Butterfly Confessions meets Embracing My Shadow

Have you ever had a moment or series of moments that led you to recognize that something great was happening? That something or someone was making all the dots connect? That your journey – the pain, the suffering, the triumph, the joy, the confusion – may have prepared you for the life you are now living?
Things have been clicking recently. Even in difficult times, those times when I am reminded of my depression and anxiety; those times when I doubt the goodness within; those times when fear threatens to overtake me, I am hyper aware of the fact that something is stirring…
“Thank you God for divine relationships, connections that are firmer than what passing out business cards can do…”
I met A’driane through Twitter. Yes, I know how that sounds. You met someone through twitter? Yup, sure did. When I emerged from the darkness that was my last depressive episode, I began doing some internet searching. I was looking for resources, people, stories, videos – anything – that would make me feel a little less alone. Anything that would help me make sense of my newly embraced reality. Enter A’Driane.
You see, A’Driane is a woman who has been blogging about her experiences with PPD, Bipolar 2 disorder and anxiety  for a long time. Not only did her writing endear me to her, but the fact that she was a younger african american woman made me begin to imagine a friendship with her. That sounds a bit stalkerish but truth be told, her writing was so profoundly honest, authentic and comical at times that I felt like she was
a long-lost sister. So I did what anyone who is involved in social media would do. I started following her on Twitter and keeping up with her blog. And lo and behold, she followed back!
What’s amazing is that our connection wasn’t just a chance meeting. I soon found out that my best friend in real life, who is also a PPD blogger, knew A’Driane long before I’d meet her. Little did I know that something was stirring…
Our social media relationship continued. We soon exchanged phone numbers and began texting. We even set up a time for a Skype date. By this point, I knew that A’Driane was someone whom God placed in my life at a very particular time for a very particular reason. At first, I thought it was all about me – meeting a woman who was sort of like a mental health mentor. Her story and her willingness to forge a relationship helped me personally. But as time progressed, I realized that our coming together was not just about me or her alone. God was doing a new thing and had brought us to each other for such a time as this…
Over the next couple of days I’ll be releasing videos of a conversation that A’Driane and I are having about black women and mental health. The case of Miriam Carey spurred both of us into action with the goal of helping to destigmatize mental illness in the black community and encourage women to stand up and speak out. I hope you join us on this journey, for it isn’t until we confront the darkness that we can see the light.
Love,
Me & Addy
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Forty Days, Forty Nights

I am a Christian. For anyone who is interested in my relationship with my faith, I’ve written about it here. One of the things I love about the denomination I belong to is that we subscribe to the Revised Common Lectionary. This means that we follow what is called a Liturgical calendar that organizes the year into church seasons. Our new year begins with Advent, which is the time of preparation before the birth of Jesus. After Advent comes Christmas, then Epiphany, then Lent and so on and so forth. We are about to begin the season of  Len, which starts tomorrow with Ash Wednesday and is my favorite season for a variety of reasons. Lent is the time that commemorates Jesus’ 40 days and 40 nights in the desert before officially beginning his public ministry. Christians mark the season of Lent by doing a variety of things including reflecting, fasting, sacrificing those things that would distract us from our faith walk, being in intentional community and practicing repentance – not just apologizing for wrongdoings but physically turning in another direction.

For me, Lent is a time of listening for God and being mindful of those things/people/situations that would distract me. Now, you may be thinking that I should always be listening for God, but I get so caught up in the everyday tasks of life, that I often neglect my spiritual practices. I like to think about Lent as the time that calls me to be focused and disciplined. I believe that God is always active in my life, but that I’m not always attuned to how God is working and Lent provides the time and space to just be…

This Lenten season I am excited to be participating in a group that is discussing Not Alone: Reflections on Faith and Depression by the Rev. Dr. Monica Coleman. Dr. Coleman is facilitating this group that will be journeying together through Lent as we reflect on depression, faith and life. A key part of this group is to journal your reflections after each day’s devotional reading. I will be sharing my thoughts here on Embracing My Shadow. I am doing this for a number of reasons:

  1. I want to continue to reflect on the way that my faith has impacted my struggle with depression.
  2. It’s important for me to have a space where I can write my thoughts.
  3. I want to be held accountable by my Shadow Lovers.

I look forward to this time of clearing – to a time when I can let go of those things that are distractions and reflect on how God might be speaking to me. I am not planning to do anything else other than this devotional group during Lent. I ask for your prayers and support during this journey.

You may not follow the Liturgical Calendar. You may be disconnected from the church. You may not even be Christian. But I truly believe that we can all benefit from times of reflection; times when we become centered and seek renewal. I look forward to this journey.

Love,

Me