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To the Person Who Brought Me a Milkshake When Anxiety and Sensory Overload Hit

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In the middle of a large mall, surrounded by a group of people, I stood. Words I could barely process echoed into my ears. A flashback entered my brain with a shock. Every negative emotion of my past seemed to wish to bounce back inside of me. My hands shook without my ability to control them. Life was pulling me straight into an pit of emotion. I fought and fought but could not stop the tears from building up in my eyes. Not only was I experiencing a sudden shock of sadness and anxiety, but I also had to deal with my own sensory processing disorder in a loud and frustrating place.

You were there. You witnessed every single embarrassing moment that happened there and still looked at me with empathy and compassion. With everything, you still had the choice of simply walking away without a thought, yet you refused. The sound of my crying already brought attention to several others who only built up the noise around me. Instead of joining them, you did something I never expected.

You turned away. Straight in the direction of a near ice cream shop, you began walking. You joined the line filled with several people and waited.

At the time, my brain had no idea what was about to happen. I had no idea what you were going to do. All I could think about was the emotional pain that suddenly struck me and now would refuse my begs to stop. People came, asked what was wrong, and left me shortly afterwards. You didn’t leave.

You came straight back, a chocolate milkshake in your hand. Stretching out your hand, you showed me the delicious drink. With confusion, I stared, not being able to process the random act of kindness that had occurred. “It’s for you,” you explained. Immediately, I forgot the thoughts that swirled inside my head. I did something only a second before I strongly doubted I would ever do: I smiled. 

“Thank you,” I replied, taking your gift. Still, I doubted you knew how much you really changed my perspective on that day. You made me smile when I thought I’d never smile again. You gave me happiness when negative emotions crowded around my head. You reminded me hope still existed.

Although it’s been a while, I want to say it again. Thank you, not for only buying me a milkshake but for changing my perspective.

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Thinkstock photo by Jirakarn

Originally published: March 28, 2017
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