When BYU-Idaho alumni Shantelle Avery began her struggle with mental illness, she never anticipated she'd ever blog about her experience.
"From January 2013 until May 2016, I experienced a lot of depression and anxiety," Shantelle Avery, creator, and author of the blog That We Might Have Joy: Finding Joy Through Depression told BYU-Idaho Radio. "By May 2016...I was honestly feeling better and for a few months."
It was during this time, Avery experienced and unexpected prompting during the General Women's Session of General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as Sister Carol M. Stephens spoke.
"[Sister Carol M. Stephens said,] 'Hope and healing are not found in the dark abyss of secrecy, but in the light and love of our Savior, Jesus,' and after she said that, I just knew I needed to write and share my story about depression," Avery said.
Her blog, That We Might Have Joy: Finding Joy in Depression, initially began with Avery's own experiences, but soon branched out to others sharing their stories of finding joy in their tough times whether it be child loss, terminal illnesses, divorce, etc.
"I started asking for stories and people started writing them and now there have been over 40 stories," Avery said.
Avery says she's had a few notable names, like Meg Johnson who's story of triumph after falling off a cliff and facing a new life of paralyzation, has been shared all over the world. These stories, Avery says, have been deeply inspiring for her, but she also loves to hear the stories of people who may not have such worldwide recognition or reach.
"One thing that I enjoy is finding the stories of ordinary people, not just people that are notable because I think everyone has a story and a lot of people don't have a way of sharing that story," Avery said. "People have said, 'this story helped me because of the feelings this person described,' or 'because of their experience and it was close to mine,' or different things. I think just people feeling like they're not alone."
Shantelle Avery's full interview can be heard below.