Caring Hands & More has been a successful local business for more than 10 years now, but the road wasn’t always easy for owner Bruce Teague.
Back in 2007, in its third year, the business started to grow quickly. Suddenly, everything felt unmanageable.
“Unbeknownst to me, managing all of those components was taking a serious toll,” Teague said.
Teague started to isolate himself down in the basement of his home. First, he was unable to eat or sleep, then just living became even more difficult. He started losing weight and he even went without sleeping for nine days straight.
He began to dream of jumping off a bridge, feeling that it would be “easier to be gone than to be a failure.” That’s when Teague called The Crisis Center’s crisis line for the first time.
“I don’t know who I talked to, but I immediately felt a sense of connection,” he said. “I had a place I could go where I could tell my story.”
He didn’t remember what they talked about, but he remembers wanting to call back. And he did. Whenever his thoughts of suicide returned, no matter what time of day or night, he was able to call and get help from staff and volunteers.
Sometimes when he called, he didn’t even want to talk—he just didn’t want to be alone and the person on the line would stay on the phone and check with him every half hour.
Eventually, through multiple conversations over a two-week period, they helped him get the point where he could leave his home and meet with a volunteer in person through The Crisis Center’s walk-in counseling program. Together, they made a plan for what he would do when he had suicidal thoughts –talk to roommates or call a friend.
“It was so basic, but The Crisis Center saved my life,” he said.
Teague no longer considers himself depressed, but he still pays special attention to his mental health. He still uses a strategy he developed with The Crisis Center during his darkest days.
Every time someone asks, “How are you?” Teague takes a second to check on his mental health. Most days he feels “awesome and amazing” but he knows what he needs to do when he’s not feeling that way so he never “goes back to the basement” again.