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Session 209: Checking In with Michelle Williams

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

You may know Michelle Williams as 1/3 of the superstar group Destiny’s Child, but this week she is embarking on a brand new identity as an author with her brand new book, Checking In. In the past couple of years, Michelle has been more open in sharing about the mental health concerns she’s experienced and she is now using her platform to help others to have these conversations to check in with themselves and others. Michelle and I chatted about the various parts of her identity she’s had to navigate throughout her life, the experience of managing depression while being in the spotlight, and keeping some things for yourself as a public figure.


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Instagram: @michellewilliams

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Session 209: Checking In with Michelle Williams

Dr. Joy: Hey, y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 209 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We'll jump into the episode right after a word from our sponsors.


Dr. Joy: You may know Michelle Williams as one third of the superstar group Destiny’s Child, but this week she's embarking on a brand new identity as an author with her brand new book, Checking In. In the past couple of years, Michelle has been more open in sharing about the mental health concerns she's experienced and she's now using her platform to help others to have these conversations–to check in with themselves and others. Michelle and I chatted about the various parts of her identity she's had to navigate throughout her life, the experience of managing depression while being in the spotlight, and keeping some things for yourself as a public figure. If there's anything that resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please be sure to share it with us on social media using the hashtag #TBGinSession. Here's our conversation.

Dr. Joy: Thank you so much for joining us today, Michelle.

Michelle: Oh, thank y'all so much for having me. Like I said before, I'm a huge fan and supporter of Therapy for Black Girls. I think it's brilliant and it's so needed.

Dr. Joy: Thank you, I appreciate that. So I'm very excited your book is out.

Michelle: Yes, May 25 is the release date.

Dr. Joy: Perfect, perfect. It's called Checking In and I would love for you to just start by telling us what you mean by checking in.

Michelle: Well, it definitely was a play on words as well from the time in 2018 where I actually had to check into a mental health facility. But I learned so much from that time going on three years later and I added those three pillars to my book: checking in with yourself, checking in with others, checking in with God. No particular order, it's whatever way you want to do it, but I found that to be very restorative for me.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. And that's also the name of your podcast.

Michelle: Yes, it is, yes, it is. Just to normalize people being able to process their pain and their trauma, their transitions, even their triumphs. That it should really, really help one's mental health.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Michelle, I think a part of our difficulty or hesitation in checking in with others is that we are not always prepared for what they might say, and I'm wondering if you have any suggestions for how we might check in with other people and be prepared for the answers.

Michelle: Oh, absolutely. There's a few things. If I am going to check in with somebody to tell them how I'm feeling, I start off by saying “Hey, how are you doing? Hey, do you have the emotional capacity to kind of listen to what I'm going to say?” Because this is just gonna go beyond “Hey, girl, how are you doing?” And if they say, “Oh, girl, yes, of course,” then we go on to have the discussion. Now, if somebody calls me and says “Hey, I need to talk to you about something,” I'm all ears unless I'm like literally not in a place to talk.

But you make it a safe place. You be a safe person for them, listen, don't come off with solutions. Because I'm a solutions-based person–the minute you tell me a problem, I'mma a go to googling or I'm gonna go to things off the top of my head that have helped me. But sometimes some people just want you to listen and then just empathize with them and say, “Gosh, I'm sorry, you are going through that. Is there anything that I can do? How can I best serve you right now?”

Dr. Joy: Yeah, I really like that, especially around asking about people's bandwidth. Because we aren't always in the place to be able to, you know... Even if we want to help or have good intentions, sometimes we're just not in a place to be able to do that for one another.

Michelle: Yeah, and you might not know to say “hey, do you have the emotional capacity.” But like my best friend, she's married and she's got two kids of her own, she's running two dental practices, so I always make sure like “how's your day?” You know, “do you have a moment? Are you in a place to talk?” And she says, “Oh, girl, yes.” Or she says, “girl, I gotta call you back,” then I take it as that and be like “okay” and we always end up connecting.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm, yeah. Early in your memoir, you talked about how you changed your name so that it was more palatable and more marketable for yourself. Can you share a little bit about what that felt like in the moment and how you maybe understand that decision today?

Michelle: At that time, I am fresh in the group Destiny's Child and that question was asked–let's consider you going by the name Michelle, it will be more marketable. And I really go into more detail in the book. I actually tell people the actual verbiage that was used. Can’t give it away!

Dr. Joy: You’ve got to check out the book for the full story.

