I’ve heard ALOT of stories in 17 years of working with and hearing about patients at Guardian Nurses. To honor those stories, which never cease to amaze me, there is a plaque on the wall outside my office that says “You can’t make this stuff up.”
This weekend, I was again reminded of the importance of telling stories when I watched a Netflix movie called “The Eichmann Show.” This is the dramatic and compelling true story behind a moment in TV history: the live 1961 broadcast of Nazi mass-murderer Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem. A character in the movie, who is a survivor of the concentration camps, tells the director of that TV broadcast “because of your showing the trial, now people are listening about what happened.”
As we prepare to launch our new podcast, we are ever mindful of the importance and the value of telling stories. We hope you enjoy this issue of The Flame.
Of course, everyone has a story, but not everyone TELLS their story. Especially to their healthcare providers. Just last week, we spoke with a patient who wanted us to get her into a drug and alcohol rehab facility. In our initial conversation, she shared that she was, in fact, in therapy and liked her therapist, but she had never told her therapist about her drinking.
Maya Angelou wrote, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Study after study prove that bearing that untold story can have a damaging effect on both your physical and your mental health. The anxiety and depression that many people have experienced thanks to the COVID19 pandemic only make things worse.
There may be parts of your story that you don’t like, events that are difficult or painful to talk about, and maybe you would rather pretend those parts of your story didn’t exist. Maybe you feel that your story is insignificant, but the truth is every story matters. Your story matters. Here are the reasons why:
- Your story matters because you matter. Your story matters because it reveals you, your vulnerability.
- Your story matters because it is unique. No-one else has your story, and no-one else can tell your story without you doing so first. You may worry that it is not as dramatic or exciting as other people’s, or you may feel that it is not as you would like it to be.
- Sharing your story doesn’t mean that everything has to be resolved with all the loose ends tied neatly in a bow. Your story is still on-going.
- Your story matters because as you tell it, healing can follow.
- Your story matters because people love to listen to stories. Storytelling brings truth to life in an accessible and memorable way.
- Your story matters because it can unlock healing for someone else. One of the most powerful phrases in the English language is made up of two simple words: “Me too.” As you share your story, you have no idea how it is going to connect with someone else, how they may be able to relate to what you say, how your words can let them know they are not alone and how hearing of your experiences can give them hope.
- Sharing your story involves some level of vulnerability. Someone has to go first and while it’s scary to not know what the response will be, your words may be exactly what someone needs to hear.
We’ve all been through a long, challenging year filled, no doubt, with a multitude of emotions. While COVID19 vaccines offer a reason to be optimistic and hopeful, our feelings are not just going to “go away.” That’s why it will be important now more than ever to spread the word and talk about our mental health openly and honestly.