In mid-2020, I noticed an undeniable theme in my therapy sessions with Mormon women.
One of my clients hesitated before admitting that she didn’t really miss going to church.
One expressed tremendous relief at not having to clean up her children’s experiences in primary and young adult lessons. Yet another started getting panic attacks when in-person church was put back on the calendar.
By the end of the year, I had a waitlist full of Mormon women struggling with their mental health.
By mid-2021, I had had the same conversations hundreds of times, telling my clients over and over: You are not alone. You’re not crazy. There are so many women out there experiencing exactly what you’re describing.
Now, at the beginning of 2022, nearly 100% of my new clients are women who come to me for help navigating dissonance between their spiritual beliefs and their mental health. What started in summer 2020 as whispered confessions has become a constant plea for support and guidance.
Mormon women are hungry for conversation. We are hungry for safety. And we are absolutely starving for shame-free faith. We want to be heard, we want to be held, we want to be connected. We need each other now, perhaps more than ever before.
For months, I’ve been soaking in all you’ve had to say. I’ve been thinking about your mental health, your courage, your questions, your suffering and your joy, your faith and your doubt, your highs and your lows. Knowing you all, hearing from you, has been the gift of a lifetime. I’ve felt like part of a sisterhood that only I know exists.
And then it HIT me: You women, you brilliant, warm, courageous women – you need to know each other. Not just through my assurances that there are others like you out there, not through second-hand, anonymous anecdotes, but for real. You need to know each other for real.
We know that together, Mormon women can do great things. We know how to show up and work side by side, we know how to lift each other up, and we know that the power of our whole is greater than any one of us on our own. One-on-one, I can help you heal yourself. Together, as a group, as a sisterhood, we can heal ourselves, we can heal each other, and we can heal our culture.
Ladies, we need each other. We know that charity never fails, and we also know that we cannot give what we do not have. The most charitable thing you can do for others is to offer charity, compassion, and acceptance to yourself. The best way to help your friends and your family, your partners, your children is to secure your own oxygen mask first when a crisis hits.
And for so many of you, that crisis has HIT.
Consider this your oxygen mask.
Consider this your formal invitation to join me as I explore Mormon womanhood through the lenses of mental health, radical acceptance, and collaborative sisterhood. Introducing Freak on a Leash, a mental health podcast for Mormon women.
For information on working with Caitlin, look no further.