The real superheroes don’t wear capes or masks, there are no lights shone into the sky for them, and their extraordinary achievements don’t get splashed all over the media.
The real superheroes save lives, but in ways that go almost unnoticed or are greatly undervalued. They are nurses, doctors, social workers, healthcare assistants, psychologists, teachers, carers…the list goes on.
The real superheroes can be found at the end of a mental health crisis team phoneline, talking to a 23 year old, highly distressed, highly suicidal patient – over the course of an hour, calming her from hysterical can’t-breathe sobbing to chatting and laughing. They’re nurses who are still at work at half past midnight, 2 and a half hours after their day shift ended, shouting out encouragement to that same patient, who they managed to talk down from the edge a few hours earlier. They’re people who have helped me to live through another evening, another day, another few hours – even when I don’t feel worthy of that help and can’t even start to voice what form of help I require.
They’re people who dedicate their lives to making a difference; they do their jobs to help, not for the (much too small) paycheck. They hear, see and work through some incredibly difficult things. They are filled with compassion and patience. They compromise on their personal lives – unasked and unthanked – with shift work, working late, taking work home with them.
They’re the real superheroes. And this is my small way of saying a sincere thank you on behalf of all of us.