In 2018, when Michelle Williams’ decades long battle with depression brought her to her lowest point, she decided to put her professional world on hold and focus on self-work. That decision changed her life and now Williams, 41, hopes to pay it forward in her upcoming memoir, Checking In: How Getting Real About Depression Saved My Life—and Can Save Yours (Harper Collins/Nelson Books).
“We have to check in,” Williams told ESSENCE in an exclusive interview. “We have to check in with ourselves. We have to check in with others and we have to check in with God.”
Williams shared details about her heartfelt memoir, scheduled for release on May 25, 2021, exclusively with ESSENCE. Inside its pages, you’ll find Williams opening up and revealing her entire truth, including a deeper dive into where her anxiety and depression came from.
“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.”
The book will take readers back to the beginning of Williams’ story.
“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’ personal healing has been grounded in therapy, which she credits with keeping her “grounded’ during the unprecedented and tumultuous events of 2020. “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.”
Since finding her way back to her happy place, Williams has been very vocal about the role therapy has played in getting her there and continued to share awareness about what it can do for those suffering from mental health struggles.
“When it’s untreated or you don’t get to the root of things, anxiety and depression can possibly rob you of the very things you work hard for and are praying for,” Williams shares. “Things are treatable, fixable and manageable. You just have to be willing to do the work and really face the pain and lean into it. You gotta touch it, you have to.”
Now Williams has her sights set on helping others too.
“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 a copy of Checking In.