About This Blog

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As a teenager, I was one of those student-athlete-volunteer-homecoming queen-class president types from a waspy suburban Philadelphia high school, who shipped off to an Ivy League college with a forecast for a bright future. (In the photo above I’m giving my high school graduation speech.)

Soon after starting college, despite being in the best shape of my life playing on a Division I field hockey team, I experienced clinical depression for the first time and began wrestling with physical health issues, both harbingers of the formidable number of stigmatized challenges that would radically derail my adulthood, like chronic urogynecological pain and more than a handful of other quality-of-life-reducing chronic health issues stemming from early childhood medical problems, continued depression and anxiety, losing a brother to suicide, facing childhood sexual trauma, not being able to have children, and losing my mom to cancer.

The sum total of these losses, especially living with difficult physical symptoms on a daily basis, regularly brings me to the farthest edge of my endurance, requiring a constant recalibration of my adolescent definition of success, which had always meant a meaningful career, marriage, children, travel, and good health. Now at mid-life, my health has cost me these dreams.

But my dogged, unrelenting quest for peace and healing persists, even when I don’t know where the stamina is coming from. Part of that healing is to write personal stories about taboo topics because struggling silently keeps us all unwell, and writing is how I reclaim my power, strength, and leadership. Most importantly, speaking up is my anti-shame activism, to companion, inspire, and lend hope to people who are still suffering alone with stigmatized issues, and to expand our narrow cultural definition of what it means to be a strong but vulnerable human being.

On August 17, 2007, I lost my brother, and best friend, Jeff, to suicide. He was the kindest, smartest, funniest person I knew, and my most cherished confidante. For the thirty-four years I was lucky enough to overlap with him in this world, Jeff was my biggest fan, urging me to never stop mining for the power, health, and vitality that he knew lived inside me. He believed that my long fight for healing was an inspiring story, worth sharing.

Because my stories and life are filled with an excess of heartache and loss, I’ve often thought I shouldn’t write until I have a happy ending to balance the intensity. A friend recently pointed out that the so-called happy ending may be that I wake up each day, and despite enormous hurdles, I stay in the race, and keep searching.

By revealing my truths, my hope is that it will inspire and embolden you to share yours with people you love and trust. And in doing so, you begin to break the isolation that is endemic to deep, chronic struggle.

To all you gutsy, beautiful, complicated humans, especially those of you fighting hard, long invisible battles, I’m with you, and rooting as hard for you as I am for me.

(I’m a sporadic poster, so the easiest way to follow this blog is by email subscription.)

Love,
Kyle

P.S. You may see references to Laughing in Traffic in the comments on this blog. That was the former name of Gutsy Beautiful Complicated.

Me and my brother Jeff


32 thoughts on “About This Blog

  1. Kyle, I love the pictures. I really think people will connect with this as these are issues almost everyone faces in some form or another over the course of their lives. Thanks for putting yourself out there
    chuck

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  2. Thanks for sharing Kyle! I miss you!!! If i can figure out how to sign up for a blog, yours will be the first that i sign up for! Amy

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  3. Holy shit. You have no idea how much this blog means to me. I have suffered from clinical depression for (at least) 8 years. It's a daily -no, hourly- struggle that exists in complete darkness. I wonder how many of my friends & family know that I suffer from a real disease, take a shitload of pills and go to more therapy than Woody Allen. The isolation & stigma is horrendous. I've often thought about starting a blog like you have, just saying fuck it to social taboos, but like you said, the fear is paralyzing. Well, not anymore for you! This is all to say … THANK YOU. I look forward to waking up tomorrow to read more. And please do tell us more about Jeff. I'm excited to meet him.

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  4. Kyle, I'm just so moved by the important themes, your writing, the wrestling and the hope–I'll be following along, and living the struggle with you. Thanks.

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  5. This is wonderful. Thank you for bringing depression into the sunlight to join our conversation, as it were… So many of us have personal or familial stories that we haven't felt we could tell for so long… My ex-husband (my children's father) committed suicide August 2008. That, too is a much-avoided topic. Suicide sucks– literally: it sucks energy and joy and possibilities and replaces them with sadness and confusion and with so many unanswered questions… I look forward to reading about Jeff and about whatever you decide to share about his suicide and its aftermath. Good luck with wherever this ends up going. It's already a good thing! 🙂

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  6. omg! sneaking kisses in the Wayne Elementary School log cabin, i guess it was a right of passage :)…what memories! kudos to you for doing this, it takes boatloads of courage and as someone who has had similar struggles (and experiences in the log cabin), my hat is off to you!

