Consider writing a “thank you” note to someone from outpatient who really helped you. What would you say?

by me

I don’t remember your name. So I’ll call you V. When I first saw you I thought you were a hot mess. Your frizzy, bleached blonde hair and mismatching workout clothes were always disheveled. You sat there with a blank look on your face. I was sure you were neither educated, nor intelligent. You were just one of the people in the outpatient program that proved to me I was not like the rest of the group, of what I was sure where broken and crazy. I am not proud of this moment.

Then one day you volunteered for psychodrama, something I didn’t have the courage to do. I was surprised. You never spoke, so how could you have something to share. And as your story came tumbling out, I was overwhelmed with compassion and shame. You had a young child, close to my own child’s age. His father had passed away from an overdose just 2 months ago. You were forced to live with your judgmental mom who treated you like a child. You didn’t know how you felt. Except for anger, it was in there somewhere. Your whole world had been turned upside down. No wonder you didn’t say much, you were probably still in shock.

Listening and watching you opened my eyes. It’s that lesson I have to keep relearning. Don’t judge a book by its cover. And here I am, caught myself doing it again. This time to prove to myself I shouldn’t be in this program – which I definitely needed to be. Because you shared your story, I was able to look around the room and realize that I did belong, and that I did need help, and that I was in the right place to get that help. So, thank you, V. Thank you for being so brave. Thank you for opening up in front of a crowd of strangers. Your bravery and strength inspired me. I learned that I could and should share my stories too. Because you just never know who you’re going to help.

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