Michelle: You’ve got to check out the book Checking In to get the full story. But I was like, wow, okay. But I will say this, you know, like did I want to really not be in the group because of that request? You know, when you think of so many people in the entertainment world who go by other names now, for whatever their reasons are... I don't know why, say, Chilli, her real name is Rozonda. Sunny Hostin, you know, we finally found out that Sunny is a derivative of like her actual full name. And I'm like, okay, well, Michelle it is.

Now it wasn't too bad because it's my middle name so it's not like they just opened up a book of names and said would you go by this name? It was a part of me and so I think that's a part of me that made me feel better, but it did not make my mom happy at all. “I named you Tenitra.” I was like, yes ma'am, you did, you did. But I think the initial reason why, I won't lie, it did sting.

Dr. Joy: Yeah. And I would imagine maybe at this stage of your career, you might make a very different decision about that.

Michelle: Absolutely! When Kamala Harris is our president.

Dr. Joy: Vice president.

Michelle: Vice president! You know what, I've been saying that in interviews and no one has corrected me. Whoa! Well honey, we don't know in four years she could be, so I’mma just go ahead and maybe I’m just speaking that she is. And then my mayor is Keisha Bottoms. Keisha, you know, I live in Atlanta. And it's amazing and so I'm like I probably would go by Tenitra. You’ve got Beyoncé, Kelendria and Tenitra. So I don't know if at that time, would people have been able to pronounce these names? I don't know but, like I said, the initial ask did sting. Yes.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm, yeah, I would imagine. And do you feel like there are any lessons from that or other experiences in your life that you've learned, in terms of like advocating for yourself?

Michelle: Oh, absolutely. If a person makes you feel like you can't ask them questions to a request that they have of you... Or just it's not that you're questioning people, it’s just you want to get down to the nitty gritty of the ask. But black women, some of us don't ask questions because like I've been called combative, I've been called aggressive. And it’s like I was just asking a question. And this could be a further conversation at the times where I've had to be a little more high pitched in my tone to make sure that a person receives me well if I ask a question or my point of view differs from them.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of us are very sensitive to those terms being thrown around us because that is how people want to see black women. As aggressive when we are just asking questions.

Michelle: Or it's like I'm assertive! Why can't other races... like a white woman can say what she needs and wants and people be like, wow, she's so assertive and she just knows what she wants. But in my experiences as a black woman, it's always been “you're being combative, you're being aggressive,” and it's almost just take what you can get.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. And I wonder, Michelle, I know for me it feels like later in life, like I definitely feel like I have always been a little bit more outspoken and if I see something going on I want to talk about it. But I definitely feel like there are parts of my younger life where I wasn't as outspoken as I am now. I'm wondering if you can share like what that evolution has been for you. Like how have you reframed this idea around being assertive and combative in your life?

Michelle: Absolutely. And it takes wisdom and getting the tools and how to say what I need to say and not feel bad for it. And it's almost like writing that email, writing that text and putting your phone down to walk away, you know, until you can train yourself. And then I think at the end of the day, people will know your heart and your intention. Some act like they don't but the majority of the people that I have in my life where I have to come in business with, within three minutes, I can sense who you are. I don't judge you but I assess and I use wisdom in every way, in every conversation.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. That kind of sounds like being very mindful about who's in your circle and who you really allow close to you.

Michelle: Oh, absolutely. And then there are going to be some people that you deal with just on a day to day basis. I can imagine on your podcast or the people you have to deal with on the business end of it, you know, just being confident and try to be as concise as possible in your needs.

Dr. Joy: Yeah. In the book, Michelle, you are very candid in talking about like your depressive episodes and your experiences with depression. And I would imagine, given what kind of is common around people's stories around depression, there's these ideas that, “oh, you have so much going for you, why would you be depressed?” Can you share a little bit with us about what it was like to experience depression while also having some pretty major wins in your life?

Michelle: Oh, absolutely. I tell this to everybody. When people make that statement, it's like, you know what, I was dealing with depression before Destiny’s Child. The music industry did not make me depressed, Destiny's Child did not make me depressed. This was something that I'd been dealing with since whatever the age is when you're in the seventh grade. That's when I kind of was like I don't feel the way I think I should be feeling, and I got the diagnosis in my 30s. So for me, I don't know where I would be if it wasn't for that time period of me being in music. It was an escape, it was medicine. The Lord blessed me with two solid friendships and women that I'd never had. So I'll first start off by saying that.

