For many people, December is the most joyful month of the year, but for some, it can be the loneliest. That was the case for Patrick Cakirli, a blogger from Denmark who felt incredibly alone this past holiday season.
Cakirli tried to be proactive in combating his winter depression. He made a forum post about friendship, and managed to change the lives of thousands.
Feeling terribly alone, Patrick Cakirli asked for help by posting on the Danish equivalent of Yik Yak. He said he would be at a certain location for a certain amount of time, and was met with the kindness of strangers. 13 people showed up to befriend the blogger out of the goodness of their hearts.
Now, one year later, roughly 10,000 people who feel similarly down and out are trying the exact same thing.
Patrick Cakirli Had A Hard Life
To say Patrick Cakirli has had a hard life would be an understatement. According to a blog post he made on boredpanda.com, he has been through the ringer. That's part of the reason he was in such a bad place in November, 2016. Cakirli described his childhood years as follows:
"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."
He Felt Completely Alone
In September of 2016, Cakirli's girlfriend of six years cheated on him. To make things worse, he was now friendless, as he had cut all other personal ties when he got back with this same girlfriend in 2010.
Cakirli found himself in a dark place, and even became suicidal. He was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, but was released after one week of treatment. In the depths of his loneliness, he decided to reach out through the internet:
"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."
He Posted To Jodel About His Loneliness
Jodel is basically the Danish equivalent of the anonymous, location-based messaging app "Yik Yak." Cakirli posted this message to the app:
“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.”
Anyone using the app within a 10 kilometer radius can see the messages posted there. Little did Cakirli know that posting this message would irrevocably change the course of his life.
13 Strangers Showed Up
Not long after Cakirli sent out his message, he was met with not one, but 13 strangers who had come to his aid. Cakirli was moved beyond belief:
"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 heart-wrenching pain of loneliness, but were too afraid of reaching out because of the stigma."