Experience is the best teacher

My teacher Melissa Scott and I in crow. (Yes, I'm wearing a pencil skirt.)

My teacher Melissa Scott and I in crow. (Yes, I’m wearing a pencil skirt.)

Experience may be the best teacher, but it’s also helpful to have constructive feedback from people around you. That’s what I found after teaching my first yoga class last week, and I aimed to implement that insight when I taught my second class earlier today.

Both classes were 60 minutes long, and I designed both to peak in a challenging pose. Last week, I spent four hours driving alone the day before I taught. I used most of that time to talk through the next day’s class, and I found it prepared me for teaching both because I knew the sequence and I had a sense of time tied to the music.

This weekend was busier, though, and I didn’t have quite as much time to do that. I was concerned that I’d have to refer to my notes mid-class, or that I’d otherwise lead my trusting students through an awkward, disjointed series of poses.

That didn’t happen. Perhaps it was because I reviewed the class in my mind as I went to sleep last night, or maybe it was because I slowed down and didn’t try to fit as many poses into a one-hour class. But I think the biggest factor was that I had taught once before, and so I was at least slightly more comfortable going into the afternoon.

As was the case with my first class, today’s students included beginners, a first-timer and a couple of people who are pretty familiar with yoga. On the advice of one of last week’s beginners, I spent more time breaking down poses, particularly those that we returned to often. After talking with him last week, I noticed that the classes I attend regularly also do this. Even though I’ve practiced yoga regularly for three years and have dived in more deeply in 2014, I welcome these moments of instruction. Sometimes a verbal cue will make something click with me, but regardless it’s a chance for me to settle into the pose and explore. I didn’t pressure myself to say everything quickly or smoothly, but instead tried to give those gathered an understanding of what we were doing and why.

Today’s sequence was still challenging, and it peaked in crow (during Nelly Furtado’s “I’m Like a Bird”–yes, that was intentional). It was rewarding to see students trying something a bit risky, and it was just as satisfying to see others take ownership of the class and recognize when a particular moment would have involved pushing themselves too far.

Yoga helps calm me down, pulling me out of the rat race of my mind. I don’t want to teach a class that’s going to push a student back into that litany of to dos and concerns about how they can be better. Yes, the poses have ideal shapes. But we are also individuals on unique paths. Your triangle may not look like my triangle. I may never again reach a full split. But the baby steps along the way challenge and stretch us, and that’s enough.

Here’s this week’s playlist (with covers substituted when the version I played isn’t available on Spotify). If you’d like to sign up for my email list to be kept informed of future classes, you’ll find that form here.

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What I’m writing: September 2014

These are stories I wrote that were published this month.

Working Their Way Up: Another Alabama band is poised for its turn in the spotlight 

15830028-large coutesy of Josh Weichman

Photo courtesy of Josh Weichman

John Davidson and Jacob Bryant have been paying their dues. The duo is known professionally as John & Jacob. Along with bandmates and fellow Birmingham natives Jake Thrasher and Trevor Davis, as well as Texan Austin Smith, they made the rounds on the festival circuit this summer. The band played such high-profile events as Hangout Music Festival and Bonnaroo before opening for Kacey Musgraves at a number of stateside and European shows in advance of the Aug. 26 release of their self-titled, debut album. John & Jacob point to Birmingham Mountain Radio’s Scott Register and NPR Music’s Ann Powers, who lives in Tuscaloosa, as early supporters and direct contributors to the band’s success. “It’s really cool for Birmingham to take us to another league and claim us from the start,” says Davidson. Read more “Working Their Way Up” at bhammag.com.

Out-of-the-Box Dining: Hotbox offers quality food in a casual setting

Photo by Wes Frazer

Photo by Wes Frazer

It’s not a food truck, but neither is it quite what you expect of a restaurant. When Hotbox opened in a converted Airstream trailer behind Parkside Café, it introduced a new type of dining establishment. The restaurant is a collaboration among chefs Matt Ralph and Ryan Champion, both of whom most recently worked at Bottega, and business partner Ed Stacy. Read more “Out-of-the-Box Dining” at bhammag.com.

Hops for Honeys: Women’s craft beer groups take off

Photo courtesy of Hops for Honeys

Photo courtesy of Hops for Honeys

“I’m here because my boyfriend loves craft beer, and I want to better understand it.”

