This is a Guest Post by Kandy Christensen who came into my life six years ago, first from a far when she was in the audience for the original Fear Experiment℠ to cheer on her friend and second from a near aka my living room when she came over for my vision board event. And she’s never left.
It’s been a complete joy to see her journey, from the nervous, shrinking, unsure person who sat on one of my folding chairs to the fierce, overflowing, unsure but in a “I’m taking leap after leap and I’m not sure if they’re the right leaps but I’m leaping nonetheless” way person.
I had no idea her story.
I was already inspired by Kandy but then after I witnessed her find and use her voice… Girl, you are a gift.
photo credit Dorey Kronick
By the time I was 27 I had been sexually abused by my step-father, raped by my boyfriend’s college roommate and in a car accident that almost lead to the amputation of my leg.
I don’t say these things to shock, or because I want people to take pity on me, but to show that there is a path through the darkest night.
Today I have a beautiful life and I’m building an interior design business so I can spend my days doing what I love. I’m continuously amazed at how loving and supportive the community that surrounds me is, especially since I’m such an introvert (and a prickly one at that!).
I think I’ve made it through all life has hurled at me through a combination of grit and the people in my life. The hardest thing I think I’ve ever done is to reach out for help when I wasn’t capable of going through it alone.
I’m not going to lie because the sexual abuse and rape have had a lasting impact on me. I failed out of college because I would run into my rapist on campus, gained almost 100 pounds, was suicidal and severely depressed, spent about 5 years of my life drifting aimlessly and I still suffer to this day from PTSD.
My life has been irrevocably changed. I’ve always felt like I am years behind where I should be in life. While all of my friends graduated and started jobs I was struggling and it took years to get back on my feet.
Dating is hell for me for so many reasons. It is really challenging opening up and being intimate with someone. It is especially difficult because I have to tell the person what happened to me because if I don’t then chances are I’ll have flashbacks.
Was my life ruined, no, but it has been an uphill battle to get to where I am today. I’m happy and healthy, but still plagued with the memories of all I’ve been through. Depression still rears its ugly head and being an introvert doesn’t help with the fact that I’d rather be a hermit, but the people in my life know when to drag me out of the house or when to come over and just sit with me.
5 years ago I had lost my job. I went to an event at Mac & Cheese and I’m so grateful I did. I didn’t just meet people, I found my people and I’m so glad I did.
If you need some help reach out to a trusted friend or someone in your community. If you know someone who is struggling just sit with them and let them know you are there.