Tell us about yourself and what are your pronouns?
Hello everyone who is reading this. My name is Gaye and I'm a Listener. My pronouns are ( She/her/hers) so female! It's funny how many take my name as a male name but it's not! I'm from the UK, England, divorced and live happily alone now with my small dog, and family members nearby.
HearMe leans into peer-to-peer support to foster greater empathy and compassion within each of us. How did you become a Listener for HearMe and how long have you been with us?
I saw an advert about HearMe and was intrigued and this led me to apply to be a Listener, answering questions, then being accepted for the internship. Which I passed with flying colours. Afterwards I decided to stay on as an experienced Listener because I loved it so much. So started off on the old HearMe and was there for 18 months.
The last few years have taken a toll, what are you looking forward to in 2023?
I guess what I'm looking forward to in 2023 is the end of the war in Ukraine and peace! Also for things to get better all over. Because we are all struggling in our own ways. These are indeed hard times.
What has your experience been as a Listener for HearMe?
My experience as a Listener is just that I've just loved being one!
Do you have a memorable moment with HearMe yet? If so, can you talk a little about what was going on, how you supported the person, and how you felt afterwards?
I think my most memorable moment was my very first chat. I think I was put in the deep end straight away. Because this person was in such a bad state she was self-harming and thinking of suicide. I ended up on this chat for a couple of hours and in the end, I turned it around and the girl actually said I made her smile, then laugh. That the chat had made her feel so good that she said she was going to start thinking about things differently, and with hope. It was a long chat that went from dark to light. And it actually made me see I could do this! And then there was no stopping me. So in a way we helped each other!
From your point of view, what is the importance of HearMe in the current state of the world?
I think HearMe is very important with all that is going on in this world at the moment. It gives people a safe place where they can vent out their feelings/ emotions, and say what they want to say with complete freedom and non-judgement. A support system they can keep coming to when they need too. And I believe it does make a difference!
What is something about mental health stigma you’d like to see change?
I would like all mental health stigma to change and for all people to be accepting of it. That it's always going to be here. That people need support, not judgement or prejudice. But kindness and understanding.
What impact has being a part of HearMe had on you?
Being a part of HearMe has had a really good impact on me. Now I know how important it is to really listen to a person, so they feel they have been seen, heard and validated. Also to be kind, patient, and emphatic and be there in the moment, to give all you can to help that person and make a difference.
When your time with HearMe comes to a close, what impact do you hope to have made?
I can't imagine not being part of HearMe to be honest, it's like a community and it's something I believe in and it makes me feel good on the whole. There are hard times too that can make me feel really sad. But I like the way we deal with people from countries from all over the world. This brings a new understanding that we are not so different from each other and creates a joining of people from all over. That makes us realize we are not alone!
As a Listener, how do you practice self-care?
As a Listener, my "self-care" is often spent alone being artistic or creative, or writing, or reading. Because some chats can be really heavy, this is my release button. Also walking in nature, listening to a calming piece of music, resting and drifting away.
What brings you joy these days?
My joy is being alive and trying to make the most of it because we only have one life. Also appreciating the beauty around me in nature, the sky, being by the sea, I love being in the sun. Also being with the people I love.
Any final words of wisdom or notes on the power of empathy you want to share?
I think empathy is the one way a Listener can step into another person’s shoes and actually start to see that person's side of things. Empathy can give us hope and meaning, it helps us solve problems, it makes the world a happier place. Empathy helps us feel connected to others, helps us feel valued, loved and cared for and of course for all our mental health being. So for my end quote, I have picked "Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself!"
Thanks for all your time and for reading! Gaye, Jan 2023