Sharing Stories of Mental Illness & Recovery

public-speakingToday’s blog entry is by Margo Robinson, one of the author’s of Evening the frayed edges and Evening the frayed edges: Ripples of Recovery. Margo is also a WRAP facilitator and Peer Support Training Alumni.

Sharing Stories of Mental Illness and Recovery

by Margo Robinson

This summer I had the privilege of attending a course that was funded by the Consumers Initiative Fund of Vancouver Mental Health Services.  The course, “Sharing Stories of Mental Illness and Recovery”, was taught by Seia Roots.

I have been writing and sharing about my recovery for a few years but realized I had room for improvement.  My desire was to have a clear, positive message that would give hope and encouragement to the listeners.

The first half of the course, 4 weeks, taught us how to write about our recovery.  We were encouraged to trust our writing to tell our story.  We read some examples of recovery stories and examined what recovery meant to us.

I had already been writing extensively about my recovery but I learned to balance my story from my first signs of mental illness to diagnosis and what I did to move into recovery.  Just by the number of years I was experiencing symptoms it was easy to put the emphasis on the negative rather than the emphasis on  living in recovery.  Writing about what I did and what helped me in my journey in more detail, expanding on this, was what I needed to write into my story.

During the second 4 weeks we learned how to share our stories in less than 20 minutes.  We practiced sharing our stories with each other and gave encouragement and helpful suggestions to one another.  Seia was a great cheerleader, always gently prodding us to develop our speaking skills, applying the valuable tips she taught us.

At the end of our course, Seia met with us individually to give us further feedback and  encouragement.  Our graduation was an evening of public speaking, sharing our stories before an audience.

After taking this course, I believe I have become a more confident and polished speaker.  I have since spoken on four other occasions and I love the opportunity to share my story with varied audiences.

This is an excellent course, great content and taught with enthusiasm.

Information about Vancouver courses like the one Margo describes, offered through Consumer Involvement & Initiatives, are posted under “news” on the Spotlight on Mental Health website:

You can also receive announcements about such courses, work opportunities and information we think is of interest to those living with mental health issues by joining the Consumer Opportunities E-List. To join, send a note to: The list is open to everyone.

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