To the Stranger on the Train Who Knew What Was Happening

Dear stranger on the train,

Thank you for watching from a distance and seeing my breathing change.

Thank you for coming over and offering me water.

Thank you for not judging me when I started to cry for seemingly no reason.

Thank you for giving me the space I needed, whilst still letting me know you were there.

Thank you for reminding me it would pass.

Thank you for breathing with me.

Thank you for staying until you knew I was OK again. You sat with me, sharing in my silence. You knew you didn’t have to speak. You just sat across the aisle from me.

To those who just watched, even those who moved away — I know it’s scary; believe me, I know.

It can be difficult to know how to react in an unfamiliar situation; things we don’t understand tend to make us uncomfortable. They can even promote fear within us. So, for that reason, I don’t blame any of you for not checking on me. I don’t blame those of you who felt you had to move away. I understand; I have been you.

I only ask one thing — if you encounter this again, no matter who it is or where you are, just please don’t whisper, please don’t judge and please don’t stare.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Unsplash photo via Alex Klopcic

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Anxiety

Image of 5 University students sitting on a lawn and talking to each other

What Helped Me Get the 'University Experience' With My Mental Illness

When I announced to my friends and family I was planning on going to University there wasn’t a lack of shocked faces. Me, the shy, anxious little girl who had never been away from home for more than a few nights was announcing she was moving hours away to study for a degree. Not only [...]
Three pane comic. First pane: Pigeon says 'You're so quiet.' Second pane: Titled "Impulse" Other pigeon shouts "I have anxiety, Sharon." Third Pane: Title "Reality" second pigeon says "haha, yeah"

Chuck Mullin of ChuckDrawsThings Uses Pigeons to Illustrate Anxiety

When you think about anxiety, pigeons might not be the first animal to come to mind, but for Chuck Mullin, the city-dwelling birds are the perfect fit for illustrating her anxious thoughts.   “Pigeons have always been my favorite animal, partly because I think they’re cute, partly because I find them to be loveable, silly [...]
woman reading or watching something on macbook laptop with phone by her side

Why I Hate When Publications Say You Can 'Beat' or 'Overcome' Anxiety

Because I’ve been writing about stress, anxiety and overthinking for the past two years, nearly every day I receive a new trending anxiety article via text or Facebook messenger from a smart, well-read friend or family member. The piece usually gives advice on how you can “beat,” “overcome,” “conquer” and “escape” anxiety. I always stand at [...]
sad female student wincing and leaning against locker

How My Life Would Have Been Different If I Had Mental Health Education in High School

In high school, everyone has their worries and fears. Every teenager overthinks what to wear and what people think of them. Almost every teenager worries about college and stresses over school work while trying their best. So as a high school student, I always thought I was like every other teenager. I thought it was [...]