As a child, long before any diagnosis of clinical depression, I felt its claws digging its way into parts of me hidden from the world.

And as with any problem, we cannot treat what we do not know, or understand.

But I found unlikely help and great encouragement from stories.

In the pages of the many books my dad bought me, I found solace and inspiration. But these were also to be found in the multitude of stories my grandfather and grandmother told me and my cousins.

My grandad in particular loved telling us about his time growing up in colonial Trinidad; and defying the limitations set upon him as a mixed race man of colour.

This communal sharing of stories in my family fostered trust, loyalty and respect. It was almost sacred – esoteric knowledge known only to those within our family walls.

Awakening

Through stories we learned about our many ancestors who came from the far corners of the world, diverging on the tiny island where we made home.

These stories took me on many magical adventures, on journeys that I travelled over and over again, yet experienced with fresh eyes and delight each time.

Reading and listening to these stories awakened something inside me too. It unlocked a well of my own stories that I didn’t seem to have access to before.

And now, the more I write and share my own stories with the world, I discover more depth to the well of stories inside me.

In my hardest times with depression and anxietycomplex post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder, I have found redemption and strength in recalling the powerful stories that my grandparents shared with our family. They are stories that evoke love, nostalgia, sometimes sadness too, but also hope.

Thank you for giving me a chance to share my stories with you. I hope that you experience the power of stories too.

Love Alisha x

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