But depression hits you no matter what race you are–almost no matter what age you are, no matter what socioeconomic background you reside in, honey–and it does not have a look. That is why people who die by suicide, there are so many people that say, “wait a minute, we were just texting yesterday. We just went out for happy hour.” It does not have a look unless you’ve got that true spirit of discernment like an old church mother that can see beyond. And I think that's what I try to do with people. I'm like, Lord, help me see beyond their smile if there is anything to see.

Dr. Joy: Yeah. And can you talk about some of the ways maybe you masked that?

Michelle: Oh, absolutely. I'm a pretty outgoing person but at the same time I like to be indoors. I think masking it by making sure everybody else is okay. Because it would make me feel better knowing that... Oh, I know what it is, I could have said this in two minutes. Wanting to be needed. You know, wanting to be needed. Mm hmm, we can just unpack that.

Dr. Joy: And can you say more about like what the depression looks like for you? Because we know that depression symptoms look different for everybody.

Michelle: Oh, isolation. A lot of sleep, no appetite, losing interest in things that normally would make me feel good. I remember on the seventh grade it was those symptoms, my grades were dropping. If it wasn't for a mentor that I had, I probably would have had to repeat the seventh grade. They didn't know everything that was going on because I grew up in a faith-based family, my entire family is also known for ministry as well as medicine.

But we were known for ministry. My mother's brother was our pastor then he was consecrated as a bishop, probably 15 or some odd years ago. And so you kind of had to put that smile on because people just know your family as this strong family. Or I'd get pulled on to sing. “We know you can sing. We know what church you go to. Get on up here and sing.” And you didn't want to let the family name down. We were just known as this strong family of ministry.

Dr. Joy: Can you think about like did your symptoms look the same in seventh grade as they did in like adulthood, or did those symptoms change in nature?

Michelle: I think they were pretty much the same. The isolation, the fatigue, not wanting to follow through with commitments. And I think as an adult, you must follow through on your word. There are so many artists and public figures who are saying the same thing: let me just get through this speech, let me just get through this play, let me get through the fourth quarter. We just play hurt, literally.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm, yeah. In the book, you also talked about feeling like rage was one of your symptoms, which is not something we often connect to depression. But for a lot of people, and I think black women specifically, that irritability is sometimes a symptom of depression that we miss. Can you say more about that?

Michelle: Well, yes. Now that's a symptom that I did not have as a child, was rage. I was not an angry child at all. And I'm not an angry woman, it’s just I think depression and anxiety, they are responses. For me, they were responses and the irritability was just one of the symptoms. And it's like, okay, well, how do I know that it's not hormonal? And ladies, that's a good thing to talk about, too. Certain women, you could have PMDD. Our hormones, as far as for women are concerned, they just parallel so much with symptoms of depression as well.

I remember being on birth control for a number of years and sometimes I just look back and I’m like, hey, did that make it worse? I know it added an extra chin here that I always gotta pluck. Those symptoms can parallel, so I think that's how it can go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. You almost got to go back to even, okay, what was going on pre-puberty? Were you abused verbally, physically? Because I didn't know how to cope, I had to suppress it all, you know. It's like you’re a church girl, you know Jesus, you can't be sad. Everything is working out for you.

Dr. Joy: More from my conversation with Michelle right after the break.


Dr. Joy: Can you share more about like what maybe navigating these conversations around mental health have been like in a family that is so strong faith-wise? Like was it something that was understood or was there some pushback around like, oh, you just need to pray harder?

Michelle: Dr. Anita Phillips is so amazing. She's a psychologist but she's also a minister and I've taken this quote from her and I've used it: Prayer is a weapon; therapy is a strategy. And those are for people who possibly are wondering, should I be a believer and go to therapy? Absolutely. You're a believer and you go get your mammograms, you're a believer and you go get your pap smears, you're a believer and you go to the doctor if you've had a cough that's turned into strep throat. So go ahead and do the same thing, whatever your faith is. Or even cultures. If you are African, Asian Indian, you kind of suck it up. It is taboo in a lot of cultures.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, absolutely. Which is why I think the book is so important. I think it just goes a long way in terms of normalizing having these conversations.

Michelle: Absolutely, normalizing the conversations. Also normalizing and letting a person feel like they can say “I'm not okay.” Now, I don't think you should be telling everybody, but just ask, can we just normalize to where you have a person? Everybody needs their person and hopefully that person is a licensed, you know, clinical worker. Because there are some times too where I don't want to feel like I'm dumping on people. And I'm like, well, therapists, this is what they get paid to do, it’s to hear you talk. But it's their job to even help you go to a step further by peeling back the layers, getting to the root of things. Some want to help you with solutions and treatments organically, and sometimes medicine is involved.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. I want to go back to something you said previously about the old church mother sometimes seeing beyond what's going on with someone. Can you say a little bit more about what that might look like?

