.

I write a lot about my mother and how her alcoholism affected my life. What may not get across is how very much I appreciate her as a mother. I did not have to hide anything and could always turn to her. Did I know she would be angry and/or disappointed? Yes, but that did not stop me because in the end, I knew that I did not have to go through anything alone. My mother is all about unconditional love and understanding. My parents allowed me to make important decisions about my life even though they did not always agree. They taught me independence and self reliance. My mother worries about me because I am the middle child who expresses her deepest emotions and she sees that as a weakness. She is only late in life coming to understand that emotions are healthier when they don’t have to be hidden. She doesn’t have to worry about me because thanks to her and my dad, my core is solid, emotional but solid.

Useful Mental Health Lifelines

    Hotline List

    Hotline List

    Resources when and where you need them.

    We’ve Got Friends Who Can Help

    Worried about a friend? Dealing with some issues of your own? There are trained people who can help.

    If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local police station.

    General Crisis Support by Text

    Crisis Text Line: Text SUPPORT to 741-741 (24/7). Our trained counselors can discuss anything that’s on your mind. Free, 24/7, confidential.

    Other Hotlines

    Depression & Suicide
    The Trevor Project Call 866-488-7386 (24/7) Live Chat with the Trevor Project (Fridays 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST)

    Dating Abuse & Domestic Violence
    loveisrespect Call 1-866-331-9474 (24/7)
    Chat Online with loveisrespect (7 days/week, 5:00 PM to 3:00 AM EST) or text loveis to 22522

    National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 1-800-799-7233 (24/7) Email the National Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7)
    RAINN: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network Call 1-800-656-4673 (24/7) Live Chat with RAINN (24/7)

    Child Abuse
    Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline Call 1-800-422-4453 (24/7)
    National Safe Place Text SAFE and your current location to the number 69866 (24/7)

    Runaways, Homeless, and At-Risk Youth
    National Runaway Safeline Call 1-800-786-2929 (24/7) Live Chat 7 days/week, 4:30 to 11:30 PM CST
    Home Free Family reunification program provides free bus tickets to eligible runaway and homeless youth.

    Crisis Text Line (CTL)

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    If you are interested in doing volunteer work that you can do from home, here is an idea for you:

    While working as a Crisis Telephone Counselor for Crisis Hotline (CHL), we assisted CTL when we could so I am familiar with this organization. Now that I am no longer employed or volunteer with CHL due to having relocated, I have entered the volunteer program at CTL. Though I have been through a version of their training as a continuing education requirement and having been through CHL’s training, I am finding the CTL volunteer training to be very beneficial. This is a rewarding endeavor and for those who like doing things for others anonymously, this is your ticket. All training and working on the texting platform is done from your computer at home. You set your own schedule and the text line is open 24/7 so working it into your personal schedule isn’t difficult.

    If you are nervous about crisis support, let me reassure you that you will be well-trained and their training includes live observations. Also, you will have all the tools you need right in front of you. All texts are monitored by a supervisor who is always available if you get stuck or need assistance. Though it is a mandatory reporting agency for imminent risk of suicide or homicide as well as child abuse, the reporting is actually done by the supervisor, however, these instances do not occur often. The way I look at it is “It’s just a conversation.” There is no script but you will learn active listening and productive conversation.

    Rather than quote all the information regarding CTL, I am posting their FAQ sheet. You can also go to crisistextline.org

    Text START to 741-741

    FAQ

    Jump to

    Texting in
    Data
    Donate
    Financials
    Partnerships
    Tech Issues
    Media
    Volunteers
    Our Approach

    TEXTING IN

    Q: HOW DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK?

    A:

    1. You text 741741 when in crisis. Available 24/7 in the USA.
    2. A live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly.
    3. The crisis counselor helps you move from a hot moment to a cool calm to stay safe and healthy using effective active listening and suggested referrals – all through text message using Crisis Text Line’s secure platform.

    Q: WHO SHOULD TEXT IN?

    A: We exist to help anyone in crisis at any time.

    Q: WHO ANSWERS THE TEXT MESSAGES?

    A: Crisis Text Line crisis counselors are both rigorously trained volunteers and employees of our crisis center partners.

    Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT WHEN I TEXT IN?

