The Stranger That Called Me

by Mary Bristol
Pennsylvania, USA

The STranger the Called Me

My marriage was falling apart and I was too. My husband and I had been fighting for months, and I knew that I was losing him. For years, my husband had repeatedly told me that I was helpless, that I would not be able to survive without him, that I was no good and a failure, and that no one would ever love me. I believed him. I had NO self-esteem.

On a Saturday night in 1997, my husband told me that he would be moving out. He said he did not love me. That night, I could not sleep. I cried and cried. I wanted to die since I believed that I could not be alone. I finally got up and turned on my computer. I am a diabetic and I belong to an online diabetic discussion group. I poured my heart out to the group. I told them I wanted to die and asked them how much insulin I needed totake to kill myself, since I wanted to be sure I died and did not just end up in a coma. Somehow I knew that I would not get an answer to my question, but I never imaged the result of my cry for help that night.

On Sunday I spent the day at a friend’s house. When I got home, I checked my phone messages. I had several messages from a man that I did not know. He was a member of the diabetes discussion group and was worried about me after reading my post. He asked me to please call him.

I knew I needed help. His concern seemed so real that I called him. He persuaded me to let him call an ambulance to take me to the hospital so I could get the help I needed. He said I must not kill myself. I was loved and would be missed by all the people in the discussion group.

I spent nine days in the mental ward of the hospital. I did not try to commit suicide. Instead, I received the counseling and medication I needed. All during this time, this man called me almost every day, and had others from the discussion group call and send cards and flowers to cheer me up. All of this was from strangers who went out of their way to help me.

It seems that the Internet is always getting a bad rap, but in my case, the Internet was my savior. This man heard me online and saved my life. I will never forget him.

Two years later, I have regained the self-esteem that I lost while being married to an alcoholic. I am enjoying my life as a single woman. For all of this, I want to thank the stranger that called me that night and made me get the help I needed to go on with my life.

Originally published as HeroicStories #119 on Feb 10, 2000
Available in The Best of HeroicStories, Volume 2.

1 thought on “The Stranger That Called Me”

  1. Thank you so much Mary! It took courage for you to write and tell your story and I for one appreciate it. It is uplifting to hear that when you needed help, it was provided to you. I am so glad he was persistent and able to get in touch with you so you would know how valued and important you are. You have come so far from where you were and this story helps to pay if forward as others may relate to what you have written and take the next positive step forward.


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