This blog has been a blessing to me. I've made several friends and received advice too precious to put a price on, as well as tangible help in the form of the tip jar. For that, I'm eternally grateful. It's been wonderful hearing from others who have been in my situation and come through it healthy and happy.
With all that, it saddens me to note that there have been a few negatives, too. I've wrestled greatly with posting what I'm going to post now because this blog was supposed to be about me and my journey. Surely, my family and their actions were part of my past and continue to be part of my story but I never wanted the focus of the blog to be them. Yet, I feel the need to explain what my father did very recently so that some of you might understand my hesitancy to e-mail back or entertain the numerous offers I've had to share my story in bigger venues (CNN and other news agencies included).
A while back, before Christmas, a woman started e-mailing me. Like many others, she was polite and supportive. She claimed that she'd been in ATI for a few years but that it really hadn't been what she and her husband hoped it would've been. She claimed to have children my age and then sent me information about her views on depression. In hindsight, the depression information was tinged with questionable "data" regarding the origins of depression and giving it a biblical spin. I still assumed she was just trying to help me and thanked her for the advice. After several e-mails, she began asking me questions about my life and my childhood. I trusted her and responded honestly. Her replies were always full of sympathy and she started "guessing" about my family's location and identity. She suggested that she was a person who attended our homechurch very briefly and I recalled the name. I opened up to her.
Then I received a phone call from my father. Over the course of three days, he called sixteen times and let me experience his verbal wrath. He admitted that he and one of my sisters were my "friend" on e-mail. I had opened up to my father and sister. They're very angry about my sharing my story.
So since I know they're reading, I have this to say to them. If you don't like what you're reading here or what I say to others that's too bad. I'm sorry I can't tow the party line and pretend our lives were picture perfect. The fault isn't mine for sharing it- it's yours for having us live that way. If you're proud of how you raised us then you should be proud for me to share it and if you don't like what I'm saying than here's your opportunity to correct what you see as falsehoods. Father, I'm giving you that opportunity. I swear that your comments will be allowed to be seen and never censored. You say what you need to say here and I'll do the same and we'll let the world judge us. I'm not afraid anymore. You don't have to lurk and leave comments with anonymity. Admit you're my father in your comments. I won't out you publicly if you pick a pseudonym and own what you have to say. If you continue to use my sisters against me or do one thing to them because of my blog, I will not hesitate to name names. In your last message to me, you said that I didn't "fully understand the power you hold". I think you are the one who doesn't understand.