In mental health, we talk a lot about stigma. How stigma leads to misconceptions about what mental illness is, how people living with mental illness act, and how possible recovery is. This misconceptions hurt people's access to support, which is the very thing that could save their life. So for my very first HuffPo blog post, I wanted to use my story as a message of how I try to defeat stigma.
I'd never encountered a Tangophone before, and that's because the one at the 2 Cambridge Street apartment in Edinburgh is the only one in the world. We'd just arrived in Edinburgh for the start of one of the lesser-known festivals in Festival City, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, so it seemed perfect that we found ourselves in unique accommodation that was full of stories itself.
Your therapist is in a meeting. Your hypnotist has double booked her room and expects you to wait in a room full of patients seeing osteopaths and who may be moaning quietly in pain. Or staring at you. These are all bad things. BUT if you are free of the above - here are the criteria for successful story writing...
"Hot Chocolate is 2Pac's dad" was something that a friend told me over a pint when we were teens. As you can imagine it divided the group, some were taken aback by the revelation and others laughed and called bullsh**. I didn't fully believe it at the time but as years went by I realised that part of me never truly disbelieved.
Politicians talk a lot. Communicating clear ideas and workable policies to voters is key to winning an election and an inevitable part of political rhetoric relies upon telling stories. Representing a policy through a narrative description is a way of personalising an issue and perhaps helping a potential voter relate to an idea that might otherwise appear abstract.
On June 5th I emerged from the Big Brother eye like a deer in the headlights, wondering what on earth I was getting myself into by entering Britain's most infamous house. With a fear of the unknown, I nervously trembled down a stage with hundreds of strangers booing me and calling me every name under the sun as I embarked on the start of the most unforgettable month of my life.
What's the best story you've ever been told? What's the best piece of fiction you've ever read? What is it about the memories of those that have made them stick in your mind? Defining what a story is and why they have impact is very difficult. At its heart a story has characters, a narrative, tension, and a resolution. What if you could take the key aspects of storytelling and apply them to data?