Today is the feast day of Saint Dymphna, who is the patron saint of mental illness. We thought it would be the perfect time to do a Mental Health Week - especially because it is also Mental Health Awareness month. Be A Heart was born from my own mental health journey and I hope to always bring light to these conversations that can all too often be hidden in the shadows in Christian communities. In 2013, by the grace of God, I took my first steps towards sobriety from alcohol. I had been using it to self medicate my depression and anxiety and it was not working anymore - it actually never worked, to be honest. As I was looking for healthy coping mechanisms, I began to teach myself how to do calligraphy. I knew that my soul became more alive when I was doing something creative and when I was amidst beauty. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that this hobby would become my career nor lead to a business such as it is today.
I like to say that out of my darkest moment, God created light. But for that to happen, I had to admit my powerlessness and seek help. In the last ten years, I have had to use many different tools to help me and my mental wellness has ebbed and flowed along with life challenges.
Far too often in religious circles, I have heard people say that if I just had faith, if I was just a better Catholic, if I just loved Jesus more, then I would get better. I internalized those messages and really thought that there was something wrong with me and if I just had more willpower, if I just had more gratitude, if I just chose God’s joy, then I wouldn’t feel depressed or anxious or desperately want to escape the life I was given.
The thing is that not all brains and bodies are created equal. And especially with the intensity of the last few years that we have all endured, more and more of us need outside help. God is there in it with us.
This week, we gathered a few women to share their journeys and expertise with all of us. Each day on our Instagram story, they will be talking about their own experiences in hopes that you might be able to identify with them and feel seen and known. I do believe that the only way to break a stigma around these concerns is by talking about them openly! We are here for each other.
None of this is to replace medical advice and is just to be a conversation between friends!
Meet our guests
Chenele Shaw & Jasmyn Joubert
Jasmyn Joubert is a wife, mama of two and certified school counselor. She runs a non-profit, Alive in You Outreach, and spends her summers running mission trips for Alive in You Camps. She is passionate about iced coffee and having dialogue around faith and mental health. She is thrilled to be co-hosting Anti-Depressing!
Sister Josephine is a native Texan, born and raised in Houston. She graduated from the University of Dallas with a BA in Political Philosophy with a Business Concentration. Sister entered the banking industry, serving for 10 years as a Vice President in the Home Loans division of Bank of America in the roles of Operations Manager of a staff of 200 and later as a Project Manager. Sister was raised Baptist and entered the Catholic Church in 2005. Later, in November of 2011, she began her formation to be a religious Sister. In November of 2020 Sister Josephine professed her final vows as a Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth. She is a licensed and nationally certified counselor serving as the school counselor for the cathedral grade school in Tyler, TX, and also in private practice with specialties in trauma and children/adolescents. Sister has also served in vocations ministry and as a national speaker for youth and young adults.
Kristina is a faith-informed writer, speaker, comic, host, and popular online persona. The spirited voice behind The DTR Blog and now the That’s Super Weird Podcast, and Harts Breaking News podcast, Iranian-American woman is unafraid to break barriers and raise tough questions related to topics like trauma, emotional suffering, and the world’s longest season of singleness. An alumni of UCSB for Global Studies, and holding a certification in Biblical Studies, and a passion for advocacy, Kristina has an internationally and spiritually informed perspective that is fully attuned to the inner thoughts and struggles of her fellow Millennials. Serving as a rehab admissions specialist in Nashville, Kristina longs to see others flourish in true mental, emotional, and spiritual freedom. She’s also currently single—if you know anybody.
Brya Hanan is a wife, mother, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Life Coach, and fellow pilgrim on the healing journey. Brya brings her Catholic tradition, professional and personal insights, and understanding of trauma to offer accompaniment and tools for interior integration and wholeness. By weaving together Church teaching, Psychology, Neuroscience, and Inner Child work, Brya hopes to encourage others to live a fulfilling and authentic life.
Follow us on Instagram (@beaheart) and check our stories each day this week to learn more about each of these women and their respective mental health journey's.