Some days I feel like Lucy, from the Peanuts comic strip, listening to Charlie Brown going on, and on about his troubles.
I don’t know why, but for some reason complete strangers have opened up to me, about some of their deepest secrets. I feel honored, for the most part, that they trust me with their innermost feelings, and family problems, to be locked away in my vault. Maybe it comes from my years working as the manager of a bar, washing glasses, and wiping the counter while the patrons go on about how they are misunderstood at home. Most of the time the music was too loud to hear everything they were saying, but sometimes you just need someone to listen, and nod once in awhile, giving you an opportunity to get it off your chest, so you don’t go home, and take it out on the innocent.
A while back, I had an opportunity to make a difference in another person’s life. I had a customer come in one quiet morning, and I truly believe that it was one of those mornings especially for him. He’s a veteran with PTSD, and I asked if he had the day off, and that led into a very serious conversation.
He said that he called in that morning, and told his supervisor that it was best for the safety of everyone that he didn’t come in to work. He was having a bad morning, and couldn’t get in touch with his counselor.
He told me that he was having thoughts of suicide, so I told him that I understood, and I’m glad he was talking to someone about it.
I told him a little about my battle with depression, so I knew something about where he was coming from. He looked slightly shocked that I told him that, but I felt like it was a situation where the truth was best.
He proceeded to talk to me about all of the medications he was on, his tours in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and the incident that brought on the PTSD.
I listened as he went into details of what he experiences when the attacks come on. And I listened as he talked about his childhood, his marriage, his son that he loved more than life, and everything in between.
He left after about two hours, and not one person came in the shop, the phone never rang, no interruptions whatsoever.
I’ve seen him a few times since then, and he seems really happy, he’s back with his wife, and looks calmer.
I’m not saying that I cured him in those two hours, but I think I gave him hope, and let him know that he’s not alone in the darkness.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Available 24 hours everyday