Longtime friend and author, August Cabrara, shares how the blog she started with Jillian ten years ago helped give her the courage to tell her whole truth about her mental health issues, grief, and everyday life.
Not everyone will be supportive of your truth telling or your decision making. August Cabrera learned this first hand when her husband, an Army Lieutenant, was killed in action. Her experience inspired her book, A Bad Widow.
Jillian and August’s story starts much earlier, though. They met through a mother’s group in Germany a little over ten years ago. When they both learned that they shared a similar struggle with mental health, they found solace and encouragement in their friendship and in the creation of their small blog, “Crazy With a Purpose”. It was Jillian’s accidental outing of August and her bi-polar diagnosis, through the blog, that pushed August to bravely step out and embrace her truth.
It would take her some time to let go of the shame she felt for not meeting the expectations she had set for herself or those imposed on her by others.
“People were not willing to accept a more complicated truth and truth is always complicated”
Referencing Brene Brown’s work on the shame cycle, August has found that when shame is out of the picture, the truth isn’t as bad. We won’t fit neatly into the boxes of people’s expectations, but by being honest we free ourselves and others from those expectations or the stereotypical portrayals of struggle – whether it be mental health, or grief, or parenthood, or any other difficulty – we have come to believe.
By giving one another permission to tell the truth about how complicated their experience has been, we gain perspective and an understanding about how much of the story, the truth, we weren’t privy to. There will be those who, instead of listening, choose to “create an opportunity to prove you wrong”. May we be the people that in the midst of all the complicated truth ask, “What does this person need for the next step in their journey?”.