"If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad."
I am very open about my battles with mental health in my network of friends and family and on my blog. At work I have close friends who I share these parts of my life with, but understand these issues are of such a personal nature to be inappropriate at work. However, I never really share my story at church. It's mostly because like out in the real world, these topics can seem taboo or too personal to share in a church setting. I want that to change.
Ever since I read Glennon Doyle Melton's book "Carry on Warrior," I have dedicated myself to living my life out loud. Here I am world, flaws and all! Here are my strengths and weaknesses. I am broken and bruised but God loves me so much. My worth is infinite.
Anyways, today in our women's meeting we were talking about finding light in the darkness. I felt the Holy Ghost overpower me with light and warmth.
"Raise your hand," the still, small voice said. "Share your story."
Without thinking, I rose my hand and started to talk. I spoke candidly and openly about my struggle with depression and how dark those times were. I spoke about the light at the end of my tunnel - the one I was always grasping for. That light represented Jesus Christ, but also an end to my suffering. I spoke about the ACTION I took and reiterated that we must work in order to get closer to God and find our ways through trials.
Suddenly, several hands shot up. Women around me began sharing their stories of depression. We all felt this strong, beautiful kinship with one another and tears swelled in my eyes.
It was then that I felt another incredibly strong impression that THIS IS WHAT I'M MEANT TO DO. I need to be a light, an example - especially in my church setting. I need to be candid and open and raw and vulnerable and others will benefit from my wisdom. I had this vision of me speaking in front of others, confident and calm. There is a purpose to all we go through and God knows and loves us immeasurably.
I'm Whitney. Here I am.