Ten years ago, Jillain and August met through a Mothers of Preschoolers program in Germany. August was diagnosed in 2001 as bi-polar, but she didn’t tell anyone. How could she? Her husband was the behavioral health specialist. What would people think?
When she and Jillian bonded over their shared diagnosis, they created a blog, “Crazy With a Purpose” that chronicled their experiences. August, comfortable with the anonymity it provided, found blogging cathartic. The readership was minimal, so the risk was also minimal. However, when Jillian shared their blog with a bunch of new families, August was no longer able to hide behind her keyboard.
“It was the first time, even though it hadn’t been intentional on my part, where I had the chance to step up and say what was true for me.”
Instead of stepping back, she indeed stepped up. She gained the skills to write a memoir and tell the truth on a larger scale. By embracing honesty, she could step out of the shame cycle. Becoming a military widow inspired her first book, A Bad Widow, about the difficulty of navigating how grieving is supposed to go and how it actually went.
The truth is often more complicated than people want to understand, but it has the power to blow up the preconceived ideas of how things are portrayed or experienced. Life is rarely tidy enough to fit into the boxes we want to place it in.
While we can’t force people to understand or support our honesty or decisions, we can be brave enough to keep moving forward on the journey.
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