“Sister’s, when your gut tells you something, listen. It will save you a world of damage and trauma in your life. I suppressed trauma-related issues throughout my life, causing me a struggle with trusting myself. It’s important to confront our traumas to learn to trust our inner voice.” — Michelle Jackson

I had the opportunity to sit down with my mother, Michelle Jackson. She is a speaker, author, and coach — focused on encouraging people to overcome their hopelessness through self-discovery, inspring women to do the work.

Watch the interview here and click on the next page to see key question highlights.

How would you define your personality as a child, what would you say defined you?

“It’s a difficult question. And It’s a difficult question because I don’t remember myself without trauma, it’s hard to identify myself without the trauma. I was told I was a very introspective child, who often seemed like I had an old soul. I was also a very caring child, I babysat at a very young age, often caring for someone.”

Can you share one thing about your childhood and how it’s related to who you are today?

“One thing that shaped who I am today, is that we moved a lot. I attended six different elementary schools and I was often the new kid. We didn’t move far either. I realized a year or so ago, that my mother was likely moving every year to save money as a single parent. Every time she could find a new deal on an apartment, we moved. If she could save $20 a month, we would move. As soon as I made a friend, it was time to uproot before I could really become planted in my new environment. I think this contributed to me being an introvert, I had to learn how to become more comfortable being alone. I do think I struggle today maintaining relationships because of the instability during my formative years.

What stands out to you about your suicide attempts?

“I was hopeless in each of my four attempted suicides. My first attempted suicide, I was 12 years old. I was being walked around the courtyard of my apartment, we were once again moving. Anyway, I was losing consciousness and my mother and aunt’s boyfriends at the time worked to keep me conscious. At my mother’s funeral in 2016, the boyfriend who helped keep me alive attended the funeral. I saw him for the first time in many years and received the closure I really needed. I had the chance to thank him for helping to save my life. It was a full-circle moment. For many years, I felt like I was in survival mode. If I went through traumatic events, I didn’t have time to deal with things, I had to suppress a lot. Once I began to process things, everything made sense. I had years of processing my experiences before seeing that man who helped save my life.

What tips would you share with someone struggling through depression?

  • Acknowledgement – how long have you been feeling depressed? Is it situational depression (someone recently passed away)? Are there cues pointing to clinical depression? Are you having negative and depressive thoughts? Is there a break in your sleep?
  • Reach out for help if therapy works for you, do that. If not, talk to a trusted best friend or family member and share that you think you’re in depression. Talk to someone you admire. If you don’t have someone, and you feel completely alone, call the National Suicide Prevention Line, 800-273-8255.
  • Do the work – that you need to do to be healthy mentally. Sometimes doing the work means medication. From there, you might have to change your behaviors. Don’t stop doing the work and reflect on the behaviors you may need to change. Think about what helps you and do that.