Shared storytelling is one of the foundations of civilization. Studies have shown that sharing experiences with others can result in improved health and well-being.
Sharing a story about your personal experiences with mental health challenges can help in your own recovery as well as provide encouragement and support to others. You can make a difference for yourself and others by sharing your experiences and perspective. Story sharing can be done in many forms, including poetry, art, prose/blog, photos, videos and songs.
Your personal journey provides a sense of community; a message that we are not alone and our situations are far from hopeless.
It’s important to Give an Hour that if you chose to share your story, you feel comfortable in doing so. It takes courage to tell your story and by telling your story you are empowering yourself in your healing and self-growth. Sometimes, sharing our stories can bring up emotional wounds or growth that we may need to explore. Self-care is important before, during and after storytelling.
Check in with yourself about how you are doing after you share. Remind yourself that you took a big step by creating or publishing something personal. You may want to journal or keep track of your emotions. By monitoring your emotions, you can recognize when you feel proud of what you accomplished or identify areas in which you need additional support(s). To learn more about the emotional signs of suffering, click here.
Sharing with others can be emotionally draining. Your emotional well-being is always important, but especially after you tell your story. Before you choose to share, or speak about your story, have something in mind that helps you feel supported and healthy to do after sharing. Set aside time to participate in Healthy Habits. By keeping your body healthy, you can keep your mind healthy as well! If you run, keep running. If you meditate, keep meditating! Whatever your self-care routines are, they are important to keep up after sharing your story.
You may know what you hope to accomplish by sharing your story or you may not. By being realistic about what comes after sharing, you can prepare yourself to handle expectations. Individuals may react to your story in a way you don’t expect or agree with. Remember that no matter how your story is perceived you did this for yourself first. Someone heard your story and found hope from it, even if it isn’t evident immediately.
Before and after you speak or share, you may feel a mix of emotions. Be sure to identify your support network in case you need to process your storytelling experience or if you need some words of encouragement. Your support network includes loved ones, close friends, group therapy participants, mentors, organizations specializing in mental health and more.