Storytelling is an experience that unites people and creates more robust, deeper connections. From the earliest recorded history, storytelling was a method to communicate, educate, share, and connect. Storytelling is also a powerful method for learning. One of the things that are unique about stories is that they communicate knowledge and meaning. We learn from observations, first-hand experiences, and by sharing those experiences through stories. Most of us are happy to share our stories until it comes to our mental health.
Mental illness is not an easy topic to discuss, due to the stigma still associated with it. It is not easy for the person battling it nor for their families to talk about it. People going through their own battles often do not know or appreciate the incredible power behind their stories. Each story is a unique experience that empowers others to open up. It can also educate people on mental health and mental illness and help people feel less alone on their own journey.
In our work at Highway to Well, we are privileged to bear witness to many incredible stories from amazing people every single day. We are forever changed and shaped by them. It’s our pleasure to be able to capture some of them here in the hope that by sharing these stories we can demystify mental illness, we can normalise help seeking, we can improve our understanding of peoples experiences, but mostly, we can be inspired and moved by the bravery and resilience of these incredible individuals.
Some have shared their stories in their own words, and some have permitted us to use our own. Some have put their name to the story and some have decided to share it anonymously for a whole host of different reasons but the most consistent one being safety. We also understand that we share ‘a’ perspective as told by the individual, which is a unique experience. Others experiencing similar situations may have had an entirely different perspective.
Welcome to Speed Bumps, Potholes and Roundabouts: Stories from the Road. I hope you find it as inspiring and empowering as we have.