Even in today’s world where this is so much hope and prospects with breath throughs and medical science as well as a resurgence of interest in holistic healing and wellness, millions of people struggle with disease and other forms of illness every single day. The good news is that we are finding many ways to approach and battle many diseases that were often considered inevitable death sentences. However, it seems that more often than not, there is whole other side of battling disease and sickness that goes relatively unspoken about in public, and that is the depression that is brought on by it.
Self-proclaimed Kingdom strategist Sheri Brooks offered her insight into this very troubling and often ignored battle, often suffered in silence.
Now I have heard many titles in this world of interviewing so many remarkable women, but “Kingdom strategist” was not one of them. I asked Sheri to elaborate.
“It is so commonplace to hear strategist attached to everyone’s title these days. ‘Brand strategist, Marketing strategist, Finance strategist’ but I have been operating under the moniker ‘The Kingdom Strategist’ since 2008. Simply put a strategist is someone who plans. My area of expertise stems from being in leadership positions in church and the world. I help my clients and churches included, identify their ‘kingdom’ purpose and then strategically go about mapping out a plan, so they are successful in their endeavors. That is part of my mission statement. I bring God’s business and man’s business together, so they complement each other, not clash.” She continues, “I am also a former television host and producer. I’m an indie filmmaker and playwright. I just released a Non-Fiction book for young women called Stand Like a Queen: The Young Woman’s Blueprint for Graceful Living and am currently working on finishing my novel due out this September.”
Sheri clearly seems to be a woman with many passions and is very driven. I was curious to know what was the motivating factor behind all of her passions.
“I love the arts; I love being creative! There is something so exhilarating about putting an idea on paper and then bringing it to life in a book or on stage or screen. With the events, conferences I love teaching and sharing then watching others catch the spark and light it up!” She says.
Aside from prominent cancer and heart disease, the most common physical ailments that we see in the present day, especially among women are auto-immune diseases. Sheri explains that “an auto-immune disease is a disorder where your body attacks its own healthy cells. There are several AIDs out there; the ones most discussed are Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Celiac Disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Vasculitis, and MS. “
Given her scale of knowledge on the subject, I asked her if she has suffered from an auto-immune disease.
“Unfortunately-yes.” She explains. “Most of the girls in my family have Lupus. I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome Primary. Often people are just dealing with one issue; Diabetes, Hypertension, Lupus, etc. However, in some cases (mine being no exception) the main dis- ease can cause others to manifest. Like a tree growing limbs.”
With many people, including celebrities and public figures such as Toni Braxton, coming forward about their battles with LUPUS, it seems that it is starting to be something that is commonly diagnosed. I myself knew very little about the disease and was curious to know what exactly causes it.
Sheri explained that “Genetics plays a big role, environment, exposure, and diet. Sometimes one ethnic group is more predisposed than another.”
Having bare witness to people that are fighting illness, I see how it not only takes a toll on you physically. But also what it does to you mentally. I’ve seen people close to me all but give up because they feel as if they can’t lead healthy lives because limitations brought on by their sickness binds them.
Knowing that Sheri herself has had to live through these obstacles, I asked her about some ways that people can cope with their depression while fighting life-threatening diseases are?
“For me, prayer and support. Depression is a monster on its own, a dangerous thing to have to deal with. It can shut you down, and it can cause you to think recklessly. I think it’s important to have a support system, even a support group outside the home where you can be educated and encouraged by those who understand what you’re dealing with.” She continues, “One thing I would advise is to monitor medications, diet, and activity=keep a diary, also make sure you have benefits. It seems morbid, but real talk health insurance/life insurance. Have a phone buddy you can chat with or call to get a quick pep talk. Find an activity for occupying your time, mind, and hands.”
Many people, while taking medications to help fight off their physical ailments, also begin to take medicines to deal with the emotional side effects of being sick. I was curious to know if Sheri (like many others) believes that taking these mental health medications can sometimes exasperate the deterioration of health while battling these illnesses.
“They absolutely do. The disease isn’t always the culprit that brings on new stuff, and meds can trigger other diseases while damaging your organs. You have to know if you can or should take certain meds. Doctors want to experiment or give a quick fix. You need a doctor who will work with YOUR team of doctors to find the root cause and deal with that while also working on the other issues.” She says.
It’s undoubtedly one thing to have to function as a parent and/or provider while battling an auto-immune disease, having to go to work every single day and push through your shift despite all of the things that you physically an mentally have to cope with. However, what about when you are a full-time entrepreneur? When there is no “shift work” involved and your entire life centers around building your brand and/or business. We all know that this could mean at times grueling 16 hour days. How can fighting such a horrible affliction power through in order to still be successful? Based on her first-hand experience, Sherri offers insight.
“Both- as a high functioning, active person in the corporate world and a creator, while also being a part of a dance group, Sjogren’s Syndrome began to take a toll on me. We must learn how to slow down, delegate, or let some things go. It is crucial to take time off to get educated on your illness and become familiar with how your body is functioning. Pay attention to your diet and surroundings. You have to make lifestyle changes, or you may make things worse. I loved brownies and cake, with Celiac Disease I can’t do that. You must be clear in your thinking, while some people are now acting like it’s a new fad ‘I want gluten-free this and gluten-free that, your body needs those nutrients, but for the Celiac, those things can kill them. I have a podcast coming in August, where I will be talking about Sjogren’s and Celiac Disease in depth. “
Sheri Brooks is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned, and her strength is so admirable. Battling Lupus is, without a doubt, a day to day struggle for her. But she refuses to allow it to define her life and throw a wrench through her divine purposeful plan.
“I will be teaching a Writing Well Intensive in Southfield, October 26 (a 5hr intensive session advance and cultivate writers wherever they are on their journey and help identify the direction they should be moving in). GloryReelz Christian Film Fest and Writer’s Lab™ November 8-9 in Novi and then our Strategic Woman Summit™ in February 2020!”
We look forward to watching the success of all of Sheri’s endeavors and are deeply encouraged by her drive and determination to push through and rise above any and all obstacles that she is faced with!