The aim of this website is to empower people affected by mental health problems to experience recovery by creating and taking control of their own story. By this, we mean thinking about and defining who they are for themselves.
Many people with mental health problems spend time being assessed and assisted by mental health professionals and social services. Naturally, the conversations are often focused on the negative effects of mental ill health. For some people this might include problems and difficulties like drug or alcohol problems, unemployment, suicidal thoughts, traumatic experiences etc.
As a result of repeating these conversations over time, the problems and difficulties begin to define who the person is. For example, the person’s ‘story’ might become ‘I am someone with a drug problem’ or ‘I am someone who has had a traumatic experience’.
Every story has a flip side
While these facts are true, they are not the whole story – or the whole person. The fact is that many people with mental health problems have had to face severe hardships – yet they’ve survived. So it’s clear they have exceptional resilience and strength. But for as long as they stay focused on the negative effects of mental ill health, it’s unlikely they’ll see these positive qualities. And that can hinder recovery.
You’re the hero of your story
Creating your story puts you at the centre of your story – in other words you become the hero. You don’t have to be defined by the terms and phrases you hear as a result of mental health problems. You can take a much wider viewpoint.
When you write your story, you can begin to look back on your experiences over time and to reflect on your journey of recovery, with all its ups and downs.
Creating your story can also help you see some of the things that might help with your recovery – and some of the things that might hinder it. For example, you might gain a new outlook on something, discover some positive qualities you never knew you had, or work out who or what you really value in life. Similarly you might see who or what is not helping your recovery and begin to think about ways you can change things and take more control of your life.
Helping you see the positives more clearly
When you create your story on our website – or stories, we hope you’ll come back and visit time and time again – you can request prompts to help you along the way. These are designed to help you through the writing process but also to help you identify those strengths and successes that we so often hide away.
There is growing evidence that tells us that sharing recovery stories have much to offer in terms of recovery, wellbeing, resilience, identity and meaning.
When you first start writing, it may make you feel worse for a little while, because it can bring up difficult feelings. But most people find this passes quickly and report feeling better for having got their ‘story’ out – whether they choose to share it, or keep it to themselves.
SRN wants to encourage freedom of expression on the Write to Recovery website. As such, although we operate moderation protocols, and users and authors are asked to abide by the Terms and Conditions and End User License Agreement, some readers may find some of the contents of the stories on this website offensive or upsetting.