Michelle: You know, I've had some severe depression–I can almost smell it on a person. I can almost see it. And there are certain questions that I can ask a person and, before you know it, they're opening up to me. And I'm like I'm so glad you asked because I can sense that it's something you're going through. May I help you provide a resource that can help you find the therapist? Because I'm not licensed but I do want to see people walking in wholeness and healing. I do want to see people being able to process their trauma and pain. Because a lot of what people are going through was inflicted at the hands of somebody else.

And then there's a small percentage of our pain where it's been done at our own hands. Maybe we stayed in a relationship a little too long, we tolerated some abuse, we didn't get out when we should have, and that took a toll on your mental health. But I'm getting better at being in a place where I want to know beyond the sparkles. How are you really doing?

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm, and that might mean actually checking in with people when you know you have the bandwidth to go deep if they should share something...

Michelle: That's so good, that's right.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, yeah. Can you share a little bit more about your thoughts about how we can communicate our triggers to our partners and family and friends and other people in our lives?

Michelle: Absolutely. Communicating our triggers, that's another thing because you might be afraid to tell that (especially if it's a romantic relationship) out of fear of losing the relationship. That's what happened to me. I speak about my engagement ending and how I was like, man, I'm a 99% truthful person, but that 1% I should have said some. So it's like nine times out of 10, your partner, they want to know what's going on with you. At least mine did. So I think it is very important to vocalize a trigger and say, “this is something I want to work on but when you raise your voice, even if this is just out of passion because you're watching a basketball game, it brings me back to hearing my parents yell.”

I'm not saying don't yell when LeBron makes that shot or Steph Curry makes that shot. Or when we're talking, “don't raise your voice at me, period.” You know, let's work on keeping the levels down. Now I have to work on that, y'all, because I'm a passionate person so my voice elevates the more passionate I get. It's not because I'm yelling my voice out of anger and aggression or to overpower you and to intimidate you, but that could really trigger somebody else.

Dr. Joy: Yeah and I really think that those are the kinds of conversations that can really bring you closer in a relationship. Even though I think a lot of people are afraid of it, but it is really being vulnerable with this person.

Michelle: Absolutely. You know what, that's the thing. And I was like, transparency is telling a person what you've gone through. Vulnerability is being able to tell how you feel. Like, yes, I've gone through depression or a breakup, okay, I'm very transparent. But I've learned how to be vulnerable like, okay, let me tell you how I really felt when I went through it. There's a difference between being transparent and vulnerable.

Dr. Joy: Right, because a lot of us will come up with like a public story of how to share something.

Michelle: Uh-oh, uh-oh. Girl, yes!

Dr. Joy: Yeah. Especially something that you know you're gonna have to repeat over and over. Like you get very rehearsed in sharing the details that make people feel like they know enough but not too much.

Michelle: Absolutely. But that could be a defense mechanism.

Dr. Joy: Oh, yes. Yeah. So you've already talked about like a major life transition, just in terms of your engagement ending, but you've also had other major transitions. Like the end of Destiny’s Child, the group deciding that it wasn't going to be performing and stuff anymore. Can you talk about what you have learned from these transitions, about like redirection and conquering change?

Michelle: Oh, absolutely. You know, you want things to go on and on and on and on and on forever, but be ready for that transition. Prepare yourself. It’s kind of like that athlete that you're good if you can go beyond three years in the NFL and so people aren't ready for those transitions. Same thing in the music industry. But lately, there have been more tools for a person to have a little more longevity in music, sports and entertainment.

When I think of 21 years later, the work that I'm doing still feels like the first day. So that's a blessing to have some relevance and still be working in a field that I love and now adding more purpose in another area that I'm really, really passionate about. But yes, if I'm the one to be vulnerable, the ending of Destiny’s Child, it saddened me. Oh my gosh, because I felt like I was kind of just getting my stride and feeling like I'm an actual member now.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Can you talk about like how that might have been processed with the group? Like were there conversations around the ending?

Michelle: Not really. No, not really. Because I would have said, yo, what are we doing? What are you talking about the end? I think that's a part of why I know I took it so hard. Because I didn't want it to end and it's like, you know, you should have told me a year in advance.

Dr. Joy: You needed a little bit of time.

Michelle: I needed a little more time!

