Mandisa is well known for her positive, upbeat and encouraging music, but beneath it was a woman struggling to deal with her everyday life.
After losing a close friend to cancer, a friend for whom she wrote her award-winning song, "Overcomer", Mandisa descended into a dark pit of depression, isolating herself from family and friends.
"I did not deal with my grief in a healthy way, and it just plunged me deeper and deeper into a pit of depression that I couldn't see my way out of," said Mandisa. "It got to a point where I was contemplating suicide."
Two years in, Mandisa's friends and family intervened and surrounded her, filling her with positivity.
"They found me at a movie theatre. They sat in the parking lot for four hours. When I came out, I had a bunch of sticky notes all over my car with positive sayings," said Mandisa. "As I got closer to my car, I realized several of my friends were still there. They pulled me over into a little spot next to the theatre and had an intervention."
"They forced me to get counselling," Mandisa explained. "That's when I finally started dealing with that grief that I had been stuffing down. It was through my counselling journey that I finally started opening up, and it was through the love of the people around me that I started dealing with these things."
With the same warmth and vulnerability she uses in her songs, Mandisa is now opening up about her mental health struggles, walking through grief, and the role shame has played in her life in her new book, Out of the Dark: My Journey through the shadows to find God's joy.
Mandisa is also an advocate for mental health, using her experience to explore the taboo topic and how to navigate it from a Christian perspective.
"I think so many people have struggled. Even people that we see in the Bible. And the way that I see God address those people, is not by saying, I'm so ashamed of you. I'm so disappointed, but with love and with grace. I think that's how we should respond to each other as well."
"I want to encourage people, even if you think you're not making a difference, reaching out and letting somebody know that you care and that you love them, they hear that. Whether or not you get the response that you want, they hear it, and it does make a difference."
Today on Connections, Mandisa shares a bit about her journey and how she finally managed to come out of the dark.