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Day 24 of 100 Days

Sarah Swaysland

Sunday, 24th January, 2021

It was good to be back in the Shout game today, with a busy shift to keep me going. It's always good to be back with the Shout crew, and I had some excellent musical company to fuel me whilst I was texting.

What: Crisis Volunteering
Organisation: Shout 85258

It was great to be back on Shout for a proper shift, as my previous ‘shift’ was an unexpected bonus conversation that was added to my day when I was on the platform for a different reason. I always learn something new when I work a Shout shift. One of the things that sunk in for me on today’s shift was the simple fact that small steps are still designed to take you forward. I know how completely obvious that sounds, and I'm talking like it's a revelation, but when everything is mentally cloudy, it's difficult to see in front of you. I was talking through a problem with a texter, and it hit me that texting in to Shout can be the first of many steps for someone who is feeling hopeless, and it means something that I can be on the other end of that.

What also dawned on me was that while this pandemic has made it really easy for people to feel lonely, being lonely is not easy. In the current climate, loneliness is a prevalent condition in itself and can be just as unhealthy to the mind as sugar is to the body. When you have nothing but the negative rhetoric in the constant news flow to keep you company, as well as social media making you feel judged and inadequate, it’s no wonder you have to turn to yourself for comfort – and when you're not mentally healthy, you don't always give yourself the best counsel. Another one of the reasons that I’m doing this 100 days of volunteering (the reasons keep on coming to me, it's a part of the journey) is because I’d be supremely lonely if I had no one to talk to. I’m naturally extrovert, so crave the act of interacting with people. That’s not to say that introverts can’t feel loneliness, because of course they can. Loneliness just manifests itself different ways in different people – I’m not exactly going to say how because I couldn’t possibly speak for the millions of introverts out there.

Joining me on my shift as musical support were Split Enz (True Colours), Carly Simon (No Secrets) and The Tubes (Don't Want To Wait Anymore). I grew up with Split Enz and The Tubes and haven’t listened to either in such a long time. Split Enz are the crazy Kiwi guys who went on to found Crowded House and The Tubes are the crazy Californian band who stayed crazy and have been touring the hell out of the world for almost 50 years. Carly Simon is a real comfort album; she is so good! She is definitely added to the ‘safe space’ record pile and is someone I continue to return to regularly because her voice is just mesmerising.

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