This week at my work I had a very touching thing happen. Since the realised of my book I have meant many people who have opened up to me and talked for the first time about their struggles with anxiety, depression and mental health in general. It is an amazing thing that I have been privileged enough to be a part of getting people talking and breaking the stigma behind mental illness. This week I had a very special thing happen and it has touched me in a very deep way and I would like to share it.
A man walked into the store and came over to the counter I was at, I greeted him Like I do all customers with a smile and friendly hello. He stopped and he smiled at me and his eyes were watering. He reached down and he picked up one of my books that I had on display. He told me he had come to buy my book and play some guitars and talk with me. I started to talk to this man and he opened up like I have never seen before. He told me he was a school teacher and that he was off on medical stress leave and that he had just left a doctor’s appointment. He told me how he couldn’t sleep and how his doctor just tried to give him a prescription for sleeping pills. He then told me how he told is doctor that he doesn’t need sleeping pills that he just wants to be able to sleep at night. His doctor said that is why I am giving you these pills. He then just stood up and walked out of his doctor’s office, He went to his car and drove to the music store to buy my book and talk to me because that was all he really needed to do was talk to someone. He told me he remembered the article in the standard and wanted to meet me and buy my book.
I talked to this man for about 15 mins and he told me how all the doctors he see’s just try to drug him and send him on his way how he has been to 4 different places and it is always the same take these pills and you’ll feel better. He told me how all the pills just made him feel sick and or like a zombie and he really didn’t feel anything when he was on them. He said I already feel empty and not connected to the outside world I don’t need these pills to make it worse. He was crying openly and I just stood there and listened to him and his eyes slowly opened up and the stress lifted from his face the longer he talked.
He told me how he will never be able to go back to work and how he will be looked at differently when he goes back because of why he left. How people will judge him and treat him in way that he will not like because he came forward about his struggles with depression. I told him that this is a sign of strength and that it takes the strongest people with the most courage to stand up and ask for help, that it is not a sign of weakness, if we all start talking we could all change the way people think. He shook my hand and thanked me for talking with him. I gave him some phone numbers to call and he said he was going to call because he knew it was time to get help. He then played guitar for about 20mins before leaving the store he was a really good guitar player.
This man’s story touched me so deeply because he just needed someone to talk to a ear to bend, someone who would just listen and not judge or tell him to get over it and move on. Just listen to his story and let him know it is okay to feel the way he felt, let him know that he is not alone and just talking about things makes life so much better. I am so happy and feel so privileged that I was able to help this man and point him in the right direction. Who knew that 4 years ago starting therapy and writing my book would lead to what happened this week and the weeks before this, who knew that putting pen to paper or sitting in front of a computer typing would have started all this? But one book at a time, one person at a time “Why I Run” is reaching people and breaking the stigma behind depression!!
Only with open conversation can we kill the stigma behind depression, Let’s all start talking and kill it together!