Hello! My name is Stacie. I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother to a beautiful granddaughter. When I’m not working as a buyer for an HVAC company, you can usually find me cooking something up in the kitchen for my family and friends.
Story trigger warnings: mentions of sexual abuse and suicide.
On the outside, I lived in what most people saw as a perfect world – loving family, a lot of friends and a solid religious foundation.
Not many saw the inner struggles I was facing and continued to face on a daily basis. You see, I was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, but that did not fit into my perfect world.
I have struggled with PTSD, depression, and anxiety since I was 5 years old. I attempted suicide several times. I was on countless medications, had a breakdown and was hospitalized back in college, and have been through more therapy sessions than I can count.
My mental health struggles affected every relationship I had. I suffered from flashbacks and had a pattern of abusive relationships for a long time. I had no self-confidence and did not feel worthy of love.
BUT thankfully my story didn’t end there.
I learned about forgiveness. You see, in my situation, I was the one holding myself back from being set free from this seemingly endless cycle.
In my personal faith there is a verse, Ephesians 4:31-32 that states; “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Forgiveness isn’t about making the people who mistreated you feel better.
Forgiveness is about empowering yourself to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life.
Do I still have anxiety attacks? Yes. Do I still have flashbacks? Sometimes, although as time goes by I have fewer and fewer. Do I still suffer from PTSD? Absolutely! I think I might always struggle with this.
BUT I am surrounded by those who make me feel safe and loved. Through the help of mental health professionals, medication, and the forgiveness I have found in my heart, I continue to heal more each day.
Remember, you don’t have to be perfect on the outside! I know I certainly am not, but thankfully I found the strength to forgive and set myself free.
(Important note: not all relationships are safe to continue following forgiveness. Please seek the wisdom and guidance of a professional therapist when considering how to proceed with individuals who have caused you harm.)