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The Healing Power of Sharing Our Stories: Part 1

Posted Mar 29 2013 8:15am
Guest Post by: Kathryn Vercillo

Kathryn Vercillo headshot As I sit here to write my own story, I am thinking about the magic of all of the voices that have already come together on the PTSD Survivors Speak blog before me. I believe strongly in the power of sharing our individual stories and listening carefully to the stories of others. What has touched me is how many people have been open in sharing the positive ways that they have transcended trauma. This is not new for me, as many people have opened up to me personally to share their stories, but it always awes me to see the magic of this in action.

Researching for Crochet Saved My Life

I am the author of Crochet Saved My Life, a book about the health benefits of crafting including crocheting to heal from PTSD. In my research for this book, I interviewed dozens of women who had crafted to heal. These women usually didn’t know me and yet they opened up to me with amazingly powerful stories about the intimate, difficult details of what they had gone through. Something powerful happened as they shared their stories with me and then trusted me to share their stories with others through my book. They experienced a catharsis, a letting go, through releasing their stories to the ears of someone else who validated their experience just by listening sympathetically.

After the Publication

Once the book was published, more people started coming forward to share their stories with me. Others started publishing their own stories on blogs. Some joined my Ravelry group set up specifically to support each other in sharing how crafting had healed us. Some of these were people who had thought about participating in my original interview but who backed out from the fear associated with sharing their stories for the first time. After reading the stories of those who did participate, they felt braver and safer and more willing to open up to the world with their own experiences. The courage of others to share their stories gave them the bravery they needed to share themselves. Once they shared, they experienced that same catharsis.

Getting Ready to Share Your Story

I was going to share my own trauma story here today but as I wrote this article I realized that I am past that point right now. I have shared my own story in many mediums, for many audiences, over the course of many years. Sharing it was a very important part of my healing process. I told it in bits and pieces, fits and starts, on therapy couches and during cocktail hours until finally I was healed from all that had happened to me.

Today, because of my own experience of sharing my story and healing, I am now able to be a person who bears witness to the stories that others have to share. It is a position of much responsibility but one that I relish. When I did the research for Crochet Saved My Life, I allowed the women who were interviewed to choose whether to remain anonymous or share their real names, and I let them select the details and depths of the stories that they wished to share. That is because I believe not only in the power of sharing our stories but also in the value of letting each story be what it is at any given time. I believe that story-sharing is an ongoing process, not a finished act, and one that should be treated gently.

Each of us is a work in progress. Each of us is a story in development. How much of that story we are ready to share will vary with time. The important thing is to share when you can, listen to others when you can and be always curious about the next chapter of your own life.

Image of Cover for Crochet Saved My Life (1) About the author:  Kathryn Vercillo , author of a book called Crochet Saved My Life , which explores all of the mental and physical health benefits of the craft. Kathryn blogs at Crochet Concupiscence .

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