    A: You’ll receive an automated text asking you what your crisis is. Within minutes, a live trained crisis counselor will answer your text. They will help you out of your moment of crisis and work with you to create a plan to continue to feel better.

    Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE ACTUALLY ANONYMOUS?

    A: Yes. Crisis counselors only know what texters share with them, and that information stays confidential. We take your anonymity seriously. Check out our terms of service here.

    Q: HOW MUCH DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE COST?

    A: We do not charge texters. If your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon, texts to our short code, 741741 are free of charge. If you have a plan with a different carrier, standard text message rates apply.

    Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE SHOW UP ON MY CELL PHONE BILL?

    A: Nothing will appear on your bill if your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon. If your plan is with another carrier our short code, 741741 will appear on your billing statement. Read about how this happened here.

    Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK WITH MY PHONE?

    A: Crisis Text Line works on all major US carriers, and most minor regional carriers. However, shortcodes (like 741741) are not allowed on many prepaid plans like T-Mobile’s.

    Q: I HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE WHEN I TEXTED IN, CAN I TEXT IN AGAIN?

    A: You can text in again, if you are experiencing a crisis. However, you should not feel dependent on us. Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for long-term counseling, in-person therapy, or a friend.

    Q: HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO TEXT WITH A CRISIS COUNSELOR?

    A: Our goal is to respond to every texter in under 5 minutes. During high volume times, such as at night or when people are talking about us on social media, wait times may be longer.

    Q: IS THERE A CHARACTER LIMIT WHEN TEXTING CRISIS TEXT LINE?

    A: Yes, our system is only able to process 140 characters in one message.

    Q: WHY AM I RECEIVING AN ERROR MESSAGE OR NO RESPONSE AT ALL?

    Sadly, there are some carriers who have not adopted the use of shortcodes–and the small percentage of people with these phones, can’t use Crisis Text Line. (We hear that sometimes you get an auto-error response. Sometimes nothing at all. We know this is shitty and we wish those carriers would enable us). If your phone carrier doesn’t enable shortcodes, here is a list of hotlines you can call.

    Q: IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY TO REACH CRISIS TEXT LINE BESIDES TEXT?

    A: Yes, you can reach us through Facebook Messenger. Access to message Crisis Text Line is located through Facebook’s Safety checkpoint. This is accessible by flagging a user’s post.

    Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, DOES ANONYMITY APPLY?

    A: Yes. We do not have access to your Facebook profile. The only know information about you that we’ll know is what you share with us.

    Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHO HAS ACCESS TO THE DATA?

    A: Three parties: you (in your Messenger thread), Crisis Text Line, and Facebook.

    Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER AND I WANT MY DATA DELETED, WHAT DO I DO?

    A: Message us back with the word ‘LOOFAH’. We’ll scrub your data from our system, and make a request to Facebook to do the same.

    Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHICH TERMS OF SERVICE APPLY TO ME?

    A: By contacting Crisis Text Line through Facebook Messenger, users agree to Facebook Messenger’s Terms of Service, as well as Crisis Text Line’s Terms of Service.

    Q: WHAT ARE ALL OF THE CRISIS ISSUES YOU TRACK? CAN YOU ADD MORE?

    A: See the issues we track at www.crisistrends.org. If you’re a researcher or practitioner with interest in another issue, submit your suggestion in the form at the bottom of www.crisistrends.org.

    Q: WHO CAN APPLY FOR ACCESS TO CRISIS TEXT LINE’S DATA?

    A: Data access is available to approved academic researchers. The application will be available here in late January 2016. Otherwise, please visit www.crisistrends.org to see the latest trends in how texters are experiencing crisis.

    DONATE

    Q: HOW CAN I DONATE TO CRISIS TEXT LINE?

    A: You can donate via Paypal (link here) or by sending a check to:
    Crisis Text Line
    Attn: Finance Dept.
    24 West 25th Street, 6th Fl
    New York, NY 10010

    Q: IS MY DONATION TO CRISIS TEXT LINE TAX DEDUCTIBLE?

    A: Yes! Upon receiving your donation, we’ll send you a thank you letter that clarifies your donation is tax deductible.

    FINANCIALS

    Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE REALLY A NOT FOR PROFIT?

    A: Yes, we are! Here are our latest financials as proof.

    Q: HOW IS CRISIS TEXT LINE FUNDED?

