With mental health in the headlines these days for all the wrong reasons, one woman decided to share with the world the story of a group of friends showing up to her apartment uninvited to help pull her out of depression.
Telling her story via Twitter, Sheila O’Malley explains that when he father died, she died for 19 straight days. She was so distraught that she couldn’t bring herself to unpack after moving into a new apartment, leaving boxes of her stuff to sit unopened for months on end.
The kind words of her friends did little for her, and so one of her friends organized a night for everyone to go to O’Malley’s apartment and help her unpack.
“I could have been really REALLY offended. But he took the risk,” O’Malley says of her friend David, who planned the unpacking intervention.
Unbeknownst to her, 10 of her friends showed up at O’Malley’s door one night, armed with food, cleaning supplies, and a plan to unpack over 200 boxes of her belongings. When O’Malley protested, they didn’t take “no” for an answer.
“They unpacked my boxes. They put away my 1,500 books. They hung pictures for me. They organized my closet and put away all my clothes,” says O’Malley. “I literally was unable to do THE SIMPLEST THINGS. And nobody judged me. They were like superheroes sweeping in.”
O’Malley said she was “overwhelmed” at first, comparing her apartment that evening to “Santa’s workshop.” But in the end, it was exactly what she needed.
“I was embarrassed for like 10 minutes,” O’Malley shares. “But they were all so practical and bossy I had no choice but to let that go.”
For O’Malley, the moral of the story is that people in need of help are rarely going to ask for it. Sometimes it’s up to others to make sure someone gets the help they need.
“The ‘ask for help’ advice is well-meaning but not really thought through,” says O’Malley. “There’s shame, there’s enforced helplessness, there’s the feeling you’re not worth it, etc. My friends didn’t wait for me to ask. They showed up. They took over. They didn’t ask.”