Rachael from ThinkTwice helps us to think about our stories in light of World Mental Health day, get involved if you feel able and offer your story to help own yours, you may even help others along the way.
#OfferYourStory for selfharmUK
I wonder how you feel about your story.
Does it make you proud because of what you’ve overcome and achieved?
Or do you struggle with it? Wish it were different? Perhaps we wish it was a fairytale when it feels too much like a horror story.
I think I’ve been at both ends of the spectrum when it comes to my story, and when it comes to my mental health.
Sometimes I’ve hated my mental illness with a violence I wouldn't have believed possible, I’ve wished to erase it from my story so that it could never darken a day again.
At other times, there has been, if not a love for it, then an acceptance in the part its played in my story.
Over the last decade mental illness has been a somewhat unwelcome character in my story, I’ve learned that fighting its existence is exhausting and unfruitful. Whilst my mental health will ebb and flow like the waves, and healing is very real hope I carry, I don’t need to fight it all the time.
Life and hope need to be fought for, but that doesn’t mean deleting the chapters of our stories that were the most difficult.
One of my favourite writers on mental illness, Marya Hornbacher says this:
“Managing mental illness is mostly about acceptance - of the things you can’t do, and the things you must.”
For me, it means accepting that a 9-5 job with the city commute is not something I can do (even if I wanted to).
It also means accepting that I have to tell my story, to offer it back so that I can drag hope from the most hopeless chapters of my life.
Offering my story was not something I intended to do, there have been times that I couldn’t utter the words ‘self-harm’ or ‘mental illness’, but I’ve found that offering my story invites others in to play their parts.
It won’t be for everyone, part of their job like it is mine.
Offering your story will look different; it might be offering it to a friend who is also struggling, or offering it in a piece of art or writing.
Offering your story might be telling it from start to finish without flinching.
But today, on World Mental Health Day, I encourage you to offer your story, because stigma can’t stand against stories offered and hope shared.
If you’d like to join in with the ThinkTwice #OfferYourStory campaign you can tweet us @ThinkTwiceInfo using the hashtag, find us on Facebook or visit our website https://thinktwiceinfo.org/tag/offeryourstory/