7cups.com is an amazing website if you have never heard of it please check it out. It is a wonderful online community all about listening to people in need. It is not a crisis hotline. It is more about those times when you feel desperately alone, confused, and just need to talk it out with someone other then the twisted up voices in your own head.
I have two accounts there. I have joined as a member, where I can connect to listeners, enter chatrooms, and follow my growth path and self help guides with topics like mindfulness, stress relief, anxiety and depression support. My other account, I recently trained as a listener. I had to take some training, a test, and now I can be on the helping end for others in need.
I love it.
Depending on my day and state of mind, it depends on which account I use to log in. Do I need help now? Or can I listen to and help others now?
I love that it is clearly defined in these roles, that one is there to receive support, and one gives support and empathy. The listener is not a therapist and clearly says so. The listener is trained not to give advice, only to use active listening to guide a member through an issue and offer empathy and understanding, a human connection, a shoulder to lean on.
Here is my home page if you are curious:
You can see my progress on my listener growth path, the chat area, the prompts trending for twitter like questions in the forums about anything and everything…and also notice that 16 people are currently waiting for a listener. I have been online when that number was 42 and I do my best to talk to a few at a time but it can be difficult. You can see more listeners are needed.
Some examples of when I logged in as a member in need:
- After a big argument with Hubby
- Feeling anxious to get out of the house
- After triggering therapy homework
- Grieving for my mom
- Before I need to do something that scares me and I need confidence
Some examples of topics I have listened to from other members:
- Concerned boyfried might be cheating
- Anxious about upcoming divorce
- Lacking confidence to apply to college
- No support from parents
- Feeling more depressed, afraid to go to doctor
- Social anxiety, trouble speaking up
I wish I could be more clear headed to log in and listen all day every day. But I know I can’t. But when I do, it is a great feeling to connect with someone right when they need someone. Unlike being a therapist, this is more like being a friend, so I am not responsible for their growth although I do encourage it and can refer them to online therapists there as well if I feel the situation is over my head.
When was the last time you felt truly heard? That you spoke and the other person listened – for the purpose of listening? It does not happen to me in real life. I can tell you that, not without paying a therapist.
I do have to warn you, that many listeners can appear robotic in their responses. I see. I understand. Tell me more. And they don’t add much to it. That experience is not so great and you get to leave feedback about it and choose someone else next time, or end the chat at any time. I am still learning, and it is valuable to work through the ‘certifications’ they offer on different topics, like family stress, eating disorders, self harm, and so much more.
My listener name in there is MysticRhythms. I debated posting this or not. I figure whoever actually reads this blog and then chooses to find me to chat with me in 7cups there, well fine with me. It is another anonymous platform, so if it helps that you know my history here to talk to me there, all the better. I may be uploading a new profile pic soon, as I selected one of theirs to get started.
I have not been using my member account much since I became a listener. Instead I go in and chat with other listeners in the hangout area or get another certification, or lurk in a member chat area. Sometimes just reading the other chats, just being in the room is enough to calm me down and see other people exist in the world and get me up out of my dark spot.
People helping people. for free. because we want to. because we can. How cool is this?