As PTSD Awareness Day commences today in the UK, Rutger Bruining, CEO of national biography-writing service, StoryTerrace, discusses the profound benefits that storytelling can have on our mental health. StoryTerrace is the leading international biographer that matches those with a story to tell, with a professional ghostwriter who pens it for them, and hosts hundreds of moving accounts from those who have battled mental illness in some of its rawest forms.
The positive effect of documenting and recounting our experiences has been well-documented, in fact, in some cases, journaling is “prescribed” to reduce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms as well as to help those suffering from depression and anxiety. Marking PTSD Awareness Day, StoryTerrace shares some of the incredible accounts of those who have found this to be true.
Meet Naushad Qayyum, a remarkable individual from Leeds with a moving story to tell
In Naushad’s poignant memoir, he details growing up as a dutiful Muslim son, later marrying a woman his family approved of. On the day of his wedding, his father took the stage for his speech when Naushad noticed a worrying slur in his father’s speech. What happened next changed Naushad’s life forever. His father died that day of a heart attack which resulted in severe PTSD symptoms for Naushad, to the point that he could not function and even forgot his marriage.
After undergoing intense therapy and practising regular mental health exercises, Mr Qayyum is now a campaigner for suicide awareness, a mental health role model for men, and a gentleman who takes his community and history seriously to show others that they are not alone.
Naushad approached StoryTerrace to help raise awareness and share his story. He says: “What my experience taught me is that we have to talk – especially men. Where suicide rates are at the highest they have ever been, we have few options left. Talking about my experiences with StoryTerrace helped me feel connected to myself – it helped me remember things I thought I had forgotten and allowed me to let go of shame. We are not alone.”
After enlisting the help of the biography-writing service, Naushad, went on to speak about his journey on broadcast and podcast platforms to continue to advocate awareness. Now developing an organisation dedicated to helping men who live with mental health issues, Naushad is dedicated to promoting an open space where people talk about their experiences.
Through the process of talking with one of the many professional ghost-writers at StoryTerrace, Naushad said: “The interview process helped me to gain clarity and organise my thoughts. Seeing my experience in writing and re-reading what happened is an incredible tool to help me process what happened – even now. When I read it, it makes more sense and I feel a sense of pride looking back at what I’ve gone through and where I am now. I would recommend the process to anyone who is coming out the other side of the darkness and is ready to reflect and gain closure.”
Rutger Bruining, Founder and CEO of StoryTerrace, comments on the power of the written word and the benefits of sharing one’s experiences:
“Sharing experiences has always been a powerful tool of expression and preservation. Now we know as research suggests, it also is also extremely beneficial for our mental health and represents a beacon of hope for others going through similar circumstances. When we take a step back and consider the value of sharing and telling our stories, we see only benefits to the individual, their family, friends, loved ones and even members of the public who can relate to a similar experience.”
“There is power in the written word, and I am honoured to work at a company where over 750 amazing ghostwriters get the chance to enjoy their love of writing and curate relationships with clients where they feel listened to and appreciated. The magic of books – is that it is there forever. The legacy is literally preserved in an art form to be cherished and passed down.”