Monday 25 April 2016

The Power of Storytelling: Hannah G's Experience

Hannah Graham (@possiblyvintage), for the blog shares her story

Hi I’m Hannah. I live in York with my husband and our cat Oscar. I started my Possibly Vintage blog as a creative outlet and somewhere to share my thoughts and opinions. I post about everything from fitness goals and healthy recipes, to product reviews and caring for your mental health. My little slice of the internet is dedicated to finding happiness in the mundane and enjoying the things we take for granted.

What inspired you to share your story?

When I first got ill I was a young teenager. Out of shame and embarrassment I tried to keep my illness a secret from my classmates and teachers, in fact, anyone who wasn’t a close friend. However, if you’ve experienced severe depression you’ll know that’s really not possible. I learnt the hard way that keeping things hidden isn’t possible and ultimately makes us feel worse about our issues. Since I came to that realisation, I’ve been as open and honest about everything as I can be.

Has telling your story helped you?

I don’t think that anyone but my family, closest friends and husband know the full story in all its detail, and there are some instances where I have completely blocked out all memories, but I believe sharing my experiences has helped me massively. Not only has it allowed me to understand what I have been through, but it also helps me work through ongoing issues and get my thoughts and feelings straight for myself.

Has telling your story helped anyone else?

I can’t say definitively. I would like to think so, in fact I hope so but I have no proof. It has made understanding my illness a lot easier for my husband and close friends – I guess that counts.

What did you find hardest about telling your story?

Nothing. What has happened has happened. I can’t change it and nor would I. It has made me who I am today. I tried hard to keep secrets but had them pried from me before being disowned and judged by everyone except my family and close friends. Since then I have been open about all my experiences when asked.

Do you have any advice to anyone thinking about sharing their story?

I think you’ll be surprised about how therapeutic sharing your story is, and you’ll realise that you’re not alone; there are a lot of people that have been through similar issues and are there to comfort and support you.

Should I tell my employers about my mental health issues?

I have experienced a lot of trepidation about disclosing my mental health issues to my employers and have kept it from them in the past. I have lived with depression for well over 10 years and have managed it very easily (give or take a few serious bouts) which has meant that I haven’t felt the need to notify my employers. Recently I have had a more serious lapse during which I have mentioned my issues to my employer who has been incredibly supportive. In short, I would say you may be surprised by their reaction.

Are you interested in getting involved in The Power of Storytelling Blog series? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch

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