Leo Buscaglia (author, speaker and professor at the University of Southern California) once said, “Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
A Kind Barista Accidentally Saves A Teen’s Life
Bekah Georgy from Salem, New Hampshire can attest to the power of simple gestures when a barista scribbled something on her coffee cup one day and it saved her life.
Bekah shares that she spent most of her young life battling anorexia along with multiple chronic illnesses, such as gastroparesis and seizure. She also attempted to kill herself five times in the past.
Then one difficult day on October 2015, those terrible suicidal thoughts started to resurface. She decided to go to her local Starbucks to get an iced coffee, the only beverage she can drink when her eating disorder feel out of control.
Bekah’s Open Letter To The Barista
What the barista wrote on her cup that day meant the world to Bekah and it saver her from potentially harming herself. Here’s Bekah’s message to the barista as she recounts that particular day.
You didn’t know me and you didn’t know my story. Most importantly, you probably didn’t know writing the simple word ‘smile’ on my order would change my day for the better. When you look at me, you might assume I’m happy, bubbly, outgoing and full of life. But you don’t really see the complete me.
You wouldn’t know that behind this plastered smile is a girl who has broken and fallen to pieces.
You wouldn’t know this girl had so much self-hate, she starved herself for over half her young life.
Or that she’s tried to end her own life five times.
I’m guessing you didn’t know these past few weeks, and that day particularly, had been extremely hard.
You were just going about your job, unaware that writing a minuscule word on my drink would change my day and possibly my life.
Maybe you wrote ‘smile’ on my drink because you saw the feeding tube. Or maybe you could see past my fake smile because you’ve been where I am.
Either way, I’m grateful. You didn’t have to make my order special. You could have treated me like another annoying customer.
But you took that extra second to add some positivity to a life that’s been filled with so much negativity lately.
You see, my day consisted of a horrible doctor’s appointment and a horrible therapy session.
I was filled with hopelessness, and my suicidal thoughts were getting worse.
When my anorexia is bad sometimes coffee is the only thing I can drink.
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But I was afraid to consume even coffee that day.
If I hadn’t encountered that cup, I could have done more damage to myself that night. When I read that word, I couldn’t help but smile, literally.
A simple act of kindness can mean the world to someone. It can provide hope for the hopeless.
Now I plan to pass this hope along.
So barista, thank you. Thank you for turning my day around.”
Bekah’s story serves as a reminder to us that not only are there a lot of people hurting in the world but that our words and actions can also have a significant impact on others and may even save a life.
It’s a tough battle for teens dealing with depression and it’s important that they get the support they need from their loved ones and possibly look to get professional help if the thoughts start to get really serious or if there’s imminent threat.
Here Are Some Alarming Statistics About Suicide Among Teens and Adolescents (15-24 Year Olds)
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among youths
- Young people attempt to commit suicide at an alarmingly high rate; there is one suicide for every 100-200 attempts
- A youth suicide occurs every 100 minutes
These are frightening numbers and they urge us to help teens and adolescents when we can. First, it’s important to know the warning signs so that you identify when a teen is suffering from depression.
Signs Your Child Is Dealing with Depression
- Has she been sad or irritable most of the day, most days in a week for at least two weeks?
- Has she lost interest in things that she used to really enjoy?
- Have her eating or sleeping habits changed?
- Does she have very little energy, very little motivation to do much of anything?
- Is she feeling worthless, hopeless about her future, or guilty about things that aren’t her fault?
- Have her grades dropped, or is she finding it difficult to concentrate?
- Has she had thoughts of suicide? If so it’s crucial you have her evaluated by a mental health professional immediately.
General Warning Signs of Teenage Depression
*4 out of 5 teens who attempt suicide have given clear warnings
- Suicide threats, direct and indirect
- Obsession with death
- Poems, essays and drawings that refer to death
- Giving away belongings
- Dramatic change in personality or appearance
- Irrational, bizarre behavior
- Overwhelming sense of guilt, shame or rejection
- Changed eating or sleeping patterns
- Severe drop in school performance
How Can You Help?
If your loved one is showing clear signs of depression, there are several things you can do to help.
Offer help and listen. Let the teen know that you’re there as a listening ear and encourage them to talk about their feelings. Give your undivided attention to them.
Trust your instincts. If it seems that the situation is serious, don’t be afraid to look for help.
Talk about it. Ask direct questions and don’t be afraid to discuss the topic because silence is deadly.
Seek professional help. Get expert advice from a mental health professional who’s had experience with teenage depression and give proper guidance in dealing with it. Also alert key adults in the teen’s life.
Where To Turn If You’re At Risk Of Self Harm
Free help can be found by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800)273-8255. Callers can get immediate help from a crisis specialist, and they can get referrals to local counseling. The group’s website is suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
We all encounter depression and anxiety in different chapters of our novel lives. Some may go through bouts, and some may define their life by it.
But at some point, all of us are likely to experience these psychological states of the mind.
But just because we are capable of depression and anxiety, does not mean that we should have to live this day-in and day-out.
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