I wanted to follow up the last review (I Watched 13 Reasons Why And It Kind Of Triggered Me) with something that could possibly help others with their mental health and a website popped into my head. I’ve only tried out the website 7 cups once and it was around the time I joined online counseling for the first time. Back then I figured I should just stick with the therapist and put all of my focus on there (Talkspace). Now that some time has passed, I thought it would be a nice time to try out the website again. The plan is to try 7 cups for one week, a new listener every time. I also want to stick to one topic which is my grandmother.
As I’m writing this blog, the news of my grandmother’s health is still all too fresh. Things aren’t looking so great. I haven’t really talked about it on here so I’m not really sure how to go about it either. I’m just going to talk and then hopefully some of it will make sense. At this point, I feel like it’s okay even if it doesn’t make sense. I just need to get it all out. Writing is my therapy after all. These last few months, I’ve been struggling with the distance from my family. It’s always been hard but there are times where I feel so fucking guilty for living so far away. It’s always when something big happens and I can’t be there for emotional support. One of the hardest things I had to accept was my grandmother’s cancer. I’m not sure if mentioned this before so I will briefly summarize it. About ten (probably more by now) years ago, my grandmother found a lump in her breast. It was cancer. She managed to beat its ass but like most cancer patients, it came back. It came back just after my au pair year ended. I just came back to South Africa and had to wait until I turned twenty-one in a few months so we can start the immigration process. They found cancer in her inner ear and she needed to undergo a massive operation to remove the cancer cells. She went in and she came out cancer free…or that’s how it looked. It looked really good in the beginning but then a few months passed and her ear started to hurt again. She went back to the doctor and we heard those dreaded words. There is nothing they can do for her. They can only make the rest of her time on this earth as pain-free as possible but her cancer can’t be treated. When this news broke I was already in the Netherlands. I’ve just immigrated a few months prior and it was a big blow. It was a difficult time. I couldn’t go back to South Africa to say my goodbyes. It’s simply not possible. I couldn’t afford to go down and visit and I had to accept the fact that there is a possibility I won’t see my grandmother alive again. With that being said, my grandmother is the kindest human being you will ever meet. She has this will in her. She is so positive and shines as bright as sunflowers under the sunlight. She is doing good. She dived all odds and pushed on for another year. Cancer has not won but…I almost feel guilty about bringing this up. I’m not the one with cancer. It’s not my mother dying of cancer but here I am, upset that I can’t remember what the last words I uttered to my grandmother in person were or if I hugged her before I left. Did I tell her I loved her and I’m so grateful to have her as my grandmother? It also didn’t help that we found out about her cancer being back when I was diagnosed with PCOS and everything was just happening at once. I can’t wait to tell you what that intense thing is and what affected me so much all throughout 2018…it should go up in late May or early June. I just need to finish all the part. It’s going to be a long blog series. I’m getting slightly off track…
Accepting my grandmother’s diagnosis and realizing that I might not be able to see her in person before she dies was hard. Really hard. A lot of family members went out of their way to go see her and it stung that I couldn’t do it. I can’t get that goodbye. I can’t hug her one last time. Damn, all of this is making me incredibly emotional. I haven’t really talked about all of this and it’s getting deep and raw very quickly. Yesterday, my dad shared that they found cancer in the back of her neck. It’s spreading fast and they don’t think she has a lot of time left. She can go today. She can go in a week. She can go in a month or heck she can go in a year. The good news is that she isn’t in a lot of pain and if she is she has medical support to inject her with a pain reliever. It’s difficult. When we heard the news that her cancer can’t be treated and her days were limited (Janaury 2018), I had started to prepare myself mentally but as my grandmother kept thriving…I allowed myself to hope. I allowed myself to hope that she will somehow make it until I can come back to South Africa and I will get that goodbye moment. But…I know I shouldn’t put my heart on that idea. I think I need to accept that she is going to die soon and that I won’t see her in this lifetime again. I need to accept that I’ve already hugged her for the last time. I also need to accept that my grandfather will go soon after her. One of the hardest things I also need to accept is that I won’t be able to go down for the funeral. I just don’t think we will have the money for it. It’s something you don’t know you’re signing up for when you move abroad. You don’t think about that part.
