October 10th was World Mental Health Day and no surprise, I was too depressed to write anything inspiring about it.
But the next day I received an email from someone who reminded me that one conversation, one honest way of speaking about mental illness and one connection can make a big difference.
“Hi Emily –
I’m sure you probably don’t remember me, but we met in the Freehold Apple Store about 6 years ago. Your computer was broken and I helped you get it repaired. In fact, you wrote me into one of your blogs:
It’s been quite a long time since that day and I think about it from time to time. I keep your page and the blog post bookmarked for easy retrieval. It makes me smile every time I read it and recall that day as I’ve yet to encounter a situation like it.
I’ve thought about emailing you for a long time to say hello and let you know that I do still remember you and that day at the Genius Bar. Although our interaction was short, you most definitely left an impression. It’s not everyday that we run into people such as ourselves, who are as open to sharing about our respective illnesses.
My struggles with mental illness have peaked and valleyed since we first met and I’m happy to say as of this moment things have been going very well for me. I’ve recently started a new job a couple of months ago, moved into a new place and I’ve even met a girl I’ve taken a liking to. Although I know the depression can and will come back at anytime, I have learned to prepare myself for those times.
Anyway, I hope everything is well with you and your family. I don’t read your blog as much as I would care to admit, but I’ve went and liked your Facebook page and made myself a promise to check it more often. Please feel free to contact me as I’d love to hear how you’re doing.
All the best.
Your friend from the Genius Bar,
I wrote back to Aaron. I told him I remembered him because he made me feel like I had done a good thing, even if it was only speaking to one person. I filled him in on the years since we had met; my suicide attempt and my four in-patient hospitalizations, but that all things considered I was doing much better.
He wrote again to get into a little more details of his ups and downs. But that’s just the way Bipolar Disorder is and it is something we will both have to fight for the rest of our lives.
I think the lesson that we are meant to take from this is to not be afraid to talk to one another about mental illness. And I do think more people ARE speaking out about it and it IS becoming less stigmatized.
Hearing from Aaron really made my day, that just one small conversation could have such an impact on just one person.