“I’m here because I want to try something more interesting than Bud Light.”

“I’m here because I need a night out and I was able to find a babysitter.”

“I’m here because I love craft beer!”

The latter answer has become increasingly common as attendees introduce themselves at Hops for Honeys, a Birmingham, Alabama-based women’s beer education group. Those women are part of a larger trend. Overall United States beer sales dropped 1.9% in 2013, according to the Brewers Association, which tracks the $14.3-billion craft beer industry. But craft beer numbers moved in the opposite direction, with a 17.2% increase and 49% export growth. Read more “Hops for Honeys” at pastemagazine.com.

Want more? Visit my “What I’m writing” Pinterest board.

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I hope we can all live more fearlessly

Yoga teacher training involves a lot of confrontation within a safe, supportive environment. As we’ve read through a variety of books, responded to those with reaction papers and verbally processed the lessons we’re learning on and off our mats, the members of my trainee tribe have opened up to one another. We provide grace when an individual struggles to offer it to him or herself.

But that’s not the environment we’ll teach in. Most yoga classes I’ve attended have been warm and welcoming, but I know I won’t often walk into a room full of people who already know my idiosyncrasies and care for me anyway. It’s just as likely that I’ll encounter students who have never taken a yoga class before, and that they’ll be side by side with those who are plenty comfortable moving through sun salutations with little direction.

Our homework before the next training weekend was to teach two 60-minute classes. That’s a fairly open-ended assignment; we could teach each other, or we could teach a class of only one person. (Our instructor specified, though, that our student must be human. No cat yoga for the purposes of this assignment!) I decided to challenge myself by inviting any of my friends to attend these two classes. I’ve also got a number of friends who have expressed interest in trying yoga, and so offering a free class is a way to invite them to try the practice I so love.

That’s how I found myself in front of a motley crew of yogis yesterday afternoon. The class included a couple of people who have practiced before and a couple who had very little experience with yoga, plus a young child. (He brought a book in case he got bored. That’s my kind of kid!)

I spent the days prior to this class determining what I wanted to include, considering modifications for some of the more challenging poses and building a playlist that would help me gauge time. I ran through the class mentally several times, and practiced it myself before the students arrived. As a result, I was comfortable making some adjustments as I went, removing a particularly challenging pose and substituting something more restorative.

Teaching a group that’s not training to be yoga teachers also brought other issues to my attention. If I teach a predominantly beginner class, I might want to break poses down in even more detail. Little things that I’m accustomed to, such as whether the tops of your feet should be flat on the ground or your toes should be curled under, become challenges for those who haven’t seen upward facing dog before.

I’ve got plenty to learn, of course, and I’m grateful for the friends who helped me process these lessons yesterday. I’m still listening to my yoga class playlist and reflecting on how much fun that first experience was! You can find a modified version of the playlist on Spotify; Atoms for Peace and The Beatles aren’t available through that format, so later I’ll add an iTunes playlist where you can buy each of these songs. The class was a heart-opening sequence that peaked in camel pose, and I tried to reflect that in my song choice, at times through the music and at others based on lyrics.

Join me for another round on 2 p.m. Sunday at Desert Island Supply Co. Can’t make it this week, but want to stay up to date on future classes? Sign up for my yoga mailing list.


Today’s subject line is from the Dixie Chicks’ “I Hope,” which appears on their 2006 album “Taking the Long Way.” It’s still my favorite.


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Who’s up for getting down(ward facing dog)?

Join me Sept. 28 and Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. for 60 minutes of yoga. We’ll work through a series of poses that will work the core of your body–and that goes much deeper than the six-pack abs we so often hear about.

Where (and what) is Desert Island Supply Co.?
This nonprofit writing center is on the first floor of Woodrow Hall in Woodlawn. The address is 5500 First Ave. N., and you can find more info at desertislandsupplyco.com.

What do I wear?
As long as you can move comfortably, you’re set! I do recommend wearing a top that won’t flip upside down with you. A pair of comfortable shorts or pants and a fitted top would work well.

What do I bring?
Come armed with a yoga mat (I will NOT have any on hand) and water.

Why are you doing this?
I’m weeks from becoming a certified yoga teacher, and this is part of my homework. I figured I might as well share the love with my friends!