So, it’s intense and I’m curious how I will feel about talking to a listener about it. Before we jump in and start this process, I should probably explain what 7 cups is. I will let their website do the explaining for me.
About 7 Cups
We live in a world where you can be surrounded by people, but still feel lonely, with nobody to turn to when things get rough.
But being heard is an important part of being human. Psychologist, Glen Moriarty saw that there was great power in listening, but he knew not everyone had someone to talk to. He started to wonder. “How can I make being heard a reality for everyone?” That’s why 7 Cups was born. Thanks to thousands of volunteer listeners stepping up to lend a friendly ear, 7 Cups is happy to say, “We’re here for you!”. No matter who you are or what you’re going through, this is a place where you’ll be heard and cared for. We might be strangers on the surface, but underneath we’re just the friends you haven’t met yet.
Chat online with caring listeners
Need to talk to someone? Our trained volunteer listeners are available 24/7 to give emotional support over online chat. It’s anonymous and completely free. When you need someone to talk to, we’re here to listen and help you feel better.
Meet people who understand
The community is at the heart of 7 Cups. You can find support and friendship in chat rooms and forums for many issues, like depression, anxiety, relationships, LGBTQ+ and more. Ask for help, join a scheduled group support session, or share your own wisdom and life experience to help others along the way. We’re all in this together.
So, as you can see 7 cups, is a very safe place where you can talk to others that understand where you are coming from. It’s a judge-free space and most of the times, it’s just nice to unload. To feel heard.
It’s incredibly easy to join and connect to your first listener not long after you join the website. It is relatively easy to navigate and find a listener who specializes in the topic you want. This is your starting screen when you join.
You can do two things now. You can chat to Noni which is a bot that can explain everything you need to know and connect you with a listener. You can live chat with a free listener which is usually according to my understanding, the listener will be chosen randomly. I immediately clicked on the browse for listeners button as I wanted to filter and find a listener who specialize in grief. As you can see in the next screenshot, it’s incredibly easy to filter and find exactly what you need.
Now, let’s say you’ve browsed the available listeners and you click on their profile to read more. This is what you will see.
As you can see every Listener has some stats that can tell you what you need to know. You can use these stats as a deciding factor if you wish you connect with the listener or not. The website also has longterm services and there are different levels in the listeners. I didn’t dive into it that part of the website as I didn’t think it was needed. I’m sure you will find all the information you need if and when you join if not through the bot, then through all the emails they send. Now, let’s get started!
It took a while to get started, the first two listeners I clicked on weren’t available but I finally matched with a listener and the conversation was very interesting. I’m not entirely sure what I want from these listeners or anything like that. I’m open to trying it out and I don’t know. The first conversation was…it just wasn’t what I needed or wanted to hear? I almost felt like instead of just listening or unloading my burden on this listener, I felt like I had to over-explain myself. I don’t really know how to explain it. But I wasn’t about to give up on listener number one. I will continue or attempt to keep the conversation going until it ends naturally or the listener ends the chat.
I will insert the first chat in a bit but I will be completely honest…I feel a little better but at the same time, I don’t. I still don’t think I got what I needed or wanted but then again, I have zero idea what that is though. The chat was also on the short side, it was only 14 minutes but that’s okay. Her responses were short and she didn’t exactly pull much out of me. I don’t know. I might be holding her on the same level as the listener I talked to when I joined way back then (September 2018). He was a therapist in training and I truly felt so much better after talking to him.
Reading over the conversation I still think it’s a bit on the strange side. I just don’t know how to explain it. It felt off. I mean, just look how things ended. I tried to end it in a nice way and I don’t feel that it ended abruptly but that could just be me. She also took forever to respond so we just couldn’t connect. I don’t really know how to explain it. The conversation just felt off.
