A Woman Named Kelsi

I just got an email last night from a woman named Kelsi.
It was one of the most satisfying emails I’ve ever received.

Several months ago Kelsi was depressed and thinking about suicide.
I’ll share her entire note in a moment.
But here’s how she ended it:

“I can never thank you enough, Frank, for doing that story on me.
A total stranger you took a chance on when she thought ending her life was the answer.
So many wonderful things have happened in my life since.
I’m so very glad that I am here and that I am alive.”

Kelsi lives out of state.
I’ve never met her.
But back in September she wrote me out of the blue.
In a way she was reaching out for help.
I asked her if I could post her letter.
She said yes.

Here’s part of what she wrote back then:

Hi, Mr. Somerville.
You’re probably sleeping at the moment as I type this.
It’s 2:30 am here where I am.

Truth be told, I’ve spent the last hour or two going through your photos on Facebook.
I needed a distraction.

I struggle with mental illness.
My depression and all that comes with it is pretty horrible.
Tonight was bad.
My depression got dark.

But) going through your page tonight helped me.
I laughed, I cried, I smiled, and was humbled.
You care about your family, your community, your work.

Instead of cutting myself or worse tonight, I distracted myself and learned a lot from your Facebook page.
You’ve impacted my life, Mr. Somerville.
I just wanted to say thank you.
Sincerely,

Kelsi

P.S.–If you believe in prayer, say a few for me?
I’d appreciate it. Thank you.

More than 500 people left comments encouraging Kelsi.
A few days later she wrote me again:

I just wanted to say I have read all the comments and I am so humbled by everyone’s love and care for me.
You all have helped me realize that my struggle is bigger than me.
And that I am not alone in this.
That people who don’t even know me, care.

There are so many of us hurting and each of us knows how to wear a mask with the plastered on smile and the laughter pre-recorded.

You all have impacted my life in a way I can’t even explain.

For now, know that I am okay.

I didn’t think so much love and kindness from total strangers were even possible.
I didn’t expect to have so many comments and words of encouragement.
Truth be told, I didn’t think anyone would say anything.
Why would anyone care about me?
I’m still baffled, but grateful.
Thank you all so much.
You have truly helped

Kelsi

I was so happy for Kelsi.
However you never know if that help is really going to make a difference down the line.

That’s why I was so excited to hear from Kelsi last night.
Here’s what she wrote:

Hi Frank!
I am doing good.
Really good.
Besides a slip up with cutting, I’ve been in an awesome place.
I am now six months into my recovery with an eating disorder. Whooooo!!!!!!!

Never in my life did I think it was possible for me to recover.
I always thought I would die from my eating disorder.
I am also weight restored.

I have an amazing boyfriend (who I met on your Facebook page after you did that story about me).
We’ve been dating for nearly four months now.
He’s really amazing.

For the first time in a little over three years, I am getting ready to go back to college in a few weeks.
I had to drop out in 2011 because of my eating disorder and being suicidal.
Now, I’m in a good place to go back again. I’m nervous, scared, and excited for what is to come.

I can never thank you enough, Frank, for doing that story on me.
A total stranger you took a chance on when she thought ending her life was the answer.
So many wonderful things have happened in my life since.
I’m so very glad that I am here and that I am alive.

Thank you.
Kelsi

I am so proud of Kelsi.
I love her smile.
She looks happy.

And I want to thank ALL OF YOU for supporting Kelsi.
All of your comments (over 1100 in total) gave her hope.
And look at the result!
Together WE can make a difference.

Stay strong Kelsi.

Kelsi

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