Dr. Joy: In addition to working together, you also had very strong friendships with your two other bandmates. And so how did that impact... Like the end of the working relationship impact the friendship?

Michelle: The friendship moved, it kept going and we are very close. But it didn't take me long to process because I was like, okay, well, you were here for a short amount of time, the girls have been doing this since they were 11 and 12. So, yes, it is time to transition, it is time to move on. And we've kept that promise of coming together every few years and that's been a joy. But the real joy is the relationship that we have. I mean, Kelly talked about how she gave us the Zoom link when she gave birth. I mean, you can't get no better and no closer and more intimate than that.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, it's pretty intimate.

Michelle: Very intimate and very special. The reason why there's still access that we have to each other's lives, I think, is the respect. And the ability as grown women, you know, we haven't had to have many conversations feeling wronged by the other... In fact, we've never had an argument, ever.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, I think there's a lot to be said from that.

Michelle: Yes, ma'am.

Dr. Joy: More for Michelle right after the break.


Dr. Joy: What have you learned about yourself about how you prepare for major life transitions now? So you said you're somebody who typically needs a little bit more of a runway, you like to know when things are changing, and sometimes life affords us that and sometimes not. So what have you learned about yourself and transitions now?

Michelle: Just accepting that transitions happen. My father passed away in December of last year and it's like, well? Now, he was sick for a number of years and his transition was so peaceful, and how I was able to process that. And then there are things that kind of blindside you and I kind of deal with them in the same way, because I refuse to go into a downward spiral. I have the tools on how to respond.

Dr. Joy: And what are some of those tools for you?

Michelle: Some of those tools are stepping back from a situation, breathing, praying, texting my therapist. Because so much healing has taken place, I don't want to do anything that defiles it. Am I human? Am I gonna make a mistake along the way? Absolutely. Does anxiety still come? Absolutely. I mean, I'm in my book release week and I'm anxious. I'm like, is it gonna do good? Are people gonna like it? How well will it be received? And blah, blah, blah, all these questions–that are legitimate questions but I don't let myself ruminate on things anymore like I used to.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm, that feels important, the rumination piece. Because we can really get stuck there and like really do ourselves some damage.

Michelle: Been on that cycle, honey. No, don't do that to yourself. Get somebody to process something with. But, oh, when I see somebody just over and over ruminating, meditating on something, it's heartbreaking to see.

Dr. Joy: Yes, because it really exhausts you.

Michelle: Mm hmm, yes.

Dr. Joy: Something that we have talked a lot about today in our conversation, and that we talked a lot about on the podcast, is maintaining boundaries. And it feels like from the very beginning, at least of your public life with us, you really were kind of set on having some stuff that was just for you and your family and some stuff that like was shared with the public. Can you talk about how your boundaries have evolved and how you kind of make decisions about what kinds of things are shared publicly and what kinds of stuff stays within your inner circle?

Michelle: Absolutely. I just believe in honor, you know. There are even some things I share in my book as it relates to my parents’ relationship and what I witnessed growing up. That's a part of my mental health journey but out of respect for them, there are just certain things you're not going to go into details about. That will be my mother's story to tell one day. I really feel like my mother could really help other caregivers. Her and my dad were married 46 years with lots of ups and downs and I think she could really be helpful, but that's her story to tell.

As it relates to myself, I'm very wise on the timing and seasons in which I share certain aspects of my life because you can mean well and you got to be careful–I’m careful of even the specifics of what I share details to. In my book, I share as much as I possibly can but out of honor for a lot of my relationships, you know... Because it's not a tell-all, by the way. I'm not a tell-all type of person. I'm okay with telling you about an issue or a problem. You don't need all the details, but I give you the details that matter and what affected me, and how I've been able to overcome, and the healing journey that I'm still currently on.

Dr. Joy: And how do you feel like you got to that place, Michelle? I think about, you know, there are likely going to be lots of younger people who are excited to pick up a copy of your book, and it does feel like in the social media era there is a tendency to want to share more. I'm wondering if you can share how you've developed to a place where you have this honor around what kinds of things are important to share and what kinds of things are not.

Michelle: You know, I think that comes from the industry, the time period in which we came up in. There are certain things, just media training wise, we were just taught not to share it. It's about your music, every now and then you give a little personal tidbit. Because people want to feel like they know you, people want to feel like they can relate to you. I understand there are certain mysterious artists, like Prince was very mysterious and you still loved his music but some of his truths was also in his music.

