Stories are often about people, and a good story is about something we can relate to or identify with. Identifying with a story is important because it can help shape the outcome of any personal struggles you may be dealing with at the time.
Sharing or listening to someone talk about a lived experience you can relate to has a number of advantages.
Lived experience storytelling can show you’re not alone
The simple realisation that you’re “not alone” in dealing with a mental health issue, can make a big difference to how you deal with it. It can give you hope.
Listening to someone recount a lived experience you can relate to is an integral part of the benefits of a good support network. After listening, it is common for individuals to say they feel less like outsiders, and realise that there are others in similar situations.
Hearing from someone who has “walked in their shoes” can have a powerful effect and it can show how getting help and support was effective.
Storytelling and helping others
Storytelling and sharing lived experiences can help others too. War veterans for example are often encouraged to share their stories about how they have dealt with mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and anger management. Talking about mental health often helps improve your own personal situation.
People seeking to improve their mental health and wellbeing often report feeling much better after sharing their experiences. Again, support networks exist for this very reason. After sharing, it is common for individuals to say they feel less like outsiders.
Telling stories can normalise mental health condition and disorders
Another benefit of sharing lived experiences is how it can help normalise mental health disorders. The above mentioned war veterans sharing their stories is a great example of this, created to help other Defence personnel by repeating the message that it’s ok to get help for depression, anxiety and PTSD.
The continued storytelling and sharing of lived experiences of common mental health disorders helps to reduce the stigma of a mental health concern.
If you need someone to talk to, reach out to one of our counsellors: Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.