Storytelling may be the greatest of the ancient arts. Civilizations from the Vikings to the Hawaiians passed lengthy chants and sagas on to the following generations. In sharing their history, these cultures inspired their future leaders and memorialized the struggles of the past. 

Affect's 1,000 Journeys Project aims to do the same. We want to hear about how mental health has played a role in one thousand unique lives, whether these are people who have had mental illnesses or the loved ones who have tried to help them. We want to hear about struggles with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, and everything in between. Then, we hope to share these stories with the world. 

1,000 Journeys operates on the belief that such a candid discussion will benefit everyone. People who have never had a mental disorder can learn about the struggles that go unseen while becoming prepared to help others in the future. Family and friends will be able to better understand what their loved ones are going through, and employers could become more receptive to requests from their workers who are mentally ill. 

Yet, we believe the group that would benefit the most would be those who are battling mental illness right now. As we did with legends in the past, we believe that hearing about others battling the same illness can lend strength to someone who is reeling from a new diagnosis. Similarly, sharing these stories recognizes the storyteller's resilience in a fight that is often discredited.

And who knows? Maybe someone will read a story and decide to look into mental health more. Maybe they'll have an idea for a solution. Maybe they'll change the world. 

We are proud to have launched two stories this summer. Click here to read about Malik's struggle with bipolar disorder and here to learn about Jessica's experience with major depressive disorder.


Banner image courtesy of Flickr