    A: We’re privately funded. This means we receive funding from foundations, individuals, and corporations.

    Q: WHERE CAN I FIND CRISIS TEXT LINE’S FORM 990?

    A: 2014 here and 2015 here.

    Q: I SAW YOU RAISED A BUNCH OF MONEY (WOOHOO!) FOR THE ORG. WHERE IS IT ALL GOING?

    A: We are focused on three main initiatives: (1) supporting our Crisis Counselor community with better products and more emotional support, (2) integrating with tech companies to provide support to users inside things like After School, Kik, YouTube, and Facebook Messenger, (3) white labeling our service for other orgs and locations– providing a free text service for the National Eating Disorder Association and cities like Newark and Atlanta.

    PARTNERSHIPS

    Q: WHO CAN PARTNER WITH CRISIS TEXT LINE?

    A: We partner with not-for-profits, colleges and universities, and corporations. Want to partner? Fill out this form!

    TECH ISSUES

    Having technical issues with the site or text line? Check out our Help Center.

    MEDIA

    Q: CAN I GET MARKETING MATERIALS WITH THE CRISIS TEXT LINE SHORT CODE TO SHARE WITH MY COMMUNITY?

    A: Absolutely. Download our Volunteer Flyer or Text Flyer.

    Q: WHOM I CONTACT FOR A PRESS INQUIRY?

    A: Email support@crisistextline.org

    VOLUNTEERS

    Q: HOW CAN I BECOME A VOLUNTEER?

    A: We are always accepting applications! Apply Here.

    Q: WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A VOLUNTEER?

    A: To become a Crisis Counselor, you must:

    1. Pass a background check – that means no felonies and no violent or sex-offense misdemeanors
    2. Have a US Social Security number (in order to complete the background check)
    3. Be at least 18 years old
    4. Have access to a computer with a secure, reliable internet connection
    5. Commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year

    Q: WHAT’S THE TIME COMMITMENT OF VOLUNTEERS?

    A: We ask our volunteers to commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year. Volunteers are able to break up their commitment into two 2-hour shifts each week if they would like.

    Q: HOW ARE VOLUNTEERS TRAINED?

    A: After a rigorous application process, our volunteers complete a 34 hour training course over 6 weeks. This includes ongoing simulated conversations and personalized feedback from our experienced trainers as well as 8 hours of on-platform observation. Training content is based on best practices in crisis counseling and Crisis Text Line data.

    Q: WHEN IS YOUR NEXT CRISIS COUNSELOR TRAINING?

    A: We accept applications on a rolling basis. A new training cohort starts every two weeks, so apply whenever you want! We’re excited to meet you!

    Q: WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING A CRISIS COUNSELOR VOLUNTEER?

    A: Check out our blog to read stories from our volunteers.

    Q: ARE VOLUNTEERS SUPERVISED?

    A: Yes. Our experienced supervisors oversee and assist our volunteers, when necessary, while on the platform.

    OUR APPROACH

    Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE COUNSELING?

    A: No, our specialists do not counsel, but rather practice active listening to help texters move from a hot moment to a cool calm.

    Q: WHAT IS ACTIVE LISTENING?

    A: Active listening is when someone communicates in a way that is empathetic, understanding, and respectful. It includes focus on the texter and thoughtful answers.

    Q: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRISIS TEXT LINE AND THERAPY?

    A: Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for therapy. Therapy includes a diagnosis made by a doctor, a treatment plan of action, and a patient/therapist relationship. Crisis Text Line helps people in moments of crisis. Our crisis counselors practice active listening to help our texters find calm and create an action plan for themselves to continue to feel better. Crisis Text Line’s crisis counselors are not therapists.

    Q: WHO STARTED CRISIS TEXT LINE?

    A: We were founded by our CEO, Nancy Lublin. After seeing a need for the service we provide, Nancy hired a team to build what is our current platform. The original team included a data scientist and an engineer. Hear our story here.

     

    Didn’t find your answer? Check out our Help Center or email support@crisistextline.org.

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    Help Make it Happen

    Want to start a crisis text line in your country? international@crisistextline.org

    We’re hiring:
    Apply now

    Press inquiry?

    Email press@crisistextline.org
    If you are in crisis, text START to 741-741.

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