Unless it's before 10am on a Sunday in Los Angeles that is.
Today is National Mental Health Day.
Well.. things are not always shiny being a "diamond." Yesterday was one of those very hard days. It was not as "end all" as it could be which left a surprisingly limited amount of options.
I didn't want to bother anyone I knew with things really. I wanted to talk to someone. It wasn't the "end" and I'm not exactly a proponent for those types of things anyways but...
So the option was therefore to call a warmline.
This should be an easy enough concept in a world where it's ever so "accepting" of mental health so much that there is even a day dedicated to it right?
In actuality warmlines are some of the most devoid of compassion places I have found sadly.
If you do a Google search for warmlines in California you will find a bunch of phone numbers to call. You will find even more when you do a national search. This would likely mean that there are tons of compassionate people around to be warm and listen to you if you ever have something you feel compelled to have a warm ear about right?
Sadly what happens when you call a warmline is not all the greatest all the time. And, for me yesterday, it was pretty abysmal. I called a list of numbers trying to avoid having to bother a friend to get the most terrible people ever on the other lines.
Now, for a Los Angelean, if you're having one of these bad days, try not to have it on a Sunday before 10am because there are currently no warmline options available. You can probably get a hold of someone at one of the suicide hotlines if you'd like to talk to someone and potentially risk being sent away to a hospital if you/they wish but it's either that or... call out of the area.
For some of the lines out of the area they would start by asking what area I was in. I would then have to respond with whatever area they were from in order to even begin to try and get someone "warm." This was disastrous on the places that I could actually get through to as I have an out of the area phone number.
When I called the San Joaquin area warmline, it was pretty frustrating. It was one of the most lacking compassionate experiences I hope that others do not have if they are having a hard time as I could totally see how it could make it worse for someone who simply wanted someone to talk to but couldn't find one in the area that was open. I called there and stated that I lived in the area, I was asked which part. I repeated San Joaquin. When I stated that I really was just wanting to talk to someone and none of the ones near me were open to do so I was met with a very nasty reply.
"Well clearly you are lying then and you should know better than to call here."
This was a warmline. A warmline which is dedicated towards helping and being there for individuals who simply need or want an ear.
Another call I made wasn't as strict. When the person got on the phone however they were very curt. Their tone was very devoid of all sense of empathy. They sounded like they hated their job and life in general. I asked what their background was and was met with nastiness.
"That's none of your business. What does what I do for work have anything to do with anything? You're so rude!"
I had been asking to try and find out at the time if they were a mental health person or if it had been a volunteer. I stated this again and apologized for upsetting the person unintentionally but it was clear this was not going to be the warmline for me.
At around 11 when the warmlines in Los Angeles opened up I had given up. I'd called easily a dozen numbers and gotten similar cold. It was disheartening. There are very little resources here for people who are not in complete red alert zone.
Today is National Mental Health Day and I want to bid you to be compassionate to one another regardless if you work for one of these places or otherwise. I know how hard it can be to be that warm person at times. Your journey is respected and understood.
Sadly it seems that these resources for people experiencing pain and such are just not where they should be. Dare to not be invisible. Dare to be the warm voice on the other line if a friend is brave enough to turn to you in their moment of vulnerability. You both deserve it.