Will you be teaching again?
I imagine so! Sign up for my email list here: eepurl.com/3mtKr I don’t expect to send you more than one message per month.

More questions? Holler at me! cjATcarlajeanwhitleyDOTcom


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We all have something to offer

I’m in the process of becoming trained as a yoga teacher, and the nine-month-long training includes writing a number of papers. I’ll post them here because, well, that’s what I do. The sixth writing assignment was a reflection on the book “Teaching People, Not Poses: 12 Principles for Teaching Yoga with Integrity” by Jay Fields. This is my favorite book we’ve read in all of training.

When I’m uncomfortable or unconfident in a situation, I tend to quickly fall back on my rule-following habits. Rather than bringing personality or my opinions and experience to a situation, I’ll stick to the letter of the law. That’s a crutch that helps me through these circumstances, but it’s often not the most effective way to function.

That’s especially so when editing a piece of copy or teaching a class full of students. I’m in those situations because I’ve got expertise to share, and sticking to what I’ve been taught and nothing more means giving my writers and students less than my all. Jay Fields’ “Teaching People Not Poses: 12 Principles for Teaching Yoga with Integrity” is a wake-up call, a reminder that I’m not an automaton going through a series of pre-set motions.

Throughout this slim book, Fields reminded me that I have something to offer. That’s why my journalism students and magazine interns stay in touch with me for months or years after our professional relationships end. I’m confident that I’ve given them instruction and encouragement that will help them build careers. As I begin to add yoga to my teaching repertoire, I’ll best serve my students by remembering that they, too, will return to me because I have something to offer–and that “something” is more than a series of poses. If all they wanted was an effective workout, there are plenty of yoga videos and smartphone apps to guide a student through a satisfactory practice.

I know already that’s a reminder I’ll need to revisit as I become a yoga teacher. I’m prone to let my Type-A tendencies take over and forget that there’s more to learn than a set of pre-established rules. I expect to keep Fields’ book close at hand to help me find my voice as a yoga teacher.

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All work and no play …

I’m in the process of becoming trained as a yoga teacher, and the nine-month-long training includes writing a number of papers. I’ll post them here because, well, that’s what I do. The fifth writing assignment was a reflection on the book “Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” by Brene Brown.

Earlier today I read a blurb for a New York Times story that grabbed my attention: “One of the biggest complaints in modern society is being overscheduled, overcommitted and overextended. Ask people at a social gathering how they are and the stock answer is ‘super busy,’ ‘crazy busy’ or ‘insanely busy.’ Nobody is just ‘fine’ anymore.” Because I was in the middle of five or six other things, I bookmarked the article to read later.

I’m a goal-oriented, driven people pleaser, and as a result I tend to overcommit myself. Many times those commitments are to good things, things I’m excited to do. But those obligations often steal my joy. I’m more focused on completing the task than I am on enjoying the process.

So as I read Brene Brown’s words about cultivating both play and rest, I was reminded of how quick I am to skew priorities. Much as Brown and her family prioritize sleep, time together, meaningful work and time to piddle, I recognize that my life is much more satisfying when those things take precedence. But I also keep a goals sheet that I refer to frequently.

These things aren’t necessarily counterproductive; most of my goals are directly tied to satisfying work. There was a time when I walked away from my lifelong dream of becoming a professional writer. After two years of putting that goal aside, I realized how much less myself I felt. Pursuing that work is an important part of me. f I were to emulate the Brown family’s “ingredients for joy and meaning” list, that would be near the top.

The danger is when I allow the work to crowd out other, sometimes even more important, ingredients. I’ve realized that in recent years, and my 30s have so far been focused on striving for a more balanced life with more thoughtfully drawn boundaries. Simultaneously, I’m learning that imperfection is OK. Perfection is a myth, a standard that isn’t humanly possible. By allowing myself to let go of others’ expectations for what I should do or who I should be, I’m better able to take ownership of my goals, my time and my life.

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GUEST POST: Coping privately while living publicly

In recent weeks, I have been  featuring a series of guest posts about depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. My hope is to convey how many people face these challenges by providing a platform for others to share their stories. Today’s post is by Blake Ells, a writer, radio man, rock ‘n’ roll fan and publicist based in Birmingham, Ala. Learn more about him at blakeells.com or follow him on Twitter @blakeells. 
Should I write this? Should I not? The only thing that prevents me from sharing my story is that you’ve probably heard it. Having begun radio at 17 and being quickly propelled to eight-hour daily shifts on one of the largest sports radio stations in the country by the age of 22, I’ve never had much of a private life.

