We’re never stuck where we are. We always have a choice. There's always a way out. It just comes down to taking ownership of our life and deciding we’re going to do things differently.
Michelle Anhang, BA, PCC, CPCC, is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in supporting individuals and families living with mental health challenges as well as those moving forward after loss. In addition to coaching, Michelle is a motivational speaker who shares her story of becoming widowed at the age of 34 when her husband died by suicide, and how she navigated her way through stigma, shame, and her own mental health challenges to rebuild her life intentionally.
Courage Up Moment
It was in a very dark place. There were 10 years where she buried the secret of her husband’s death and she did not take time to grieve. Just shoved everything down and kept going on with life. Essentially, she was living her life in a way of isolation because she didn’t let herself grieve properly, she had anxiety because what if people found out the real reason behind her husband’s death. She didn’t feel like she deserved any better so she stayed in a job she didn’t like. She got into a relationship that was very toxic. Michelle had this epiphany that the common denominator was her! She knew she could do something about it so she entered therapy.
She always had this voice in her head of “I don’t belong.” She felt that so much in her life of no you don’t belong here. She had this determination of I’m going to find where I belong and I do deserve better.
Peeling Back Shame
She let herself really grieve: the childhood she wanted but didn’t have, the family, the relationship with her mother she didn’t have. The first part was really letting herself grieve then slowly working through the self-loathing. She had to learn to not bully herself and be kinder in the way she talked. Then she took baby steps of moving forward.
Re-write the Script
It took constant practice. Every time she caught herself in a thought that put her in a shame space, she would immediately say nope, you don’t need to go there. You can have toxic shame, and you can change your brain to not go down the rabbit hole.
The Secret Is Out
Once the secret was out, it was life changing. The more she healed, the better she felt about herself, the bigger chances she wanted to take in life, she didn’t want to hide anymore. Keeping this secret was the last step to step fully into who she is. She always had in her mind that she would wait to tell the kids when they became adults. She was in a leadership group and her teacher told her she was ready to tell the secret. Michelle decided she wasn’t holding onto this piece of her identity.
She intentionally picked a day, time, place to tell her children the truth. She was really scared, and also knew telling them would be in alignment with her integrity. She told them the truth over dinner. Her sons reacted really well with it and of course needed time to process.
Strategies for Friends/Family to Support with Mental Health
Don’t try to fix it, instead ask “What do you need from me? Do you want me to just listen or are you looking for advice?
Take time for self-care so you can refuel and come from a place of love instead of resentment
We’re never stuck where we are. We always have a choice. There's always a way out. It just comes down to taking ownership of our life and deciding we’re going to do things differently
“You Do You"
This Is Me by Keala Settle
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Connect With Michelle:
Website: Michelle Anhang Coaching
Facebook: Michelle Anhang Coaching
LinkedIN: Michelle Anhang
Youtube: Michelle Anhang Coaching
Connect With Ming:
Facebook: Ming Shelby
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