This Heartbroken Guy’s Desperate Text Ended Up Helping Thousands Of Strangers
“I was on the edge of suicide,” he wrote. “I got admitted to the local psychiatric hospital but was released after an intense week of care and treatment.”
Patrick’s life was full of ups and downs but the downs brought him incredibly low.
“I have lived more than half of my childhood and youth life in orphanages. An anxious upbringing with defeat, insecurity and violent assaults that have made me the person I am today; a person with very poor self-esteem and a deep inner sense of identitylessness. So there I was – with no family, friends or girlfriend. I was all alone.”
In an attempt to pull himself out of a pit of despair, Patrick posted an anonymous message to the app Yodel, Denmark’s version of Yik Yak. Here’s what Patrick wrote…
“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.”
He hoped for at least one response. He had no idea his message would end up reaching thousands.
“A lot of people read my cry for help and came to my aid – no less than 13 strangers decided to show up and give their support. I was so overwhelmed with joy, that I had to fight back tears. Many of them confided in me throughout the evening and told me that they too had felt the heartwrenching pain of loneliness, but were too afraid of reaching out because of the stigma.”
News of the small gathering made its way around the city and Patrick found himself discussing it on the largest public service radio station in Denmark.
At first I declined their offers, as I was afraid of the stigma and taboo, but after much serious thought, I decided to tell my story – not for myself, but for the good of others. I knew something had to be done about the increasing loneliness rates in Denmark (statistics show, that more than 210.000 Danes often feel lonely), so I took it upon myself to make a change.
I then started a free nationwide peer-to-peer network, where lonely people could find new friends and someone who they could relate to. A network where you were applauded for showing your weaknesses and vulnerability. A network where we as a community would stand together against the taboo that is loneliness.
In January 2017, Patrick began hosting dinner parties and invited many of the members of the group. He took out a student loan to throw the parties for free since most of the group members were students with limited funds. He wanted to eliminate the financial aspect so that everyone could participate. He would even offer some members transportation money to get to his house.
In two months, the group ballooned to over 10,000 members. Patrick dropped out of school to dedicate his life to volunteer work to help people struggling with loneliness and depression. He’s currently planning a non-commercial 20,000 km walk from Denmark to China to raise international awareness about the issue.
“I feel like this story could help and inspire a lot of people sitting at home feeling lonely,” he explained. “Loneliness should not be a taboo in modern society.”