My world was changing in every sense of the phrase. At the age of 12, I was moving from the Ukraine to Canada. I was leaving all of my friends and family as well as everything that I had known since the day I was born. I was going to be alone, an outsider; I was going to be the immigrant in all of my classes. If the life changes experienced through adolescence weren’t grueling enough, now, I had to cope with moving to an entirely foreign place with nothing but my parents and a suitcase.
I had an incredibly difficult time adapting to my new environment and my new life. I was immersed in a culture completely unknown to me. It wasn’t easy making new friends; especially when your first languages differ from one another. I yearned for the company of my friends and extended family back home.
At the age of 14, my world came crashing down; my parents were divorcing. My father’s alcoholism became so dangerous that it was unbearable for my mother. After the divorce, my mom suffered from severe depression. It was debilitating and as a result, she couldn’t work any longer and went on disability. I lost my father to the bottle and I lost my mother to her own despair.
I couldn’t believe that my family was ripped apart and it was entirely my fault. I couldn’t help either of my parents. My father was more focused on his next drink than spending time with his only daughter. I couldn’t save him no matter how much I tried. My mother was too miserable to get out of bed let alone make me lunch for school or take care of me in any way. I thought that I was the reason my father drank, for my mom’s depression and for my parents’ divorce. I blamed myself for everything and I just couldn’t cope with life anymore.
I tried to hide my pain with the drugs I started using, find comfort in dating any guy that gave me the slightest bit of attention, almost dropped out of school and when that wasn’t enough, I started cutting myself. I released the emotions that I couldn’t cope with through my promiscuous and destructive behaviors. Since I couldn’t be there for my parents and they weren’t there for me, I felt alone and couldn’t find a reason to live anymore. My depression worsened and I tried to take my own life… twice.
It was after my second suicide attempt that my Aunt Anna came and rescued me (my mother didn’t even care). My dear Aunt Anna took me to see a psychologist; this was the turning point in my life. Six months into therapy, I had completely changed my perception of myself as well as my self-esteem. I started realizing my own self-worth and valuing all that I had to offer myself as well as others. I went from blaming myself for my parents’ failures to accepting none of them were my fault or even in my control. I was becoming a new person that was discovering my own intelligence and even, my own talents.
Seven years later, I am happily married to a guy who loves and adores me. I know my marriage can and will be different from my parents’ disastrous one. Last year, I graduated college with degree in Kinesiology and got accepted to medical school at McMaster University. I’m an aspiring psychiatrist with a desire to help troubled children inspired through my own personal journey of change.
Photo by Victor Bezrukov
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21 thoughts on “It Was Never My Fault: My Personal Journey from Blame to Acceptance”
So happy you are with us Olga. Owning it all is perhaps the most difficult thing in the world. Sometimes we have no clue in hell why life falls apart in these manners. Karma from a past life? Who knows, but really we just need to own it.
Own it by saying that this happened to me, and I can blame, and be powerless, and own it, and be powerful, and free. I go with 2 no matter what happens in my life because I want to live from the inside out.
Thanks for sharing your powerful story with us.
Thanks so much for this inspiring story, Olga. Hopefully you will be able to forgive your parents in time. As much as you suffered and were the victim of their neglect and ignorance, all that they did and didn’t do that harmed you came out of suffering, and most probably suffering that goes generations back. I’m sure you will redeem them one day by raising your own children with love and careful attention. God bless.
Thank you Alex. I don’t hold grudges against my parents. One important lesson that my therapist taught me was that we should judge people by their strengths rather than weaknesses. My father has another family now and moved back to Ukraine… Josh and I are doing our best trying to help my mom get her life back.
Olga, thank you for sharing your moving and personal story.
It is great to see someone blossoming under self-awareness and increased feelings of self worth. It is great to see that you have come out on the other side of your personal issues a stronger, better and more confident person. Kudo’s
Wow, thank you for sharing this deeply moving and redemptive story. Wonderful that you were able to turn your whole self perception right around.
One thing that stood out for me was the amazing benefit if having one person who can see you and cares enough to help. My father had an entirely different but also very destructive homelife, and it was his Nan, with home he spent many school holidays, who kept him from complete breakdown. Sometimes all it takes is one person to help you rise up, and give you the space to figure things out for yourself.
