Day 4 of 100 Days

Sarah Swaysland

Monday, 4th January 2021

It was a Shout shift for Day 4, and it was a really busy shift. I'm not saying exactly when I was on, but let's just say news of an impending lockdown was in the air and people needed an empathetic ear.

What: Crisis Volunteering
Organisation: Shout 85258

It will probably come as no surprise to you that whenever Boris is about to make an announcement, it gets busier on the Shout platform in the days and hours leading up to it. I’m not entirely sure that any of our government or anyone in any sort of power really understands the true impact of their announcements on mental health, but having been a volunteer on the Shout platform since October 2020, I think I do. This year, when people have most needed to be together, we have been kept apart by something we can't see. As a result, people are struggling and need someone to talk to which means there needs to be people on the other end to listen.

Without talking about when I was on the platform or what any of my texters said, this shift in particular took quite a lot out of me. I ended up being on the platform for a lot longer than I'd originally planned and there was a real sense of unease from the texters because of the fact that most of the country would be entering a new tier of lockdown. The word 'lockdown' is problematic in itself because it invokes a feeling of being trapped and confined, which causes anxiety especially when this word is so widely heard. The only word I am more fed-up with right now is 2020's most overused word: unprecedented. At least they've stopped saying unprecedented in every third sentence.

On my shift, I listened to David Bowie (Labyrinth and Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust), Simon and Garfunkel (Bridge Over Troubled Water) and Abba (Arrival) and then it was silent for a while because it got really busy and I didn't have time to change the record. It was bit of a classics shift, but I tend to gravitate towards the classics when I take a Shout shift because they take me to a safe space and that's important when concentrating. I love heavy metal, but I'm definitely not going to crack out Number of the Beast when trying to help people feel less anxious. Not appropriate.