Thursday, December 1, 2011

Value of Story

How's my mental health today?

Things are going well - the new medication seems to be making a difference. I don't feel a need to dwell on  that question today.

Instead, I'm focused on the idea of story. I began this blog as an exercise to develop my writing skills and organize my thoughts about what to write.

I'm still trying to figure out how and why I would go beyond writing this blog. What would I write about? Do I tell my personal story? I'm actually very tired of telling my mental illness/mental health story. I've lost count of the number of times that I've shared my story, and I've told it in many different ways to address a variety of purposes.

Is there more to tell? Am I called to continue to tell the story? Do I have other stories to tell? Is there a reason to tell these stories that goes beyond feeding a narcissistic obsession?

I am having difficulty remaining on a linear thought trail. I'm bouncing in many directions today. While I question the value of retelling my story, other thoughts and memories pop up. 
  • Telling my story was cathartic.
  • Telling the story was part of my healing and growing.
  • The ever changing story illuminated my progress and new perspectives based on my increased enlightenment and understanding.
  • People told me that my story helped them understand what their friend or family member was going through and what they needed.
  • Others told me that they realized they were not alone in their experience.
  • Some people were encouraged to come out of the closet and share their own stories.
  • I heard people say that my story gave them hope for themselves and/or someone close to them.
  • A few found ideas for new strategies for their own healing.
  • Discouraged and jaded care-providers found themselves re-energized; their passion for helping reignited by a story of hope.
  • A young man with schizophrenia told me that my story was the inspiration for his own healing and successful entry into working in the mental health field.
I feel humbled, and occasionally overwhelmed to the point of tears by people's positive responses.

I seem to have just outlined the argument for continuing to tell my story.

Am I up to the task?

Our stories matter...Your stories matter… For you never know 
how much of a difference they make and to whom. 
~ Caroline Joy Adams

Earlier this month (November 7) I posted about telling my story as part of our pastor's God in the Movies message on A Beautiful Mind. If you're interested the link below will take you to a Quicktime video of that message.

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