When I came home on July 1, 2008, and found half my things gone with no explanation, it was paralyzing. I didn’t eat for about 36 hours, but I still had to go to work, be on air, try to tell jokes. One of our co-hosts was on vacation that week, and I was having to fill that role. The starvation nearly made me pass out on air, and I was told I had to get someone to run the board long enough for me to go force something in my stomach. Coping with my wife leaving me was debilitating.

I lost 60 pounds over the next six weeks. I left my house to go to work daily, and I came straight home, daily. The first time I tried to leave for another reason, I had a panic attack that literally brought me to my knees.

I saw a doctor, but only with the intent of finally trying to solve a lifelong reflux disorder (which I still have). As I sat in the office, I saw a poster on the wall that listed ways to self-diagnose depression. “Not sleeping? Not eating?” Yeah. Yeah. All of those. So I told him, and he said, “I’m not particularly worried about your weird reflux thing because you’ve lived with that your entire life. I’m worried about your crippling depression.”

Over the next two years or so, I’d unravel the mystery of why I lost half of my silverware, I’d lose what I thought was my dream job and I’d have my house hit by the April 27, 2011, tornado. I stopped taking the pills (I was on Lexapro) because I was having to take on so many part-time jobs and side hustles to pay the bills I had been abandoned with that I couldn’t even stop to notice anything irregular about my own well-being. So no, I’ve probably not ever really recovered. But I’ve learned how to cope with it now on my own, and it’s not as frightening.

In a lot of ways, I was also hesitant to share this because at its core, it isn’t quite as dramatic of a personal triumph as some others. But the story is my own. Being surrounded by people and knowing that you’re able to entertain folks doesn’t mean you can’t feel alone. I still do. Often.

Would you be willing to share your experience with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or other mental-health illness? Email me at cjATcarlajeanwhitleyDOTcom. I’d love to share your experience as a guest post.

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What I’m writing: August 2014

These are stories I wrote that were published this month.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Never-Ending Season: Devoted football fans are Finebaum’s business

finebaum 07This is a repost of a story that originally appeared in the July 2007 issue of Birmingham magazine. Dick Coffee Jr. hasn’t missed an Alabama game since 1946. Hunter Finch tells himself that Auburn players can hear his voice above the din in Jordan-Hare Stadium. UAB graduate Jeremy Harper says the least a fan should do is become a season ticket holder.

Paul Finebaum may not know these men as individuals, but he’s well acquainted with their kind. Read more “The Never-Ending Season” at bhammag.com.

Riding the Rising Tide: Paul Finebaum’s career trajectory has carried him from newspaper reporter to ESPN commentator

finebaumWhen Paul Finebaum came to town in 1980 as a Birmingham Post-Herald sports reporter, he had little idea of where his career would carry him. After decades as a newspaper reporter, columnist, syndicated sports talk radio host and author, this month Finebaum will be part of the launch of ESPN’s SEC Network on both television and radio. Nearly simultaneously, HarperCollins will publish “My Conference Can Beat Your Conference,” co-written with ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski. The book focuses on the Southeastern Conference’s dominance and the 2013 season in particular. Read more “Riding the Rising Tide” at bhammag.com.

2 a.m. at the Cat’s Pajamas: A 10-year-old chases her jazz club dreams

cats pjsIt’s 7 a.m. on December 23, and Madeleine Altimari is shimmying. In 30-second intervals, the girl attempts to perfect her moves, pausing in between for a quick drag from a cigarette. After each interval, she rates her work on a school-letter scale. She has yet to check off the day’s other rehearsal tasks: singing, scales, guitar.

Madeleine is two days shy of 10. Read more “2 a.m. at the Cat’s Pajamas” at bookpage.com.

Dreamy Tunes: A year of powerful dreams influenced Orenda Fink’s latest album. 

orendaSinger-songwriter Orenda Fink’s music has often been marked by her spiritual influences. That’s been true in her solo work as well as when she has recorded with fellow Alabama School of Fine Arts grad Maria Taylor under the name Azure Ray. Fink’s latest album, “Blue Dream,” was inspired by dreams and spiritual exploration that followed the death of her dog, Wilson. The album will be released by Saddle Creek on Aug. 19. Read more “Dreamy Tunes” at bhammag.com.

