Thea, who features in the current Time to Change tube and bus advert, blogs about her friendship with Steffi and how a quick text made all the difference.
There is one day in particular that stands out to me. It was just an ordinary day at college. But this is quite possibly one of the worst I have ever felt (which I think for a depression sufferer is fairly significant).
I was helping Steffi out with her drama exam performance, as I was doing their presentation cues and I needed to practise them. I remember that I got stressed out with people and the presentation itself very easily. I’m sure it was fairly obvious that I wasn’t okay.
Steffi followed me out and asked me what was wrong
At the end when I was leaving, Steffi followed me out and asked me what was wrong. I didn’t particularly respond and I didn’t say what I should have said, and that was how bad I was feeling. I know I must have come across as extremely rude, as here she was showing concern, and I was just dismissing it. I left quite abruptly, feeling worse about myself than before because of how I acted towards her.
That text saved me that day
But when I got home, I received a text from her. The text said, “Thea? I just want to remind you that I know you’re going through a lot and you don’t have to do it alone because I am in it with you. You mean so much to me; I can’t stand seeing you like this. You are so important to me.” That text saved me that day, because I knew that I did still have a purpose and that acting upon some of the thoughts I had couldn’t result in anything good. It reinforced how I wasn’t alone, and that I never would be. I’m used to unconsciously pushing people away, and yet after all this time, Steffi is still here by my side and I know now that it just wouldn’t be possible for me to ever leave her.
It doesn't take long to send a quick text, but the impact it has is huge
Not only did Steffi help me that day simply from one text, but over the years, I have received many texts like this - all just as important as the first. It is not the massive gestures or the giant paragraphs that have made the biggest difference, but the little things. It doesn’t take long to send a quick text, but the impact it has is huge. As melodramatic as it may seem, it has given me the strength to continue on and keep living.
As much as Steffi has been there for me, I would like to think that I have also been there for her. Whilst she does not suffer with a mental health problem, over the years she has often struggled with her self-confidence. It is obvious to anyone who meets Steffi just how beautiful she is – both in appearance and personality. It has saddened me to think that she has struggled to see this, and therefore I have endeavoured to help her change her perception of herself. Thankfully, now Steffi does believe in herself a lot more and I would like to think that I have strongly contributed to this as Steffi being happy is one of my upmost priorities.
If I looked at the time Steffi and I have actually spent with each other over the past 7 years, it actually seems quite little. Despite this, our friendship is by far one of the strongest and most important ones I have. Nothing more than simply being there for each other has caused this and yet there is nothing that means more to me.