By Savannah Christie, CMWN Intern & DU Student
Everyone has a story to tell, whether it be a happy memory or tragic loss, it holds a certain significance to whomever possesses it. What many people do not realize is how much of an impact your story can have on other people, no matter the nature of the story. In the mental health field we often hear people talking about their “story.” Usually, someone’s story is a recount of a time period during which they struggled with alcohol abuse, drug addiction, mental disorders or difficult emotions, then how they overcame that difficult time. Such stories are often told in group settings, discussed with peers or if someone’s comfortable enough, in a casual manner. Being encouraged to share our stories can be an intimidating thought for many, the thought of sharing aloud and the thought of taking their mind back to that negative place. Perhaps if we were more aware of the benefits of sharing our story with others, then we would be able to see the importance of doing so.
Some benefits to sharing our story with others include; giving others confidence, reassuring others, giving others hope or goals and providing helpful advice. In addition to all these positives, it says a lot about a person who is willing to speak up and share their experience. It takes a courageous and confident person to do so, especially knowing that the first time you share will be challenging. By sharing your story you are making peers or even strangers aware of your story and the challenges you’ve overcome, and how you dealt with those difficulties. You never know when something you say will be the one thing that resonates with a listener and helps them instrumentally in their recovery.
Personally, I am in the middle of writing my story. Therefore, the thought of opening up to peers and sharing is extremely intimidating. I was diagnosed with depression about two months ago and since then I have been doing everything in my willpower to overcome this disorder, but on the other hand, knowing this is something I will deal with for the rest of my life. I struggle everyday with how I want to approach my depression: medications, exercising, mindfulness, psychotherapy or just trying to accept myself. And that is why I say I am still writing my story and why I believe I am the perfect candidate to listen to other’s stories. At this point in my life, I think the most important thing is to accept my feelings and have thoughts without judgement. For me, it would mean the world to hear someone’s story that involved these methods and how they went about incorporating such things into their recovery process. Once I get that figured out, I believe I’ll have a story to tell that in turn will help others, so stay posted!