When Strangers Say Hello

Update: Thank you to those who reached out with supportive words after I posted this. I wanted to clarify that for me, this post was about the beauty of kindness from strangers. What I tend to underestimate is the context I’ve gotten used to as a result of living with depression. Your responses help me to be aware of this so, thanks.

I spent a lot of this weekend trapped in a wet paper bag. Not literally of course.  I mean that I’ve been going through an extended funk…a spell of depression.

Weekends can be hard. I haven’t spoken to or seen anyone since Friday night. One of the shitty things about depression is that the simple things you need the most, the things you know will clear the fog, are often the hardest things to do. Pick up the phone and call someone…an impossible task. Inflict the depressed version of yourself on someone else…never!

Depression has been an off and on thing for years and I’ve become fairly skilled at recognizing when it settles in and either doing the things I need to do to fend it off or…to start the journey back. The number one thing that helps me is thinking about “the other side.” The point AFTER the fog lifts and things go back to normal. This latest round has been tough however. Its been weeks, fueled I believe by my experience in Toronto. A sort of PTSD.

Today, however, I went out for a two-hour walk with Cheeto. On my return, a young redheaded guy with his cap on backwards locked eyes with me, flipped on an electric smile and said “Hi!” A few blocks later, I saw a couple walking in the opposite direction on the other side of the street. The girl looked across the street, smiled and waved shyly. When she did this, her boyfriend looked over and gently said “Hello.” Finally, a couple blocks before my house, I came across two very handsome guys, a mother and her toddler sitting on the the back of a pick-up truck. One of the guys asked me how I was doing, the other simply said “hey there.”

I’ve become acutely aware of these precious moments. Seemingly innocuous interactions or observations that mean so much to me; that help me take the next step in the journey back. A conversation with someone in the post office, an intense, fleeting connection with someone. A surprise smile.

For this, I’m thankful.


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