In most of her online photos, Bekah Georgy was smiling as if she didn’t have a care in the world.
Perhaps you’d never even consider some of the distressing thoughts and feelings lurking behind that smile.
Maybe you understand this firsthand. Maybe you can even comprehend it in ways the rest of the world would never begin to guess.
Georgy certainly knows firsthand. If you were to glance through this Manchester, New Hampshire, resident’s Facebook page, you’d see photos of a delicately pretty young blonde woman who clearly loves animals, her friends, her family, and ballet dancing.
If you were to greet her on the street with a perfunctory “how are you,” she might simply reply like most people — briskly assuring you that everything was fine.
But in reality, she’s spent years waging a complex and exhausting battle beneath the surface.
Georgy has struggled with anxiety, depression, and anorexia for much of her life. The truth is, she’s been in and out of hospitals and rehabilitation facilities; and she’s even felt so overwhelmed by despair that she’s attempted suicide five times.
But perhaps she might also tell you that a single compassionate word or gesture from someone can wield tremendous power. Maybe you understand that firsthand, too.
One of Georgy’s own recent experiences illustrates this point perfectly. She’d just finished a demanding therapy session, and she was desperately searching for some kind of hopeful foothold that would help coax her forward.
Her eating disorder had begun re-asserting itself in punishing ways, so she thought she’d try a few sips of coffee to give her some desperately-needed energy.
It seemed those quiet whispers about ending it all had been increasing in volume to a worrisome roar once again.
Because Georgy wasn’t receiving sufficient bodily nourishment from daily meals, she’d been wearing a nasogastric (NG) feeding tube.
This tube protruded out one nostril, and perhaps it was visible to the Starbucks employees who waited on her that day.
Whatever the reason, when Georgy stepped forward to grab her cup of coffee, it came with a game-changing note. The barista had taken mere seconds to write one single, sunny word in magic marker.
The encouraging message in question? “Smile!!”
As Georgy explained on her social media page, that one special gesture instantly renewed her sense of gratitude and persistence to live.
“You could have treated me like another annoying customer,” she wrote in her open letter to the unknown Starbucks employee, “but you took that extra second to add some positivity to a life that’s been filled with so much negativity lately.”
There’s a popular quote commonly attributed to both Plato and theologian John Watson. Simply stated, it reminds us all to “be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Sometimes kindness only takes a single second — yet it can absolutely save a life.
If you or someone you know is fighting a hard battle with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, get in touch with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or text “START” to 741-741.
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