What is it?
* Riding the Storms is a book of stories, poems, photography and artwork created by people who are reflecting on, and even embracing, the pain of their mental suffering.
Who is it for?
* The creative contributions in Riding the Storms aim to help people who struggle with their mental health by showing that they are not alone. Some also offer ideas on how to cope. We hope they will inspire others to be creative as their own coping mechanism, to support their own recovery.
* Health services can use Riding the Storms as a resource to aid their own understanding, to offer to their service users and to use as a focus during therapeutic and group sessions.
* For friends and supporters, Riding the Storms offers insights and different ways of understanding the often bewildering distress of mental health difficulties.
“Talking to friends and family about how you feel when you have suicidal feelings is like throwing dirt all over pretty hearts.” (Louise)
Where did it start?
Some years ago Recovery Devon created Beyond the Storms, a collection of stories and creative works from people about overcoming mental health challenges. It has proved a sought after and precious resource ever since.
Many people felt that learning about how people won their battles made them feel like they too should be ‘winning’. Riding the Storms has a different focus. For many, it’s about learning to live, and if possible to live well, with their mental illness in the here and now. It’s less about winning a battle and more about responding to pain and suffering with acceptance and compassion.
Who are we?
The contributions in Riding the Storms have arisen out of a project backed by Recovery Devon, working with people experiencing mental distress, of all backgrounds and ages.
Recovery Devon is a community interest company, formed by people with a common interest in working to promote personal recovery for everyone struggling with mental health challenges. We are funded and supported by Devon Partnership NHS Trust, our local mental health provider.
What is the money for?
Recovery Devon has funded the work to date but is not able to pay for the publication of the book. The money raised will pay for the editing, design, printing, promotion and distribution. The book will be offered free of charge to individuals, and we will also make copies available to mental health services and charities. If we manage to overfund, we would like to increase our print run from the planned 3,000.
How can I help?
Click on the right of the page to donate. We would like to have the opportunity to thank you by sending you one of our rewards – choose from a copy of the book, with or without your name as a subscriber, or a signed print by one of the artists who contributed to the book.
Advertising in the book
We have limited advertising space in the book for approved and relevant advertisers. (See under the rewards).
Support for Riding the Storms
Larry Davidson, Ph.D.Professor of Psychiatry, Yale University: Stories like those to be included in Riding the Storms are precisely the kind of medicine most needed by people who have become demoralised and dispirited by having to struggle on a day-to-day basis with an unrelenting mental illness. When all of our other treatments fail to provide relief, knowing that others have been in the same boat and yet have found ways to ride out the storm offers an incalculably valuable sense of companionship that renews one’s sense of hope and determination toward creating a better future.
Mike Slade, Professor of Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion, University of Nottingham: Scientific research is slowly catching up with the reality that stories change people… We’re learning that stories do not have to have a tidy resolution to be useful to others, so I fully support this Riding the Storms initiative.
Waldo Roeg, Senior Peer Trainer / Peer Support Specialist, Central and Northwest London Recovery College: Stories are such an important part of our human make up; it is how we make sense of our world. Collecting narratives such as these in ‘Riding the Storms’ is not just cathartic for the person writing their story of survival but most importantly can hold hope for people struggling day to day. Seeing that they are not alone, that they too might survive and learn to thrive regardless and in spite of their difficulties is a very powerful message. Holding hope for people who might feel that there is no hope for them.
Artwork from Riding the Storms