GARY - Gary native and self-published author Crystal O'Brien is now a happy, at-peace person, but that was not always the case. There was a time when no matter what she did, she just couldn't get happy and it all stemmed back to her tumultuous upbringing.
O'Brien was the victim of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her own father. It went on for several years from the time she was 12 until she was 15 years-old.
O'Brien, now 29, has overcome a lot and she writes about it in her book "Pretty Raised Ugly, being raised by an abusive father, becoming a teenage mother and battling a period of major depression, during which she turned to drugs and alcohol to try to ease the pain, but those things weren't helping.
She finally came to the resolution that she had to do something different. Because even when she was taking care of her daughter and the business of life, she was still empty.
Unable to keep and maintain any real relationship or concentrate at work, O'Brien realized that she needed to get help.
O'Brien spent about 15 years undergoing several different forms of therapy from Social Workers to Psychiatrists. She said she had her share of therapists who didn't do their job well, but one of them recommended a book to her that helped her make a break thru, "The Courage To Heal."
And then she found "a good therapist," one that really made the healing process begin to click. The therapist helped O'Brien to look at herself and at life in a different light and that came at a time in her life when she needed it the most.
She had come forward about the abuse she was suffering from her father. He was arrested and O'Brien had to go through the court process to get her father convicted.
Crystal was originally told that because she was a minor, she didn't have to face her father in court, that she could record her testimony. But because the incident happened years prior, it turned out that she "would" have to testify against her father in-person. She was terrified.
Crystal's father was brought to the U.S. from the Philippines when he was six years-old after being adopted by her grandmother. He was deported back in 2015 after his prison release.
She tells about her entire ordeal in her book, which by-the-way only took her 7 days to write. Crystal says even though writing it was cathartic, she has figured-out the purpose of the book is really to help other people heal from their life-leveling experiences.
Now life is pretty good for Crystal. She is raising her daughter and has a career as a Human Resources Assistant at Indiana University Northwest. She plans to write other books in the future. More information about "Pretty Raised Ugly" is available here.