February 27, 2014

lizI was having one of those days – I was feeling hopeless and didn’t know who to turn to. I’d visited my parents that day because I felt like I needed some company but naturally I seemed very despondent and, not wanting to worry my mum and dad, I returned home early in the evening so that my low mood wouldn’t impact on anyone else unnecessarily. I don’t know whether anyone else feels like that sometimes - guilty for feeling unhappy and regretful for feeling so disassociated.

It’s difficult when everyone else seems to be getting on with their lives and you’re stuck in a deep hole of depression. So there I was, alone in my flat, staring at the clock, wondering how long it would take for the cloud to lift this time – hours, days, weeks? I felt so alone.

I couldn’t stand being left alone with only my thoughts for company

I scrolled through the contact list on my phone and knew that everyone I could’ve contacted would’ve been busy that evening. I was feeling restless, irritable and upset – having Borderline Personality Disorder can be a real challenge at times. I couldn’t stand being left alone with only my thoughts for company. I tried distracting myself by reading, watching television and listening to music but nothing seemed to be helping. I needed to get out of the house. I looked at cinema listings but none of the films interested me. I began to worry about what would happen if I stayed in the flat by myself that evening. With each passing moment I was becoming more and more distressed.

What I really wanted though was to have a conversation with someone

It was spontaneous and perhaps a little bit reckless but I decided to head over to my local pub. I took my journal with me hoping to do some writing whilst I was out. I ordered a drink and went to sit by myself in a quiet corner. It felt good to be out and my head was beginning to clear. What I really wanted though was to have a conversation with someone. Did it matter if it was a complete stranger? I was feeling so low and I just needed to talk to someone –a light-hearted conversation was all I wanted.

Eventually I found the courage to approach the bar. A young barman was working there.

“Hi, is it okay if I sit here?” I asked tentatively.

Much to my surprise a smile erupted on the barman’s face, “Of course,” he said, “I was worried about you actually. Are you okay?”

“Yes,” I answered. “Actually, that’s a lie. I’m having an off day.”

We spoke for a little while.

“So, what do you do?” he asked eventually. My heart pounded. This was the moment I had to decide whether to tell him or not.

“Oh, I’m not working at the moment; I have mental health problems.” I waited for him to recoil and for the awkward silence to ensue but thankfully this time it never came.

“I actually have Bipolar Disorder,” said the barman and he smiled.

It had been a conversation worth starting and my mood drastically improved

I spent the evening chatting with him, laughing and joking; I actually had a really enjoyable evening. It had been a conversation worth starting and my mood drastically improved because I’d found an unexpected, friendly face to talk to. I was glad I was open about my mental health. Finding comfort in a stranger is so rewarding. So often I have found that, in desperate times when there has been no one else available, speaking to a stranger has been just as beneficial as speaking to a loved one.

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