My Conference Can Beat Your Conference: Bragging Rights on the Gridiron

finebaum coverWho cares that the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Florida State University won the 2013 Bowl Championship Series college football championship? The Southeastern Conference ran away with the previous seven consecutive titles, saw a conference member finish second in the 2013 series and pitted conference members head-to-head for the 2011 title.

Does all of this sound like a foreign language? Then proceed to the next book review. But if your knee-jerk reaction to the SEC’s accolades is to argue that your conference is unquestionably the best, then bump to the top of your reading list My Conference Can Beat Your Conference: Why the SEC Still Rules College Football by Paul Finebaum and Gene Wojciechowski. Read more “My Conference Can Beat Your Conference” at bookpage.com.

Want more? Visit my “What I’m writing” Pinterest board.

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GUEST POST: Be gentle with yourself

This week (or for as long as I have volunteers), I’m featuring a series of guest posts about depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. My hope is to convey how many people face these challenges by providing a platform for others to share their stories. Today’s post is by Kristen Nielsen Donnelly, a researcher, teacher and PhD candidate at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. A transplanted Philadelphian, she researches women and religion, deeply misses proper coffee and can be reached on Twitter at @klndonnelly

Five days.

I looked at the clock blinking in the dark. 4:05 a.m. My roommate was asleep, had been for hours. Me? I couldn’t sleep. Wasn’t able to and hadn’t been able to for five days. I couldn’t shut my brain off, couldn’t stop the building fear that everything was going to fall apart that had no logical explanation behind it.

I had always been … shall we say, intense. Throughout childhood and adolescence, I had carried this need to keep busy, creating lengthy projects for myself like copying song lyrics into endless notebooks so that I would never have to be alone with my own thoughts. I feared falling asleep; those moments between the light going off and actually falling asleep were torture and a therapist had told me to start talking out loud to put myself to sleep. And that worked. Until I went to college and couldn’t talk. And the creeping fear of failure and panic that I couldn’t shake and hadn’t been able to shake, had only barely been able to keep at bay, erupted.

And I hadn’t slept for five days.

I laid awake analyzing every moment of the day, the week, the year, my life. I cried thinking of interactions I had had with people years previously, feeling shame at how I reacted or did not react. I convinced myself that no one would ever love me. I mean, how could they with all these apparent and concrete flaws? I berated myself for not being “enough:” not being disciplined enough, not being skinny enough, not being friendly enough. You name it, I felt it.

It was paralyzing.

I had contemplated suicide several times during my adolescence, actually creating a plan only once. I ended up confessing to my mother that I just wanted “the voices” to stop. Alarmed, she took me to a therapist who told her I was suffering adolescent angst and would grow out of it.

But the voices were really my voice. My own self-shaming voice which never shut up and by the time I hit day five of sleeplessness that October of freshman year, I knew I had to find a way to shut it up.

Once the dawn began creeping through the windows that final morning, I crept down to my resident director’s room, figuring that she could at least tell me what doctor to go to who could give me sleeping pills or something. I needed my brain to stop whirring and I needed to sleep. Through tears and hiccups, I told her a lot of what I just told you. She lovingly made me tea and let me sit in her living room until the local doctor’s office opened. She made an appointment for me that afternoon and drove me to it, telling me the whole time that I was brave.

I did not feel brave.

I felt broken.

I had been raised to be strong, you see. A true product of the Northeastern Corridor, I had absorbed the cultural message that strength meant never letting them see you cry.

That day was the start of a journey to understanding that as one of the most damaging lessons we ever learn.

The doctor in that sleepy Kentucky town was lovely. He listened and asked some gentle questions. At the end, he looked me squarely in the eye and said, “You have an anxiety disorder. Your brain doesn’t work properly and you’re actually unable to handle stress. This isn’t your fault and you’re not broken. You just need some medicine to help you. There is no shame in that. In fact, taking the pill is brave.”

