lifestyle mental health real life story southampton story storytelling touch volunteering

My last Touch evening

Never would I ever imagined when I signed up to volunteer as an events assistant at Touch in April 2018 that a year later I’d be hosting a story telling evening, my last one in front of a buzzing, packed Coffeelab.

I still remember, vividly, the first ever Touch event I went to, at Talking Heads before it closed down. I remember I left feeling emotional and touched. What a great idea to inspire one another, by sharing our own stories about ill mental health, struggles we overcame and how we cope in this mad world. What a great shrine of hope in this sometimes dark world. https://elenisworld.org/2018/04/24/a-beautiful-evening-of-real-life-stories/

Since then every single event has been incredible.

From A foster carer, a former priest and other super humans…
https://elenisworld.org/2018/06/18/a-foster-carer-a-former-priest-and-other-super-humans-a-night-to-remember/

to an afternoon of songs and stories https://elenisworld.org/2018/09/11/an-afternoon-of-songs-and-stories/

a small, intimate evening in the cosy Jenny’s cafe in Hamble https://elenisworld.org/2018/11/01/tea-cake-and-life-stories-in-hamble/

to laughter and cry in Hythe https://elenisworld.org/2018/12/04/blogmas-day-3-tea-laughter-and-cry-in-hythe/

and one of the most amazing, magical evenings I had in my entire life:
https://elenisworld.org/2018/11/19/twas-the-night-of-superhumans/

I met incredible humans, standing in front of strangers sharing their most intimate, personal stories. It made me realise not only how many extraordinary people, everyday heroes live amongst us, but also how similar we all are, how we worry and struggle with the same things. We are not alone.

The founder, lovely Debs, the amazing Hannah and all the volunteers who joined since, are the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever met and they made my last storytelling event even more special.

Since I nervously stood in front of that crowd in BySea Cafe almost a year ago, the first event I ever hosted, I hosted many since, I absolutely love it, so when Debs asked me to host my last one, I said yes straight away (she also asked me to share one of my stories but I didn’t have time to prepare, I will do one day!).

It was another unforgettable evening with inspiring stories from Saire and Laura’s wonderful friendship, supporting each other throughout their ill mental health ups and downs, Claire’s epic journey with October Books, Chris’s incredible life story to Trago Lounge’s Matt and Reuben, two lovely men who run Trago Lounge as well as fundraising for Touch.

At the end of the evening Debs and Rachel surprised me with a gorgeous bouquet of tulips and roses, my favourite.

Thank you to everyone at Touch for all the amazing memories, stories and inspiration, especially to Debs and Hannah, for all your love and support.

I’d encourage anyone to volunteer for Touch, they do amazing work on raising awareness and encouraging people to talk about mental health and if you ever come across a Touch poster, go in. You’ll come out refreshed and for a while believe in humanity again.

I learned a lot from volunteering for Touch but the biggest lesson was to never stop sharing and talking about mental health.

PS Debs, I’ll definitely try starting something similar in Cyprus if I have enough time before I leave again.

Eleni

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