• Jacob West

New Years Party

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

There I was, at the annual New Years Party I have been desperately waiting for all year. As soon as I stepped inside the mansion-like house, a feeling took me over. With the music blasting and lights flashing, a sense of fun mania took me over. I was going to have a great night.

With dozens of people from all around the area, I was astonished by how many of them I had never met and would probably never meet again. With everyone in such a good mood, it was impossible to not feel the same way. Whether people were playing drinking games, busting a move on the dance floor, or lounging on the couch talking about god knows what, it seemed there was something to do for everyone.

The party was sensational, but as usual, it was only short term. A feeling that seems to never fully go away began to resurface. I have grown accustomed to this feeling, hence why it only took my subconscious seconds to know what to do next. Like a snake slithering away silently, I withdrew from the scene and stepped outside as everyone continued to have the time of their lives.

As I stood there, with the cold winter breeze chilling my skin, a feeling of peace fell over me. I knew that I would just need ten minutes of this bliss before the night would be mine once again. As I stood in the cold winter night, I noticed a man around my age sitting with his legs hanging from the edge of the porch. As he looked down at his feet, which he swayed back and forth much as a child does on a swing, I recognized our similar situations.

I then proceeded to sit next to him. At first, we both said nothing. Listening to the distant noises of the party just one door away and looking over the glass-like lake, the need for words was not yet present.

After a few minutes, I began our conversation with a simple hello. As we talked, there was no secret to why we had ventured off to such an isolated spot. We spoke of depression, anxiety, and most of all, we spoke of suicide. There was no judgment and there was no stigma. We simply spoke our thoughts, and nothing was there to stop us.

The loveliest part of this conversation was that both of us were isolated, as we desired to be, but we were also not alone. It is rare when we simultaneously experience both solitude and the comfort of another person. We stayed in this unusual sense of bliss for what seemed like hours.

Eventually, some of the partiers ventured outside to find their lost friend. As they found us sitting on the porch, I watched a look of confusion fall over their faces. If they were not questioning why their friend was sitting out in the cold, they certainly must have been questioning why he was doing so with a stranger. I then watched as my newfound friend bounded up from the porch with light in his eyes. I don’t believe it was entirely fake, yet I do believe his joy was a bit exaggerated in order to silence their questioning thoughts.

As they jumped away, back into the party, I was alone once again. Surprisingly, I felt better. I felt fuller. Normally it took a bit longer to get back to this level of happiness, but for some reason, my tank seemed to be refilled. Therefore, my next decision was simple, it was time to slither back in the exotic New Years’ atmosphere.

It was not until the next morning that I began to hash out the night. Who was that I sat next to? And did we really tell each other our deepest, darkest secrets? The answer is that I will never know who that person is, and I quite frankly don’t need to. I don’t need to know when he was born, or where he grew up, or even his name. He is someone I bonded with. Someone I formed a true connection with, and it only took five minutes.

We bonded because we were vulnerable. Sitting outside in the middle of the night, talking about the things much of society would push back, we let ourselves be fully seen. We spoke openly and allowed our vulnerable selves to be present. Now do not mistake my words, I am not saying that is the only way to form a connection. There are a number of ways to create great connections and friendships. I simply state an example of a healthy one. One that is rarely done, especially with a stranger. Especially with someone you know so little about.

The thing is, I knew enough about him before we even spoke our first words. I saw that empty look, that empty feeling that I, and many others, have lived with for years. And knowing we had that much in common was enough for me to show my vulnerable self and then hope he would do the same. And thankful he did.

Connection, real connection, is a huge component of what the human mind requires. We need someone to rationalize our thoughts with. We need someone to celebrate with. And most importantly, we need someone to be alone with. To find human connection we simply need to be courageous. We need to make the first step with our hearts out and our hands held high. To show our vulnerable selves even when there is no guarantee it will work out.

Maybe not at your next New Years’ party, but somewhere, you should connect with someone. You should form a bond because let me tell you, there is no better feeling than when you show your demons and all you get in return is a genuine smile.

Image credit: psychotherapynetworker.org

#MentalHealth #MentalHealthAwareness #Christmas #Depression #Anxiety #Suicide #Vulnerability #Connection #MentalIllness

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