I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and I mention it nonchalantly in a conversation with two guys I have become friends with while at University.
Guy #1: you don’t look anxious
Before I can reply,
Guy #2: Anxiety isn’t always visable. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there
Me: Stare at him speechless because I am so use to people being like “Oh ya I get anxious too.”
After losing my cat, I got a tattoo of the paw-prints she used to leave on my arm from sitting on my shoulder. I was at the store one quiet night not long after, and the person ringing me up admired the tattoo so I told her the story behind it. She said that was cute and asked if I’d lost her, I said yeah and we talked about how hard it is to lose a pet. As we were finishing up, she reached over to a nearby display and took a bouquet of flowers and handed it to me. It was such a sweet and kindly gesture when my loss was still so recent and wrenching, I almost cried.
(A few days before Christmas, I am taking some things home from the office in a found paper bag. Just as I board the bus, the bag’s handles rip out. I manage to hang onto my things, but the bag is a loss. A man across the aisle from me speaks up.)
Man: “Excuse me, Miss, but could you use this?”
(He pulls a plastic bag out of his briefcase.)
Me: “Yes! Thank you so much! I wish I had something to give you–would you like a cookie?”
Man: “That’s all right. You just take care now.”
(Even a very small act of kindness can really turn a day around. Don’t discount the little things!)
I work as a librarian and reguarly visit a dairy at the end of my street. The lady who works there asked me to request books for her teenage daughter and gave me a piece of paper with the details of the books and her library card number. I accidentally misplace the paper and after some searching find it at home under my bed. I go to work, find 3/4 books and request the library buys the fourth book. I call the dairy owner and she is very grateful that I arranged her daughter’s books. I go to the dairy after work and get my usual lolly fix while explaining to the owner she should receive an email that the books have arrived within the week. After I finish paying for my purchase she tells me one of the packets of lollies are free. I was so surprised, even though it didn’t cost much it still made a huge impact on my day. I had given up on the thought that locals support each other and will continue to make sure everyone has access to books, even if they work 7 days a week like this woman.
After the 2016 US presidential election, I fell into a deep clinical depression. I felt useless and pointless, like nothing I did mattered or made a difference to the world. I felt betrayed and hurt by everyone I interacted with, regardless of who they were or who they voted for. So i turned off facebook, stopped responding to emails, even considered turning off my phone. I vowed to do my work (I work from home) and play my video games and any further communication would be only be via the written word, via the post office.
Christmas was difficult. I sent out a few holiday cards to people that I intellectually knew that I HAD to, but the thought of buying presents or sending out the big boxes of surprise homemade cookies/cakes/breads that I usually do made my heart hurt.
I know it doesn’t make sense. It wasn’t because my side “lost”. My side’s lost before and I never felt like this. Depression doesn’t have to make sense.
I played my games, did my work, didn’t tell anyone, didn’t talk to anyone, and no one noticed. No one asked if I was ok, no one sent a text to check in. My depression felt vindicated. See? I told you that I didn’t matter.
And then I got a box.
A kid that I’ve been playing games with for a long time, almost a decade now, who’s probably a good 15 years younger, who I’ve never actually spoken to on the phone much less met, sent me a box of his mom’s handmade chocolate candies and a christmas card that said “to my most favorite guildmate ever”.
Dang, y’all. He’ll never know how much that meant, and how much his gesture set my heart to healing. And maybe my small gestures set other people’s hearts to healing to? Maybe I do matter? I’m not up for it yet, but… I think I’m gonna be ok.