I want to share a recent experience I have had, with a new neighbor! First, I must explain that I have had some problems with people here and really haven’t been friendly with anyone since moving in almost 2 years ago! The apartments are set up to where you see each other all the time but still no real interaction until now.
Over this past weekend a new person moved into the apartment directly next door to me. Our doors actually open up into each other so you can’t come and go at the same time. Sometimes its comical, especially when your neighbors aren’t friendly. I went to leave the other day and bumped into my new neighbor. He is a single dad with two girls and a very friendly person. I immediately got the feeling he was having a hard time emotionally. I didn’t say anything at that time just introduced Carl and ran out!
The next day he came by and said Hi and we were talking a bit and it came out that he was having a hard time. I asked him if he wanted to come in and chat but he didn.t want to at that time and said he would explain another time why. We talked a bit more at the door but something really made me want to reach out to him, but I didn’t want to push. I made it clear to him that I was around if he needed anything.
The next day he pops up again and we got to chatting and he kinda spilled some stuff about having concerns that he might be bipolar. Of course before he said that I had told him I didn’t work and he asked why and being me I told him the truth. He said he was really interested in talking more about it but I had to leave so I talked with him for a bit and then I had to run off. I really get the feeling he needs some support, just friendly support.
I really took a chance telling a brand new neighbor about my illness but I dont keep it quiet. If I did I would be making the stigma that surrounds mental illness worse so I take these chances and times like these it pays off. I really do want to help people understand mental illness and help them be brave enough to get real help. This man is worried about his mental status and has lost many jobs over his mood swings etc. He needs someone to talk to about this to help him sort things out and I think that fate put him next door to me so I could help him out.
We talked a bit again tonight and he wants to talk more another time so I just told him anytime he wants to chat to knock on the door or if its open to call in to me. He said you might be the best person for me right now! I’m not sure I agree but I can listen and tell him what I have been through.
It is sometimes frightening to take that type of chance but if we continue to hide our illness and allow people to shame us the stigma will never change. We must be brave and confident in the decisions to reach out to people!!
Now go reach out to someone, even if it is just a friendly hello it might change their entire day!
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