Depression is a common mental disorder which is expected to hit most of us at some point during our lifetimes.
It comes in many guises and people deal with it differently, but at some point, most people will have to deal with it in some form.
One such person is Patrick Cakirli, from Denmark, who was going through an incredibly tough time last year.
He put out an anonymous cry for help on an app called Jodel, which is not too dissimilar to Yik Yak.
I am desperate to meet new friends. I’m lonely and going through the hardest period of my life.
I’ll sit on the stairs in front of the town hall from 2pm to 8pm.
I have black pants and a North Face bag on.
Patrick had spent half of his life to date in orphanages, suffered from really low self-esteem, had recently experienced violence and found out his girlfriend of six years had cheated on him before she left him.
He wrote on Bored Panda:
My whole world came crumbling down and I was on the edge of suicide. I got admitted to the local psychiatric hospital, but was released after an intense week of care and treatment.
I never had many friends and those few I had, I stopped seeing after my now ex-girlfriend and I got together back in 2010.
So there I was – with no family, friends or girlfriend. I was all alone and in my desperation, I decided to write and send out the message you see above.
A lot of people read Patrick’s cry for help and thirteen strangers turned up to give their support.
Of those thirteen, most of them throughout the night told him they too had experienced loneliness in their live and they’d also been afraid of speaking out.
As a result of this, Patrick set up a network where lonely people could meet new people.
Patrick expects the network, called ‘Smilet Danmark’, has changed the lives of around 10,000 people in Denmark alone.
Earlier this year, Patrick also set up a sort of relay race, where he was only allowed to walk if he was accompanied by someone else.
He walked from Copenhagen to the city of Aarhus, a total of 175km, with more than 70 people showing up to support his cause.
Since then, Patrick has announced a plan to spend three years walking from Denmark to China in an effort to raise awareness about loneliness and mental health.
He wrote on Facebook:
I have been so focused on fighting loneliness in my own country (Denmark), that I didn’t start to consider what I could do on an international level.
I have since learned loneliness is a worldwide epidemic and as someone who’s experienced the heart-wrenching pain of feeling lonely, my goal is to help, inspire and ultimately make an impact – not just in Denmark, but in the world.
In the UK, 59 per cent of adults aged over 52 say they feel lonely at least some of the time.
As people get older, they tend to get lonelier, with around two fifths of older people admitting television is their main company.
We need more people like Patrick in the world.