What Doesn't Kill You

By Elitsa Dermendzhiyska

15 master storytellers and Rory Bremner on the struggles that shaped them

Sunday, 13 May 2018

You are amazing. I am lucky. Stories are powerful


Exciting news…After a week of funding, we’ve reached 18% of our target. At this rate, we’ll get to 100% in 6 weeks - or twice as fast as the majority of successfully crowdfunded books!

This is all thanks to you. I’ve no words to say how grateful I am for your help, encouragement and kindness. I am humbled, flattered, fascinated, excited and deeply, deeply touched by all the generosity during this past week.

It's meant the world to me to see some of my favourite humans, personal heroes and role models support the campaign:

  • Brad Feld – author, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, co-founder of Techstars
  • Julian Baggini – one of UK’s most loved philosophers
  • Christine Burns MBE – internationally recognised activist for transgender rights
  • Paul Gilmartin – host of the absolutely brilliant podcast The Mental Illness Happy Hour
  • Jason Silva – host of the Emmy-nominated TV series Brain Games on National Geographic 
  • Dese’Rae L. Stage – suicide expert, activist, public speaker
  • Sathnam Sanghera – writer for The Times, author of the Costa shortlisted memoir The Boy with the Topknot
  • Nathan Filer – Costa-award winning novelist for The Shock of The Fall
  • Taylor Somerville – breath coach, endurance competitor, writer and holistic health expert
  • Belinda Parmar OBE – author and activist for women's involvement in technology

At the same time, we still have a way to go and this brings me to the question of why.

Why another book? Why this book?

We’ve never been more aware about the importance of mental health. And that’s wonderful but it’s not enough. It’s time to talk, yes – but how?

We need stories, not just information and awareness. Stories are our experience-processing software, our sense-making mechanism, hardwired into our DNA. We are saved or ruined by the stories we tell about the things that happen to us.

As Dr. Brené Brown puts it:

 “If we can learn to own our stories of struggle, we can write our own brave endings. When we own our stories, we avoid being trapped as characters in stories someone else is telling.”

And this is, ultimately, why I rounded up 16 of the best storytellers in the UK – so that by sharing their own struggles, they can help the rest of us find the words to tell our own.

It feels vulnerable to ask for help…

But this is something I believe with my whole being should exist and I’m not afraid to admit that I need your help to make it happen. It’s an all-or-nothing campaign, sink or swim, and despite the great progress and support, we still have a way to go.

If you are open to helping me, here are two small things you can do now in less than two minutes that will make a big difference and mean the world to me:

  • Spread the word: Here's a sample message if you'd like to share the campaign on your social networks:

“We are saved or ruined by the stories we tell about the things that happen to us”. @rorybremner, @TechnicallyRon, @polarben and other great authors and comedians have teamed up to reveal the struggles that formed them. You can join me and support the project here: http://bit.ly/ThingsHappenT #ThingsHappen 

  • Tell one person: If you can think of just one person who'd enjoy/appreciate this book, send them a link to the project to let them know it exists. 

Finally, thank you for being there and enjoy the rest of Sunday.

And if you'd like to send me a virtual high-five, share your story or reach out for anything else, I'd love to hear from you at ez.skinner89@gmail.com.



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