That was 13 years ago this autumn. Since then, I’ve been on a fairly high dose of Zoloft every day. I’ve had a few foolhardy attempts at taking myself off of it. That didn’t go so well. It’s gone hand in hand with therapy at times, and that therapy has gone hand in hand with learning to let others into my pain. To learn to vocalize the fears instead of letting them fester, to learn to give myself grace and to extend it to others, to learn that tears can be holy and to learn that brokenness is usually the root of strength.

My mental health is in balance right now, but a tenuous balance at best. Keeping that balance is a daily struggle and will be forever, I have learned. I have coping mechanisms–podcasts have replaced talking myself to sleep, for instance–and the people I do life with know my journey because, honestly, the pill isn’t enough on its own. They know that I can’t always process stress well and that I tend to take personal interactions personally. Bless them, they put up with a lot. I hope I’m worth it.

Several years ago, I had a period of intense personal trauma and a friend took me out for coffee. As I poured out the eruption of anxiety in my head, she grabbed my hand as tears filled her eyes. “That’s a lot, darling. Be gentle with yourself as you wade through it. Be gentle.”

So that is my plea to you, reader. If some of my story rings true, be gentle with yourself. If none of it does, then I hope you will be gentle with yourself in whatever battle you’re fighting. Be gentle. Fighting for your health does not include beating yourself up. You do what you can each day and at the end of it, take a deep breath and realize that tomorrow is a new day where the battle may be easier. It may be harder, true. But the day after may be easier. And if you can find hope in that, then be gentle.

Would you be willing to share your experience with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or other mental-health illness? Email me at cjATcarlajeanwhitleyDOTcom. I’d love to share your experience as a guest post.

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GUEST POST: It’s OK to not be OK

This week (or for as long as I have volunteers), I’m featuring a series of guest posts about depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. My hope is to convey how many people face these challenges by providing a platform for others to share their stories. Today’s post is by Jessilyn Justice. Jessilyn is a copy editor at Alabama Media Group, a regular contributor to Venn Magazine and Birmingham magazine and, most importantly, a dear friend.

This November will mark 11 years since I attempted suicide. I was in seventh grade, barely 13 and so lonely despite my friendships that I thought it would be easier to swallow an entire bottle of Tylenol than face my schoolmates. 

I’d struggled with darkness for probably two or three years before that night. For someone so talkative, there would be days at a time where I wouldn’t say anything at all, taking in my surroundings and evaluating how much I believed everyone else liked me.
All I remember from that night was the stomach ache from hell and waking up in the hospital with my mom helping me drink barium for the CAT-scan, regaling me with tales of Curious George having to drink it so they could see the puzzle piece he ate.
The hospital diagnosed it as a ruptured cyst, and I don’t think I came clean to my parents until four or five years later.
By all outside appearances, I shouldn’t struggle with depression: I have a strong family life, good friends, a job in the career I want to pursue, but that doesn’t stop the anguish of not having the fortitude to climb out of bed in the morning to face the world again.
I cut myself for five years, hiding the wounds under clothes, though the scars are still visible to this day. When I was 18, I got a tattoo meaning “for I have been set free, liberated, unchained and unleashed,” and then I snapped rubber bands against it to the point where it swelled.
I’ve been in and out of this routine, in and out of counselors’ offices and the church pews.
I have a hard time seeing what other people see and me, and that’s when the darkness starts to edge its way back in. All through college, I was afraid to admit my struggles, afraid my ultra-Christian university would judge me for backsliding into a story that was supposed to be a testimony for how God can heal. I was so afraid that as a Christian, I shouldn’t be experiencing depression, that if I truly believed in what I said I believed, that God would grant me this magical peace and happiness about my life. I was afraid to admit to the darkness, fearful of the judgement of other Christians.
But then I discovered that talking about it helps, that there are many people — close friends, even — who’ve experienced the same thing. Depression attacks people in different ways, and having honest conversations about it can only lead to you conquering your own battle.
Someone close to me told me something revolutionary a few months ago: “It’s OK to not be OK.” It’s OK to admit you’re struggling, it’s OK to admit you hate your life. It’s not OK to be rude and take it out those around you, blaming them for your situation. But it is OK to look at your life, identify your unhappiness and seek ways to be healthy.
Would you be willing to share your experience with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or other mental-health illness? Email me at cjATcarlajeanwhitleyDOTcom. I’d love to share your experience as a guest post.

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