Dorset Mental Health Forum are doing great things. Recovery Narratives are stories of recovery. The stories, like the people they belong to, are deeply personal and indi- vidual. These are not simply stories of woe, or stories that support the notion of people with mental illness being victims. Whilst they may contain accounts of hardship, illness, struggles and pain, recovery narratives are also stories of great hope and immense courage, often illustrating the universal search for meaning that is innate in all of us.
Narratives show the process and move- ment towards understanding and accept- ance, as we progress from mental illness to mental wellness, a wellness shaped by the notion of recovery. Recovery can be viewed as a framework of hope, accept- ance and control over our lives, not about being recovered, as in, without symptoms but rather living a full, meaningful and satisfying life even when we’re experiencing symptoms.
Writing a Recovery Narrative isn’t depend- ent on an ability or confidence in writing. Many people use a tape recorder to record their recovery narrative, which can then be typed up. Some people write poems to express their stories. Others use quotes, lyrics or music that best reflect their situation and process. Others express them- selves best through painting, drawing or photography.
A Recovery Narrative can help us make sense of where we are in our own recovery process. It can help us make sense of our thoughts and feelings and make a situation or a memory clearer in our own minds.
As a peer-led mental health charity we focus on two of the main benefits of Recov- ery Narratives. Firstly, helping to inspire hope and recovery for those who experience mental illness and second, challenging and fighting the stigma associated with having mental illness.
Recovery Narrative Workshops are now being held throughout Dorset. If you would like to learn more about writing a Recovery Narrative or are interested in joining the next workshop in your area, contact Paul Siebenthal (Peer Specialist)
email: paulsiebenthal@dorsetmentalhealth- forum.org.uk or Phone: 01305 257172 Their magazine is called Reflect – it’s an excellent read and can be found at www.dorsetmentalhealthforum.org.uk
With thanks to the Dorset Mental Health Forum