This was one moving story, Olga! When I was 17, my father told me something I had never heard before, and certainly didn’t live. He said, “whatever you feel, it’s OK.” I had always believed some emotions weren’t permitted, and from that moment a chain of events started that liberated me…physically, emotionally, even financially.
Part of me wants to say I’m sorry for everything you had to go through, yet I am certain you wouldn’t be the strong, happy woman you became if you hadn’t. I bet you don’t live with that regret either. I bet you’ll be a great doctor.
Much Love and Respect,
Wish you best of luck for the rest of your life Olga :)
Olga, thank you for sharing your story and most importantly for choosing change.
We all have something to learn from those that have overcome and in your story is hope for those that are still struggling.
I can feel the strength and the power that comes with acceptance in your words.
To even more positive change! :-)
Thank you so much for your nice words and support! God bless you!
Olga, this was such a moving story. Thank you for sharing your experience with us! God Bless!
Thank you for sharing your story, Olga! It makes me so sad when I think of all the children who take on the troubles of the adults in their world – assuming the problems are their own fault. Your Aunt Anna sounds like an angel in your life. I’m truly grateful for the same good souls I’ve known who have appeared to help me at just the right time. Good luck in medical school! I think you will make a wonderful psychiatrist!
Thank you so much for sharing this inspirational story, Olga. My father was also an alcoholic, abused my mother, and when he died my mother took me to join a cult. I don’t know if the process of fully reclaiming yourself from something that happened when you were just a vulnerable child is ever completely finished. I don’t say that in a bitter way, but there are some things that people who suffer this kind of early trauma just can’t take for granted the way some others can. If you had to name the one thing your psychiatrist told you or helped you realize that made the biggest impact for you in your healing, what do you think that would be? I hope you don’t mind my asking.
Thank you for sharing this story. My mother was an alcoholic and my father had many affairs and belted my mum, I did hate both of them for this, but i have come to accept that I was only beating my self up inside. They both had a sh!t life and my life was not going to be up set by them. This is my life. I am happily married with 4 beautiful boys who I treat with love, caring and outstanding.Live for today,not yesterday, that’s my motto.
Olga, very moving story. Although Anna played a great part in your turning around, the success has to be that her effort coupled with your desire to change for the better. Zig Ziglar talked about the power of the made up mind which is very powerful. I also grew up in challenging circumstances. I have never met my father who passed away early and my mom never remarried. I was surrounded by street gangs and drugs but i decided to be different at an early age. Today, I am thankful that I can raise my family in totally different circumstances. From where I came from, your story resonates with me. Wish you all the best.
Congratulations on your transformation. You will make an excellent psychiatrist given your cathartic experiences and your incredible courage.
More power to you. All the best
very happy that your mind is in a better place now. Life begins again every time we inhale :-)
Very brave of you to share this, Olga! I can relate with your story when it comes to self-destructive behaviors, and one thing I know for sure is that a person comes out stronger and wiser after such experiences! It’s hard to actually help others if you haven’t been through the struggle yourself.
Beautiful story Olga! So happy you sought help and reversed the spiral of you life. Good luck with everything.
Olga, thank you for sharing this! I went through a tumultuous adolescence as well; depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, self harming. I never even made it through school. I got through the worst of it with therapy and medication. Years later I was diagnosed with ADHD, and peices finally came together. Recovery was a long and circuitous journey for me, but I’m now a Registered Nurse and a mother of two. I was also drawn to psychiatry because of my experiences. I’m sure you’ll make a wonderful, compassionate provider!
it is so true Olga, we have the ability to blame, or to take responsibility for what we can do differently. Self care is fundamental to the healing process as it gives the opportunity to feel all of your feelings, to accept them and not deny them or self medicate. As you know, when you can feel them, you have an opportunity to heal.
Olga, thank you for sharing your story. It is truly inspirational. I too have a family history of depression, but also OCD. I suffer from depression and the OCD manifests itself as obsessive thinking. I have had a harder time overcoming, but your story is an inspiration. Thank you.