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  7. How courageous of you to make this commitment to yourself and to take the scary leap of sharing it with others. I hope that it helps you and others.

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  8. Kyle, thanks for sharing this with all of us. I love hearing your voice and your honesty and your sass. Thanks for changing the perspective around and shouting it out loud. Keep your words coming–I'm inspired by them! Love, Ali

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  9. I'm a friend of a friend. Looking forward to being a spectator of your ride, and appling it to my life as I can. We all have bouts of depression in varying amounts, and it is always good to have more tools in our toolbags when we need to get out of a funk. You go girl! We'll be watching and hoping for the best.

    Diane

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  10. Kyle – bravo! I celebrate your milestone and courage. I can relate in my own way to some of the things you've shared. I look forward to your blog. And I am a sucker for a last minute move or dinner invitation so add me to your speed dial. – lily weitzman

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  11. Dear good birds, thank you for these incredibly supportive comments – they will help me keep at it, for sure! And to those who refer to your own depression, thank YOU for speaking up. And to those who mention wanting to know more about my brother Jeff, and to get to know him, well that's about the kindest thing anyone can invite me to do. And I will – he is a man worth knowing!

    Thanks so much for your company.

    Love,
    Kyle

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  12. Kyle I am so moved. I am proud of you! I can relate so much with your process. When you emancipate yourself you emancipate others, Thank You.

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  13. “May this be the year we learn how to laugh while sitting in traffic, no matter where it's blocking us from going, or how late we are in getting there. There might be a treasure hidden deep inside the delay.”
    I love how you put words to this, and many more difficult realities…I think you're choosing a window on experience that will open up the view for lots of us. Already has. I'm happier, just being a part of this. And touched by your courage , in popping the privacy bubble and coming out as a revolutionary chick! marilyn

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  14. hi kyle,

    i don't know you. i saw a link to this blog from a mutual friend. i just recently found the courage to admit that i suffer from some form of depression, after years and years of struggling with my career and life in general. i went to my first therapy session last week. i can't tell you how thrilled i am to discover this blog. i am terrified about what the future holds for me and do not want to live in that space any more so i am REALLY looking forward to reading, and hopefully contributing to the wonderful blog as i too start my journey to joy!!!

    thank you so much for this service!

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  15. Kyle,
    As someone who grew up right along side you as classmates I feel as though my eyes have been opened up to you for the first time. Thank you for sharing your personal journey of growth and enlightenment. The path to self discovery is never an easy one but always a rewarding one! Be proud of yourself and be gentle with yourself! You are truly a beautiful spirit and I look forward to following your journey and learning from you along the way. I am giggling a little bit right now because as a teen, you were the one I was most envious of. I guess we Never really know the impact we have on people unless they tell us. So, I am
    telling you now…you were always inspiring!
    Would love to get together for dinner when I am in Boston later this month if you
    have time. It would be great to reconnect with an old friend!

    Many blessings to you!
    Love,
    Amiee Ingram-Kelly

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  16. Thank you for speaking out about depression. It is a dark and lonely disease, I was without treatment for many years myself. Thank you for striving to rise above it, and thank you for informing and helping others on your journey.

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  17. Thank you so much for your continued comments. They mean more than you can imagine. When I get really scared to post something, I remember you telling me that in some way, this process is serving you. That's why I'll keep doing it.

    Love,
    Kyle

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  18. Wow – Kyle – I'm beyond words – you need to find a publisher – because this (and I've only read this first piece) is the makings of a book – a book that would be read and re-read ! Thank you for putting yourself out there – you connected – believe this – you CONNECTED!

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  19. So refreshing to find someone in your age group who discovered what it took me until I was in my late 50's to find. I applaud you.

    I've dedicated my career and blog to staying positive, laughing a lot and ways to process the negative safely, quickly so we don't get stuck in traffic.

    sending you love and blessings. YOU GO GIRL!

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  20. I just wanted to put in a little thing.
    I was 41 before I got married. I'm so happy that I didn't settle.
    If it had taken me until I was 70 to meet this man, it would have been worth the wait.

    No we don't have any children. However, we are on the journey to become licensed foster parents.

    So yes, it may be late, but things are coming together.

    Hang in there. Life may be giving us a different path than we originally thought, so I'm just learning to look at things a little differently.

    wendy

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  21. Wow Kyle. You are an amazing and powerful writer! Your commitment to contentment without qualification – and to such authenticity and open heartedness really took my breath away. I can feel your powerful energy and commitment – to yourself, to life – from here and I'm rooting for you – and grateful that you're sharing your journey. Much love, Lorraine

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