Sometimes, it’s hard for us to admit that we need help.
It’s no different for this 51-year-old man from Epsom, Surrey, named Edmund O’Leary. But when the weariness became too heavy for him to bear, the father-of-two recognized that he needed to ask for help.
On October 16, he took to Twitter to share what he was feeling.
“I am not ok. Feeling rock bottom. Please take a few seconds to say hello if you see this tweet. Thank you,” he said in the tweet, which has since been liked over 303.8K times.
Within hours of posting, O’Leary’s call for help received hundreds of thousands of heartening replies from people who resonated with his tweet.
O’Leary, who has had depression for over 10 years, said his mental health had declined amid the coronavirus crisis. And it also didn’t help that he was unemployed and living alone with little familial support.
He’s been out of a job for 18 months after working as a mental health advisor, and he admitted that this “absolutely horrendous” year badly affected his mental health.
He was supposed to see his 22-year-old son Patrick graduate with a first-class degree and take his other son Conner to Dublin to start his Ph.D., but both plans were cancelled due to COVID-19.
“Most days are really rubbish, and yesterday was another day I was feeling really low. I thought: “I’m going to be honest,” he said in an interview with The Sunday Times.
Luckily for him, hundreds of thousands of people were willing to help him get out of the rut he was in.
“Hi Edmund, I have an idea of what it feels like to be at “rock bottom.” Remember that you are loved, you matter and that these feelings are only temporary. You’ve done the right thing by reaching out,” one user wrote.
“Hi Edmund. I’ve been in the same place myself very recently too. Please know that you aren’t alone – there are many millions of us out here feeling the same way, ready to help and support you through this. You are strong. You can do this. We believe in you,” another wrote.
Even famous TV personalities and celebrities, including actress Sophia Bush, reached out to him with some words of encouragement.
“Hello Edmund! We don’t know each other, but I know that so so so many people are feeling heavy right now. The toll of this year is immense.
Just remember that it’s a relay; we can all share the baton. You’re not alone. Better days are coming. You deserve them,” the One Tree Hill star said.
O’Leary, who refers to himself as an aviation enthusiast, said he was encouraged to put out a call for help after seeing a friend’s tweets of a similar nature.
While he feels overwhelmed by all the attention his tweet has gotten, he’s very grateful to all those who cared enough to respond.
“The whole experience has been absolutely surreal and provides me with a lot of hope. I’ve gone from feeling like a nobody to feeling like a somebody,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“To have that happen overnight is just surreal, something that most ordinary people have never experienced or will never experience. Eighteen and a half million people and counting have seen my tweet. Nothing can prepare you for that!”
In an interview with ITV News, O’Leary said he believes people are looking for hope, love, and good news during these trying times, and he thinks his tweet “has turned into I suppose a good news story.”
While we still can’t connect with each other like we used to, it’s nice to see that people worldwide are harnessing the power of the internet and social media to bring others the help they need—even to those they don’t know. And this story is a wonderful example!