06 June 2012

Telling My Story: Part III

My story.

It's not pretty or eloquent or melancholically desirable. It's also not so tragic as many things in this world. Countless individuals endure tremendous suffering in their lives, and I know that my experiences are not nearly as horrific or heartbreaking as, sadly, so many in this world are.

No. But it is my story. It is incredibly important to me – it has affected nearly every part of my life, my development, my relationships with others, my view of myself, and my perspective of the world.

And I share it with you now. (Read Part I here; read Part II here.)

I beg you, sweet readers, to be gentle. Here I am baring myself to you, heart and soul, in the most terrifyingly vulnerable and fragile way. Be gentle. I have closed comments for the previous segments of this story, but am opening them here. Feel free to share your own story, part of your story, or gentle comments. If you would like to contact me privately, you can write me either here – it can be anonymous, but do leave your email address if you'd like a response – or email me at mypeacetree2 (at) If you have nothing kind to say, please quietly continue with your day and refrain from sharing your thoughts.

A small note: I have included a "jump break" in this post; this means that if you do not want or are not prepared to read a story about heartbreak, damaging mind games, emotional abuse, and depression, please skip this post and find other material to read for the day. If you are willing, please click "read more" below.

* * *

Being pulled down into the darkness of hopelessness and powerlessness again after years of struggling to free myself of it was almost more than I could bear. I was criticized for being rude and for not accepting the situation as it was, for not simply being happy for my mother.

More messages, some spoken and some unspoken, bombarded me: you are selfish. You are tearing our family apart. You are dramatic, childish, breaking your mother's heart. How you feel is unimportant; make everyone else happy and feign happiness, too. Be like your brother. T (my mother's fiancé) is more important than you. You are ungrateful. Aren't you over this already?!

What my mama and T didn't understand was that I was doing the very best that I ever possibly could.

Last summer was one of the most difficult times I have ever experienced. When my friend took her own life in April of 2011, I was deeply, deeply sad for her, her husband, and her family. And yet, in a darkly secret way, I was also envious that she was released from whatever burdens she had borne, free at last to experience peace. My hope for happiness and relief from a hard, draining emotional battle had all but disappeared. 

Somehow, last autumn, I was able to communicate to my mother just how close I was to giving up this fight. After weeks of endless tears and painful attempts to express just how extreme my suffering was, with my permission (well, truthfully, my begging) she made a call to a lovely therapist who, really, saved my life. That gesture from my mama – loving, nurturing, concerned for my wellbeing – meant more to me than she could ever know.

Speaking my truth to someone who listened without judgment, who was truly on my side, objectively putting together all the dark and difficult struggles in my life, was such a powerful experience. I for the first time was able to tell my whole story – every last horrible bit of it. I didn't feel like I was being judged or blamed. I felt heard. I felt like my story was important, finally, to someone other than just me. And when in one session she gave me a slip of paper with just two words written on it, I burst into tears. She made me say read it aloud: I matter.

After careful discussion with therapists and a psychiatrist, my mama, and my sweet boyfriend, I decided to supplement my journey to healing in medically as well as a therapeutically. I have been on anti-depressants for six months now. And, my darlings, I can't tell you what a relief it has been. I am so incredibly grateful the magic they have performed in my body and my mind: I no longer feel a heavy weight on my shoulders and desperation and darkness hanging over my head. My mind no longer races, filled with frightening, anxious thoughts. My relationship with my mama is blossoming into something I always dreamed of (thanks in part to my soon-to-be stepsister and my own courage in sharing honestly with her). My defensiveness against T has softened. I can finally see just how happy my dear mama is, and I am beaming with happiness for her.

For the first time in my life, I am not overwhelmed with a depression that buries my ability to live and to live well. My word of 2011, honesty, was chosen for a purpose, and I do think that it helped me focus on breaking past the walls of silence and summon the courage to share my story, first with my family, then my therapist, my friends, and, finally, my blog. More incredibly, this post inspired a long conversation with my dad, where I shared all of my painful truth in no uncertain terms. I have every hope that this leads to further healing and growth, and the rebuilding of a healthy relationship with him.

Sharing my story with the world has been so healing. While the beginning – the 'publish' button – was terrifying, I arrive at the end confident and proud At long last I am able to release the incredibly deep pain that I have bottled inside for so very, very long. I remind myself again and again that I am not at fault; that there is nothing to be ashamed of; that people love me and want the best for me, if only I can have the courage to give them the chance to show it. And so begins a new chapter in my life, one where I can, instead of drowning in the past, look ahead to the future. Of course there is so much more healing to do – deep wounds do not disappear without time, patience, and continual tender care – but I have overcome what I hope is the most difficult part of this journey. I have finally reached the light, gulping sweet air after drowning in despair. I have, at last, found hope.

* * *

And there you have it, my loves. The big dark secrets that have been burdening my soul for a lifetime. Feelings so deep and painful that every day was a struggle. Loneliness. Anger. Frustration. Feeling unwanted, hated, and unloveable beyond imagination, a mistake in every way conceivable.

If you are struggling with these same feelings and battling against the same dark thoughts, no matter what has caused them, darling: I know your pain.

My sweet friend, you are not alone.
You are never alone.

Your story is your truth, and no one can ever take it away from you. You are stronger that you could ever dream, and I so admire your courage and resilience in a terrifying experience. Keep fighting, love. Be gentle with yourself and above all, be safe. Know you are not alone. And when you are ready, tell your story. Share it with the world. Release it and be empowered.

I am so very proud of you.
All my love.

A little side note – I am especially indebted to my brother and my unspeakably wonderful boyfriend A, both of whom have been my rocks and pillars of support through this long struggle. I love them both deeply and will be grateful to them forever.

Resources and links:
If you have any more suggestions, please leave them in the comments or email me and I will add them here.


Dawn said...

Hmmm...i am SO GLAD you opened your blog to posts. I have many thoughts on this, but I just wanted to quickly say that you are so. B R A V E!! I know it took deep desperation for you to get help, but you did it and took (still taking) the courage to heal. I know how hard that is. I need to process this....but i've waited in anticipation for every new post on your story. THank you.

Erica said...

I had no idea you were going through such a trying time at the same time I was suffering. Unfortunately, therapy did not help me like it helped you but I found solace within myself. And today, like you, I am okay. I am so glad you are the beautiful strong and brace person you are. You are an inspiration to the world!

iHanna said...

Thank you Ingrid for being online and sharing your beautiful light with the world. I've read the 3 parts of your story and I am amazed at how beautiful and bright you are after growing up in the darkness you describe. I was worried last summer about you, but now I see that you are on a good track.

Take care of yourself!

Brandi {not your average ordinary} said...

Ingrid, you are such an incredible woman. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have been in those dark places too, places filled with anxiety, fear, sadness, and hopelessness. I'm so glad you found your way out (I'm glad we both did), and while I'm sure there are still days that will be struggles, your life is beautiful and it is always worth the fight when you fight for yourself.

Delhibound said...

bravo, you beautiful, gorgeous girl who DOES matter!

Daisy Yellow said...

Ingrid, Thank you for sharing your story. I had no idea of the depth of your sadness. You have a gift of communicating overflowing love and warmth to those who visit My Peacetree. I enjoy your words, your photography, your creativity and your art. You are a unique ray of sunlight in the world. Wishing you continued strength.


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