But I do feel like now, we just have to use wisdom in what we share. I'm not telling you not to not share things. My mother thinks that what I share is TMI. It’s TMI and I know details that I've kept to myself and that I will keep to myself. Because if you want to keep access to me and vice versa (I have access to you), it's all about honor at the end of the day unless I have permission– unless you've given me permission to share a detail.

Dr. Joy: Did you have conversations with family and friends in preparation for writing the book? Around like is it okay if I say this or not? Or did you just kind of go on your own ideas about, you know, what kinds of things to keep sacred?

Michelle: Yeah, just kind of my own ideas because I didn't want anybody to shape my truths but I knew that I still will be honorable in sharing my story. Because there are people who might have hurt you and they didn't mean to, but they don't deserve to be put on blast either, especially when you've reconciled and the relationship is okay. And vice versa–I've done some hurting. But just as long as we're doing our part to forgive and say those words: I'm sorry; I apologize; I make no excuses for my language towards you or my behavior towards you; it is my responsibility of how I respond to you, and I'm sorry. And those words, my mother would tell me sometimes someone saying I'm sorry can be just as powerful as the person getting on one knee to propose to you.

Dr. Joy: And are you having to have any of those conversations now, like as the book is preparing to be out in the world? Are you feeling like you need to have any conversation with people like “hey, okay, just so you know, this is gonna be shared?”

Michelle: There are parts in the book where I say “out of respect for my relationship, I won't say this.” There's nothing in there that I think is disrespectful, you know, there are certain names that I didn't even use. There are people still alive, there are people’s legacies to still protect and that's just who I am. That is just who I am. And nothing was done to me that warrants like an investigation or anything–that's different. Especially with my parents and as they say “hey we were doing the best we knew how to do,” that's like a healing salve for me, just those words. Because our parents, they were going through their own traumas individually, the traumas from their families, you know, their siblings and their household. Then you're trying to raise kids and all of that and there could be a lot that’s said or done.

Dr. Joy: Yeah. So you've already talked about some of the feelings that you're having as you approach release week. Can you say more about like how you're taking care of yourself and how you've taken care of yourself throughout the book writing process?

Michelle: Yes, ma’am. Literally pacing myself, taking time, pockets of time to watch my favorite shows if possible. I know today through Wednesday is impossible. And then I'm just prepared for it to be a week of a lot of work. I'm prepared to just be tired and that's the reality. I can't sugarcoat it–I’m gonna be tired.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, but you know what you're headed for it.

Michelle: Exactly.

Dr. Joy: Looking back on your life, I'm wondering if you have some ideas about what advice you might give to your younger self.

Michelle: Oh, definitely pacing yourself, trusting the journey, trusting process and time. Time is so important and what you do in between the time in your transitions really is very important. Sometimes what you do while you're waiting is so important. Yeah, I tell myself that. Trusting the wait.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, those transitions can be a very powerful time in our lives. Well, I am so excited that we've had a chance to chat today, Michelle. Tell everybody where they can grab the book and what they should be looking forward to.

Michelle: Thank you so much. Like I said, it's been a joy to talk to you. And you can go to That's just an easy link and it'll tell you all the retailers of your choosing that you can get my book, Checking In.

Dr. Joy: And you are having some incredible conversations with other people as a part of your book tour. Do you want to share more about that?

Michelle: I am. I have a book tour coming out. And some of my favorite conversations, I've got my friend, Neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf, Taraji P. Henson, Lecrae, Miss Tina and LeToya Luckett. Dr. Anita Phillips, Darrell Walls... Let's see. DeVon Franklin, Chandler Moore and Tamar Braxton. Tabitha Brown. Listen, these are amazing conversations that I am delighted for you guys to be able to see.

Dr. Joy: Wonderful. Well, we will be sure to share all of those details in the show notes. Good luck with your release, Michelle.

Michelle: Thank you.

Dr. Joy: You’re welcome.

Michelle: Thank you so much, honey. Jesus be a *[inaudible 0:39:27], a massage, a masseuse. Lord!

Dr. Joy: I'm so glad Michelle was able to share with us today. To grab your copy of her new book Checking In, be sure to visit the show notes at Don't forget that if you're looking for a therapist in your area, be sure to check out our therapist directory at

And if you want to continue digging into this topic or just be in community with other sisters, come on over and join us in the Sister Circle. It's our cozy corner of the internet designed just for black women. You can join us at Thank y'all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take good care.


Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Sisterhood heals
Order Now

Looking for the UK Edition?
Order here

Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Looking for the UK Edition? Order here