Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are feeling the weight of it growing heavier and heavier. We miss normal life. We miss our friends. We miss travel. We miss not having to mentally measure six feet everywhere we go.
Maybe that's what was on Edmund O'Leary's mind when he tweeted on Friday. Or maybe he had some personal issues or challenges he was dealing with. After all, it's not like people didn't struggle pre-COVID. Now, we just have the added stress of a pandemic on top of our normal mental and emotional upheavals.
Whatever it was, Edmund decided to reach out to Twitter and share what he was feeling.
"I am not ok," he wrote. "Feeling rock bottom. Please take a few seconds to say hello if you see this tweet. Thank you."
I am not ok. Feeling rock bottom. Please take a few seconds to say hello if you see this tweet. Thank you.— Edmund O'Leary (@Edmund O'Leary) 1602887258.0
O'Leary didn't have a huge Twitter following, but somehow his tweet started getting around quickly. Response after response started flowing in from all over the world, even from some famous folks. Thousands of people seemed to resonate with Edmund's sweet and honest call for help and rallied to send him support and good cheer.
Some people sent pet photos and videos, because what's a quicker cheerer-upper than an adorable companion?
@emerald1910 To be precise, she adopted them from @MorrisAnimal — I paid the fees. Adopt from shelters, folks!— Jake Tapper (@Jake Tapper) 1602943458.0
Some also sent photos and videos of animals out in nature to remind Edmund of the beauty and wonder of the wild.
@emerald1910 Good morning, Edmund! Just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you and a remind you that my DMs are… https://t.co/VE7Pv5BI0O— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@Yashar Ali 🐘) 1602942424.0
Some offered the gift of music.
@emerald1910 Hi Edmund. I wanted to say hello and share this with you. One of my favourite pieces to play. Today it… https://t.co/fAqum74EEq— Dr. Jennifer Cassidy (@Dr. Jennifer Cassidy) 1602927802.0
@emerald1910 Hello Edmund from London. Morning always comes. Here’s something from a while ago https://t.co/VIsrJ2f5qm— Fergal Keane (@Fergal Keane) 1602922838.0
Some people offered motivational videos they keep on hand for when they need a lift of their own.
@emerald1910 I saved this to my phone for precisely these feelings. https://t.co/WzFBLDrcwa— Billie (@Billie) 1602952835.0
And others shared silly humor to make Edmund laugh.
@emerald1910 Hello from Edinburgh Edmund. I'm the type of person who loves to make people laugh, especially in the… https://t.co/FP2nKQ7GXi— Claire Rafferty (@Claire Rafferty) 1602933552.0
Some, upon seeing in his Twitter bio that Edmund was interested in aviation, shared images and videos of airplanes or from airplanes. Dublin Airport even sent him "hugs from back home," since Edmund is originally from Ireland.
@emerald1910 Hi Edmund, you are not alone. So many people are feeling exactly that way at the minute. Never forget… https://t.co/eB5TZHEEDK— Dublin Airport (@Dublin Airport) 1602919508.0
From artwork to photos of babies and rainbows to words of solidarity and understanding, the responses to Edmund's tweet were diversely and profoundly uplifting.
Edmund responded to some, but there was no way for him to thank everyone who sent him good wishes. It was so moving to see the flood of support for this random man who put his need for connection out there on social media, with no idea it would result in such a tsunami of love.
@smcdonn4499 Thank you. Trying not to suffer in silence. Running on empty. All the colour in my life seems to be dr… https://t.co/KYL2UumekT— Edmund O'Leary (@Edmund O'Leary) 1602892512.0
And while it was so lovely to see people show up for Edmund in such a big way, the impact spread far beyond just him. Other people who have been struggling shared that people's reactions to Edmund helped them as well.
@SophiaBush I hope it’s okay that I’m reading your tweet as though it’s for me. This year has been one of the harde… https://t.co/fmHcogUoaE— Beth (@Beth) 1602902291.0
It was like a huge humanity fest, with words of encouragement and inspiration flowing out in all directions to everyone who caught part of the thread.
@gracefulily27 @emerald1910 Julia, you tweeted Edmund & it helped me. Just a few weeks before COVID19 hit my area (… https://t.co/YQ6IAi0HOH— Isobella the Kat &Clowder Looking for Good Trouble (@Isobella the Kat &Clowder Looking for Good Trouble) 1602904119.0
Though we can't fully connect with people in the ways we're used to during the pandemic, people are finding ways to reach out and be there for one another—even perfect strangers who live across continents and oceans from one another.
@normandy_paul @emerald1910 Wife is reading all these messages and it’s helping her - feb 2018 her father passed, M… https://t.co/9XTwcXittR— gentlemanmike (@gentlemanmike) 1603103802.0
BBC Breakfast talked with Edmund about his viral tweet and the overwhelming response.
"The whole experience has been absolutely surreal and provides me with a lot of hope," he said. "I've gone from feeling like a nobody to feeling like a somebody. To have that happen overnight is just surreal, something that most ordinary people have never experienced or will never experience."
He added: "Eighteen and a half million people and counting have seen my tweet. Nothing can prepare you for that!"
When Edmund was feeling down he asked people to say hello on Twitter. He never imagined he would get the response h… https://t.co/2Z5GyDLxKM— BBC Breakfast (@BBC Breakfast) 1603117080.0
Just by being vulnerable and putting his feelings out there, Edmund created a beautiful wave of support for himself and others. This collective, global act of pure human kindness is exactly the antidote we need to this crappy dumpster fire of a year. Thank you, Edmund for making it happen.
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