Hidden Stories is a playfully illustrated book about what it’s like to live with an invisible condition like anxiety or autism. Really it’s about all of us, and our everyday struggle to simply be ourselves.
TELLING OUR HIDDEN STORIES
We all have parts of ourselves we keep hidden from the outside world. Parts we fear no-one will understand. Parts that don’t quite fit the norm.
For people with invisible conditions such as anxiety, autism or chronic fatigue syndrome, trying to live a normal life is a daily struggle. They’re often misunderstood, judged or ignored, which leads to stigma and loneliness.
That’s why we created Hidden Stories, a playful graphic novel based on the everyday experiences of people living with invisible conditions. Many people played a part in making this book with us, through months of workshops and focus groups. They’ve shared their stories so that others might feel inspired to do the same.
Really Hidden Stories is about all of us, whatever conditions we may or may not have. It’s about shining a curious, compassionate light on our darkest, most vulnerable corners, so we can begin to understand and support one another through otherwise lonely times. We all have the power to rewrite normal.
Come to our book events to get a free copy. Scroll down for more…
HIDDEN STORIES ON TOUR
Throughout May and June we’ll be taking Hidden Stories to eight cities and towns across the south of England. In libraries, festivals and even a church, we’ll be inviting people to join in conversation, play games and find out more about the journey of Hidden Stories.
Come along to pick up a free copy of the book at any of the eight locations below. You don’t need a ticket but please let us know if you can make it by joining one of our Facebook events (click on the date/location you’re interested in). We’d love to see you there.
|Woking Library||Saturday 4 May||10AM-3PM||Click here|
|The May Fayre, Portsmouth||Monday 6 May||10.30AM-4PM||Click here|
|Reading Central Library||Saturday 11 May||10AM-3PM||Click here|
|Chichester Library||Saturday 18 May||10AM-3PM||Click here|
|Jubilee Library, Brighton||Saturday 25 May||10AM-3PM||Click here|
|Crawley Library||Saturday 1 June||10AM-3PM||Click here|
|Swindon Library||Saturday 8 June||10AM-3PM||Click here|
|Oxfordshire County Library, Oxford||Saturday 15 June||10AM-3PM||Click here|
THE STORY CONTINUES
In early May we’ll be launching a new website to pick up the journey from the end of the book and offer a window into the lives of some of the book’s contributors.
At hiddenstories.co.uk you’ll be able to find out more about the Hidden Stories project, watch and read more stories and get self-care and support tips. We’ll also be offering a free downloadable version of the book. Sign up to our mailing list for a reminder.
where it all began...
The Hidden Stories journey started with a series of creative workshops in Brighton, encouraging people with invisible conditions to explore and share their experiences through storytelling, visual arts and soundscapes. These workshops inspired courageous, open conversation around things that had previously brought distress, shame or confusion for many people in the room.
When we invited the public to be part of the work through an interactive exhibition at Brighton Dome, the response was incredible. Then, after winning an ITV People's Projects grant, we were able to take our workshops to other towns in the south of England, to help even more people share their voices – all with the intention of creating a book to spread their stories far and wide.
The workshops have already made a difference to people’s lives. Some say they feel more visible and valued within their communities, and more empowered to talk about their experiences without fear of judgement.
As one participant put so well: “When we become aware of the number of people with hidden conditions, maybe we can begin to question whether normal means anything at all.”
Here are some comments about the exhibition at Brighton Dome, as well as snapshots of our creative groups...
The hidden stories blog
Join our support group
We've started an online Hidden Stories community for those living with or affected by invisible conditions and disabilities. As a closed Facebook group, it’s a safe place for sharing stories, asking questions, and for mutual support and solidarity – amongst people who really know how you feel day to day.
Support our work
Hidden Stories is an opportunity to talk about what’s unseen in ourselves and in our communities. Through our work we want to challenge perceptions, combat loneliness and invite people on a playful exploration of what it is to be human. You can support our work ongoing with free donations every time you shop online – just sign up at our easyfundraising page. If you'd like to donate directly, please get in touch.
Illustrations copyright of Tinne Luyten 2018. All rights reserved.