Things were a bit smoother with listener 2. I still felt like I had to defend or overly explain myself. The horrible truth is that I simply don’t have the funds to fly down to South Africa to say goodbye or find closure at her funeral. It’s just not possible. It’s just the ugly reality of things and there is nothing I can do about it. I almost felt judged because of it…but on the other hand by this listener stressing the importance of a funeral, I started to think. What can I do while I’m on the other side of the world? Oh, I know. I can have a little funeral here. I will go buy some flowers and spread them at the sea and just have a moment with my husband. I feel a lot of emotions right now. On the one side I’m feeling good because at least I know what I want to do when the dreaded moment arrives but at the same time, my heart is still hurting that her time here on this earth is coming to an end.
I liked listener 2 a lot more than listener 1 but it’s on the edge. By talking to the both of them, I learned something new and my inner turmoil shifted to the good side. I’m not sure if any of this makes sense. My mind is all over the place.
I feel almost guilty to write a blog about this and test out a website while using my grandmother but on the one side it’s so good. I haven’t really processed all my feelings about this matter and this is helping me to do so. I’m feeling more at peace about the reality that is cancer, if that makes sense. The little funeral idea opened up my mind and I started to think. What can I do to celebrate her life before it ends? What can I do to help sooth this ache in my heart and hopefully support my father emotionally in the same process? I’m incredibly limited in my choices as I live on the other side of the world but there must be something. There must be something that only I can do. The answer came to me within a few days and I feel a lot better about everything.
I know technically I only contacted two listeners but I don’t think I want to contact anymore now. I kind of know what I want to do about my grandmother so I don’t think it would be fair or right to continue with 5 other listeners. I’m still on the fence if I should pick a new subject (there is a lot I’m stressing about) and talk to the new listeners about that but I don’t know. I think I got what I needed and for now, I will keep 7 cups on the back burner. So, let’s talk about my experience.
I honestly like the idea of this company and the premise of it. I think it’s incredibly good and although these listeners aren’t trained and should in no way replace a therapist, it can still do wonders. Sometimes just talking about what is bothering you, can help tremendously. It’s always nice to unload and walk away lighter and more clear-headed. I do think that you should be cautious about it though. These listeners are just average people and they won’t necessarily have the response you need or want when it comes to the bigger things. I’m not making much sense so I’m going to try and explain myself more. Where I’m comfortable to talk about my grandmother with these listeners, I wouldn’t be comfortable to talk about suicide with them. Mostly because I’m not entirely sure that their responses would be good for my mental health. Where a therapist is trained in these situations these listeners aren’t. I don’t really know how to explain this. I just think you should keep an open mind and take everything with a grain of salt. Talk to them about whatever you want but at any time the conversation is going in a negative way, please leave the chat. What I really like about 7 cups is that they realize this and they will have little messages pop up between the chat (they disappear after a while) telling you the same things I just said but in a clear and understandable way.
Would I recommend 7 cups to others? Yes, I would. It can be helpful but it depends on where you are in the healing journey and how your mindset is. If you’re in a really dark headspace, I don’t think 7 cups is the place for you. You need to connect with a professional who can guide you through it. They can provide tools that you can incorporate to help with your mental health as you go down the healing journey. The first time I used 7 cups, I wasn’t in a good headspace and it was doing more harm than good the more I used it. I needed to talk to a professional and that’s what I did.
Will I continue to use 7 cups? Yes, but in moderation. I don’t think it’s a website I will turn to every single day but instead when I want to unload. I’m a little annoyed by the sheer amount of emails they send. I don’t like it when a company sends a message every single day. I find it incredibly annoying. That’s the only big negative for me. I’ve reported them as spam so at least I don’t have to see all the emails.
Conclusion: It’s incredibly easy to use and join. They go out of their way to explain everything and you have listeners reaching out and making themselves available if needed. It’s a very positive place and it can benefit your mental health but you should tread carefully. That’s everything I wanted to say. I hope you enjoyed this blog.
Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!
7 Cups website — https://www.7cups.com/ —