Book Review: Checking In by Michelle Williams

michelle williams checking in book review

"Checking In: How Getting Real About Depression Saved My Life and Can Save Yours" is a personal memoir by Grammy Award-Winning singer Michelle Williams. In 2018, the world learned of Michelle’s ongoing battle with depression after news leaked that she’d checked herself into a mental hospital. Coming out of the darkness of this depressive episode, Michelle began her personal journey of self-love by understanding the value of checking in with herself.

Now, she’s a mental health advocate committed to bringing awareness to everyday mental health battles such as depression. "Checking In" is laced with Michelle’s comforting humor and soul-baring reflection. Throughout the book, readers learn the importance of checking in and how it can save their life.

A Journey of Self-Discovery

“When we fail to check in with ourselves," she said, "to be aware of our own thoughts, feelings, and spirituality, we fail to live as God wants us to live. Because we fail to see ourselves as God sees us.”

Most famously known as a member of R&B girl-group Destiny’s Child, Michelle offers readers a glimpse into her professional and personal worlds. However, if you plan on diving into "Checking In" with hopes of reading about secret Destiny’s Child drama, you won’t find it anywhere. Instead, you’ll read about a beautiful journey of self-discovery—a journey full of the most relatable highs and lows. Michelle’s never-before-heard life stories are told in a way that reminds readers: stars really are just like us.

“I need help,” were the three words that saved Michelle’s life. However, her personal history of self-sabotaging behavior was a major roadblock on the road to redemption. And experiencing her darkest days while in the public eye made the journey a bit tougher altogether. After a called-off engagement and brief hospital stay, Michelle accepted that it was time to check in with herself.

Taking the Next Step

“I checked myself into a hospital because I wasn’t checking in anywhere else," she said. "I wasn’t checking in with me. I wasn’t checking in with God. And I sure wasn’t checking in with others.”

Michelle’s steadfast personal relationship with God often supports the book’s consistent message of checking in. Her favorite Bible scriptures are also interspersed with practical lessons learned in professional therapy. The way Michelle incorporates knowledge from both sources is commendable and necessary in bridging the gap between spirituality and science.

With a total of 208 pages, Michelle guides readers through the emotional journey of checking in with themselves. "Checking In" is a powerful step in Michelle’s healing journey and serves as a reassuring nod to those who are struggling with mental health.

You may pick up "Checking In" expecting to learn about celebrity secrets, but you’ll stay for the emotionally raw truth. You’ll stay for the humor, for the rise and fall of a beautiful human, and for the hope that Michelle offers through the pages. And surely, you’ll learn how checking in with yourself is the greatest practice of self-love.