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Stories Untold

TyL's picture

I think an essential part of mental illness is that the patient feels like nobody has been listening to him/her for a very long time, and they are stuffed full of a need to speak, to tell their story, but they perceive no listening ear to hear it. I think that's a large part of the culture, the veneer, the outside appearance of "Fine, it's all fine, I'm fine"--nobody wants to hear the pain of someone else's life, and the considerate (maybe overly so) would rather let it eat away at them than burden another person with it, even if it would give them relief.

But stories need to be told; that's an ancient, essential human impulse, and not necessarily a human one either: what is simpler or more urgent than the white flag of a deer's tail as it bounds away from danger? Stories untold burn in us, making us seethe and yearn and rip at our skin to get the story out. And I think that reading stories lets us empathize with the teller, lets us vicariously tell our stories through reading the telling of others, lets us imagine how we would feel if we opened our mouths or picked up our pens...

Not really sure where I'm going with this, except that stories need to be told, and from my own experience (personal and with friends)of mental illness, behind each diagnosis is an untold story.

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