“AS the world begins to open up once more, remember that it’s okay to take things at your own pace: Day by day; one foot at a time. And if you are feeling overwhelmed, then we are right here to listen…”
For Omagh Samaritans volunteer, Fiona, being at the other end of the phone to someone who is struggling and lending them a caring, listening ear at a time of pain, distress, heartbreak or confusion is her life’s calling.
The local lady has been an Omagh Samaritan for more than eight years, but her passion for helping others in need is as strong now as it ever was – and today, she is encouraging local people to open up and speak out if they find themselves struggling with every day life, intrusive thoughts, social anxiety, or feelings of fear as the world embraces its ‘new normal’.
“With many of us now vaccinated against Covid-19 and with restrictions lifting bit-by-bit, people are now starting to venture out into the world so much more,” described Fiona, who is also the managing director of the Omagh branch.
“But having spent a very long time indoors away from friends, loved ones and family members, this transition from lockdown to a semblance of normality can be very jarring for some of us.
“People may feel levels of social anxiety, or that they are self-conscious or even insecure about re-integrating themselves with society once more – and for different reasons, such as the threat of Covid-19 still lingering, or that they have become unused to social interaction.
“But we are here to listen to anyone who is struggling with any of these things – and remember that no matter how big or small you feel your worries are, a problem shared is always a problem halved.
“Always. And we are here for everyone.”
Signs to look out for if you are struggling to cope: Lack of energy or feeling tired; Feeling restless and agitated; Feeling exhausted or anxious all the time; Experiencing ‘brain fog’ – an inability to think clearly; Finding it hard to concentrate; Feeling tearful, or wanting to cry all the time; Not wanting to talk, or be with people; Not wanting to do things you usually enjoy; Using drugs or alcohol to cope with feelings; Finding it hard to cope with everyday things and tasks
Experiencing ‘burn out’
If you are in distress and would like to talk in a safe, non-judgemental space, place contact Samaritans for free on 116 123.
l Please note: You do not have to feel suicidal to get in touch with the Samaritans. Only one in five people who calls Samaritans says that they are feeling suicidal. The volunteers are there to listen to whatever it is that you are going through – and they will stay on the line with you for as long as you need.