Dr. Beth-Sarah Wright will speak at St. Simon's Episcopal Church, 1522 Georgia 138 in Conyers, on Feb. 24 at 12:30 p.m.
Despite all of her college degrees, numerous other accomplishments and impressive family Life, Beth-Sarah Wright still fell victim to the turmoil and trouble life can sometimes bring. Wright, the wife of the new Episcopal bishop of the diocese of Atlanta, shared the story of her struggle with depression in a book she released a few years ago and will continue sharing her story during a visit to St. Simon's Episcopal Church in Conyers next week.
Wright will speak on the "Power of Prayer" at St. Simon's at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 24.
"Prayer is something very close to my heart because I feel it is a part of our lives as Christians, as believers and people of faith," Wright said.
"But it is also one of the most challenging things to create a fulfilling prayer life. It used to cause me so much fear to pray in public. I would get very nervous and was unsure how to pray. I did some more Bible study on how to pray and came to the conclusion that prayer is a conversation and you being comfortable to talk and communicate with God."
For this daughter of an Episcopal priest, prayer has been crucial to her life but was particularly vital during the time she found herself in the depths of depression.
"Prayer was a relief to me and medicine, actually, when I was going through a bout of severe depression," she said. "During that time, I didn't know how to pray and didn't know what to pray for. In the Bible it says the spirit will moan and groan for you even when you don't have the words to pray. I was grateful for that word.
"Even when you don't know what to pray, the spirit will come for you and intercede for you and even in the pit of the valley, there can still be prayer. I wanted to hold onto that."
In 2010, Wright released her book, "Me? Depressed?" which tells the story of her battle with clinical depression
"I was laying in a hospital bed when this book came divinely downloaded to me," she said. "It just came. I could see the title, the chapters.
"I felt it was necessary to write not only for me, but when encouraging other people in depression. They were ashamed. I met doctors, lawyers, nurses and others who were suffering from depression and did not want to talk about it. I said, 'We need to talk about it because people are suffering.'"
The preface of Wright's book makes it clear just how severely she had been suffering. An excerpt from the book reads, "The morning I left home and checked myself into a mental hospital, I felt numb and in a fog. I had kissed my children and hugged my husband goodbye knowing that something was different that day but I didn't know what. I was tired, exhausted in fact and when I kissed my family I felt at the end of my tether. I was certainly not planning to go to a mental hospital that morning. I was actually on my way to the college where I teach.
"By most accounts it was a normal morning beginning with my daily commute. Except for one thing. I wanted to die. I drove very slowly with my fingers curled around the steering wheel keeping it straight because my natural instinct was to swerve the car off the road or gun it into the car in front of me. Flashes of death, invisibility, disappearance kept distracting me. I wanted to die and being behind the wheel of a car seemed like a sure way to do it."
Wright said she has found when someone reads her book, they thank her for sharing her story because "almost everyone has experienced this or knows someone who has and they are grateful. In that sense, I am so pleased for the response if it can just open a door."
Born in Jamaica in 1973, Wright attended an Anglican boarding school in Edinburgh, Scotland, at the age of 16. She received her bachelor's degree with high honors from Princeton University in sociology and African-American studies. She received her master's in social anthropology from Cambridge University and her Ph.D. in performance studies from New York University.
Wright has also worked as a college professor teaching expository writing at NYU and served as the director of the African Diaspora and the World program at Spelman College in Atlanta.
In 1997, as she was working on her master's degree at Cambridge University in England, she was walking down the street one day when she met the man who would become her husband.
They were both students at Cambridge and began a conversation that day which led to marriage the next year. On Oct. 13, her husband, the Rev. Robert Christopher Wright was ordained and consecrated as the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. He is the first black bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.
The occasion marked a more joyful time for Wright, who just a few years earlier was in such despair. "Me" Depressed?" chronicles the story of her clinical depression beginning with her own disbelief and denial to discovery. Prayer, her topic for the upcoming visit to Conyers, has been crucial to that recovery.
Today, the Wrights live in Atlanta where they are busy parents of three boys and two girls ranging in age from 8 to 21. The community is invited to hear Wright speak.