Stories are powerful things. They are little windows into our past and future. They can be about anything – disrupted expectations, fulfilled dreams, unrequited love or who we are becoming. They are the roadmap to being human. Through them we explore and express ourselves. They offer us choices – terrifying, exciting, inspiring, heartbreaking and all of the above. They can free us of cultural boundaries and help us discover who we can be through common human-ness. They help us be true to ourselves in our everyday lives through all the little contrasting and conflicting choices we make.
We are told stories by our parents, societies, communities and religions. Sometimes they can be unfulfilling, stopping us from realising our own power. They represent patterns, not each person’s individuality or each individual’s personality.
We tell stories about ourselves to ourselves. These can make the difference between getting through our life everyday or really living the life we want with all the tools available to us. We are only limited by our imagination.
Stories are invaluable. Speaking them out loud and being listened to is empowering. Listening to other people’s stories can be humbling and humanising.
How I wish I did not qualify for this meeting but today I had the good fortune of meeting two beautiful young people who really wanted to listen to my story. They made time and space to meet with a few survivors of suicide from various parts of the UK. They wanted to know about the loved ones we had lost, how we were coping and what needed to be done. They truly listened. They allowed themselves to be moved by our stories. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge came across as real people with sensitive and kind hearts and a strong will to shine a light on mental health related issues.
Today could be a landmark day in the history of Suicide Prevention. I feel happy. The little boat that I have been frantically paddling with the help of a few friends for the past 17 months seems to have got some wind behind it. In fact there might be a fleet on its way. There is hope.