Just over two years ago I was involved in a traumatic accident. As well as suffering from physical injuries I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, chronic anxiety and depression. I was struggling with the everyday, mundane things in life, so you can imagine that going to new places, meeting new people and talking about what happened was excruciatingly difficult.
As part of my court case I was asked to attend an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. My physical recovery was slow and the appointment left me feeling extremely low. One of the hardest things I found with anxiety and depression was the constant feeling of guilt and here I was in a hospital surrounded by people much worse off than myself yet I still couldn't stop myself from crying.
After the appointment I stood outside in the bright sunshine with tears streaming down my face. I was at an all time low and I simply wasn't able to put on a 'brave face' for the rest of the world. From nowhere a young man rested his hand on my shoulder and gave me a handkerchief. I can't properly put into words what his actions meant to me. Perhaps they gave me hope or perhaps they re-instilled a belief in the goodness of everyday folk. But whatever it was, they have stayed with me.
Last Monday, I was sitting, writing in a coffee shop and when I looked up I saw a woman about my own age sitting at a table by herself, crying uncontrollably. The temptation was to look away and carry on with my writing but I suddenly remembered the young man who took a moment out of his day to comfort me. I was nervous and unsure how she'd react but I figured it was better to reach out to her, so I got out of my seat and walked across the café and asked her if she would like me to get her something. She didn't shout at me, didn't ask me to leave and didn't look away. Instead, she thanked me and we sat together for about half an hour while she explained about her ill husband at home, and how today it had all felt like it was just too much to take. She told me that she goes to the coffee shop for just half an hour everyday to gather herself before she returns home and continues caring for him. As she left she hugged me and gave me a smile.
Emma Mooney is a writer of Scottish contemporary fiction and is the author of A Beautiful Game. and Wings to Fly.