Michelle Williams, 41, has made a name for herself through the guidance of God and instilling strength into other women. Whether singing a ballad on stage or giving a powerful testimonial, she has always been a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, while maintaining a solid 20+ year career she also experienced a decades-long battle with depression which brought her to her lowest point.
Williams’ new memoir, Checking In, is a diary-like piece of writing that breaks down the different elements of her experience. From beginning to end, she opens up about the state of her mental health during each part of her life and how this affected her career and family.
“We have to check in,” Williams told ESSENCE. “We have to check in with ourselves. We have to check in with others and we have to check in with God.”
The heartfelt memoir, scheduled for release on May 25, 2021, gives an inside look at what triggered her cycle of depression.
“I’m ready to share,” she says. “I’ve been a very transparent person and now I’m ready to share the good, bad, and ugly parts of my journey—the concerning part of my journey. The parts I didn’t understand that led to certain responses and decisions being made.”
What does depression look like for a person who “has it all”?
“I really go into the specifics, I really go into the first time I was diagnosed,” says Williams, who first suffered from depression as a teenager. “I go into assessing the first time I had anxiety in a romantic relationship and what it did to that relationship and then subsequently what it did to the next one.”
Williams admits this hasn’t been a perfect journey (especially experiencing 2020) but has used tools like therapy to keep her grounded. “It has not been a perfect journey as far as my anxiety [goes],” says Williams. “But now, I embrace the triggers because it lets me know, okay, you’re not fully healed from this or in this area. Let’s take that to the therapist.”
Personal healing was the only thing that brings her back to her happy place and now she is more aware of her emotions. “I’m really looking forward to this next phase of my journey, which is to really help heal through my story,” Williams shares. “Let people know what I do on a daily, what I do on a monthly–whatever it takes to get people whole and get people where they can maybe start seeing some better results in their own life.”
Michelle Williams’ memoir, Checking In: How Getting Real about Depression Saved My Life—and Can Save Yours goes on sale May 25, 2021. Click here for more information or to preorder.