No matter how hard it gets, someone else has been there.

*Featured image contains photo by Liza Summer

When we’re struggling, it can be hard to maintain perspective. No matter how many times we tell ourselves that “this too shall pass,” we can’t always see the light ahead during difficult times. That’s when we really rely on our support groups for help.

Sometimes though, it’s the unexpected kindness that pulls us through and gives us hope. One student in England experienced that one day when she felt as though her world was closing in.

A Really Hard Day

a note and a 10 pound bill

One day, a woman named Charlotte Rose Ford was feeling pretty down. She had been having mental health issues and missed some deadlines in her class at the University of Manchester as a result.

“Sometimes I struggle to get my work done to a standard I’m happy with, or I miss deadlines because I’m too distracted by my low mood. Or I’m too anxious that my work isn’t good enough,” Ford wrote on Facebook. “So I have to ask for mitigating circumstances.”

In order to ask for those mitigating circumstances, Ford made a phone call to book an appointment to see the counseling service at the university. She happened to make the call from the café in the students’ union before her afternoon class.

“It wasn’t a particularly fun phone call, and I got a bit emotional while explaining to the counselor what I wanted to see them for,” she continued.

During the call, Ford explained she couldn’t afford the money it would cost to get a note from her doctor in order to qualify for those mitigating circumstances. By the time she hung up, she was ready to go to bed rather than carry on to her afternoon lecture.

An Unexpected Gesture

As Ford sat there and began collecting herself, she texted some friends to see if anyone could come sit and chat with her for a bit. That’s when someone came up to her and placed a cup of coffee in front of her.

“This is for you, someone sent it over,” the person said.

Ford looked down at the cup and realized there was a note tucked inside the sleeve along with a £10 note.

“I hope you don’t mind that I overheard,” the note read. “I just wanted to say don’t worry! I’ve been there, I thought I wouldn’t get through my undergrad and now I’m doing a PhD! This is for the doctor’s note. You’ll get through.”

Ford was so overwhelmed that she burst into tears all over again. She was so thankful to the stranger who sent her the coffee and note that she shared it on Facebook in hopes of letting them know just how touched she was by the kindness.

“I just want people to see this because I think it shows two things,” she wrote. “1) You’re really not on your own no matter how much you might think so, because there’s always someone who’s been there. 2) The world actually is such a lovely place sometimes and that there are people full of kindness!”

We’re Never Alone

Sometimes it’s only human to feel alone, isolated or misunderstood. But this story and these actions remind us all that there is always someone who has been in your situation before, and somehow, they pushed through. That means you can, too.

That’s why it can be so important to speak about and share our experiences with others. Sometimes by opening up about our own mental health, or how we’ve overcome something really hard, we can inspire others to seek the help they need or to find the light in their own circumstances. Sharing gives others hope, and it makes us all feel less alone.

There are so many universal human experiences out there, but they don’t always feel universal. By speaking out and supporting each other in our times of need — even if we’re strangers like the person who helped out in this story — we can all help one another push through when times get tough.