One of WHISC’s wonderful volunteers is Claire. Here she speaks of her experience of a Listening Ear…

My name is Claire (known as Moon to my friends) and I am someone who’s struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. It has become a part of my everyday life. However, certain things can exacerbate it – such as the series of storms we had at the beginning of the year. If you’ve ever experienced anxiety, you’ll know how debilitating it can be. Nor does logic do much to counter it. So, even though common sense said there was minimal chance of my house collapsing in one of the storms, it wasn’t stopping me sleeping downstairs on the sitting room floor because I was too scared to be upstairs.

At the same time as we were experiencing the storms, coronavirus began to dominate the news. When I heard how this affected people, making it hard for them to breathe, I became terrified. As a widow, I’d seen first-hand my husband die of a lung disease called Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. It was horrific watching him struggling to breathe for three years, becoming ever more dependent on an oxygen machine. The last thing I wanted was that to happen to me. Yet here was a very real threat that it might.

Unfortunately, the combination of the storms and the threat of coronavirus sent me into a downward spiral where I began to contemplate suicide. Thank goodness then that I was able to get a Listening Ear with Caroline. I found her really patient as I talked about what was troubling me. She was really respectful of my anxieties and wasn’t at all phased when I began to cry. Neither did she fuss, which was a great relief as I hate being fussed over! Instead, she was able to help me put things back into perspective and, by the end, I was much happier within myself. To be able to pull me back from the brink like that in only one session is a great gift I think. I am really grateful to her.

With The Guardian reporting some experts are warning about an “impending psychological “tsunami””, here at WHISC we are proud to do our bit to help people improve their mental health. Sadly, with the Drop-In being forced to temporarily close, we’re having to work from home but, fear not, we are still here and offering services online and via phone. So, if you need a Listening Ear, just phone 07708 381568, leave your name and phone number and we will ring you back. Alternatively, leave us a message on Facebook with your phone number and, again, we will ring you back when we can. Together, we will get through this.