I had a little more self doubt on this than I’d like to admit
How I learned what I am Sharing with you – and the world, living it forward.
I want to give you a bit more context of really how I learned what I am going to share with you – and the world, living it forward.And, as always, please add your comment below after you read this and let me know what you went through, what you learned, what is happening in your life. I love to hear from you.You know, if I was going to brighten people’s lives with a practical, no-nonsense approach, I still had (and have) a lot of work to do… but I’m up for it in a big way!If you read the previous posts thoroughly, you may know some of it already. But if you are like me, you may have missed some important points the first time…The most important moment for me growing up, was when – I was a about 16 – I was browsing a library in Germany and an English language book fell in my lap.It was by the humanist psychologist Carl Rogers: “On Becoming a Person“, and I still remember the feeling of longing amazement at reading this title. ““This is what I want to do with my life” I thought.I am still at it today, 44 years or so later.Reading books and learning new things always was a major source of inspiration for me.What are you currently reading?
Let me know in the comments below, if you want to.And I always had a smile on my face.Always pretended that “All was good”.”I had this under control”.Even though deep down I knew that I didn’t. But I was struggling. Sometimes I didn’t even know it myself…And after immigrating to Canada with my two teenage boys, after my first husband’s suicide, I was lonely, in a strange environment.And I was close to ending it all myself. After a near-suicide I was admitted to a local psychiatric hospital. This is the end, I thought. I can’t get any lower. I am such a failure. I’ll never get up again.A sweet nurse helped me to realize that I was acting. I had been a fake all my life. My smile had been completely fake. Deep down, at 38 years old, I still really didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
Without my work, without others validating and loving me, I felt that I was worthless as a human being.So I turned to eating even more.This is a picture of me in 2005, at my highest weight, in the image below.
A fake smile on my face.After the long struggle with Depression and Anxiety and constant emotional eating I was at the end of my rope.“I have to do something” I told myself.I had tried so many diets, made so many New Year’s resolutions, doctors had told me that my sore back would never got better until I lost weight and started exercising.I could hardly remember my previous self: In my previous life, I had been a successful physician in Germany, married to another physician.…Look at me now, I thought sadly. Here I am: obese, in chronic pain, depressed, a wreck. A worthless human being, an utter failure. There was no hope for me, I thought.And then I realized something:“This is not the life I want to live going forward” I said to myselfI want… a brighter future – for myself, my kids (then teenagers), and others.That was the start of a rocky journey to a better life.So I started searching – for help with my depression.But really, I was searching for meaning. For something to make my life – and that of others – worthwhile.Looking back, I realize that all this has been necessary to make me appreciate, hard as it was, that – even though I knew a lot and was very smart (like I was always told ), this doesn’t prevent you at all from experiencing the most human things – the dark night of the soul, struggle, even failure.
The obese woman with the smile on her face on the image below certainly didn’t feel like a success then.I will tell you about the other woman – 11 years later – below.After the first picture was taken, I sat down – exhausted from just getting in and out of the car, tears trickling down my face, and thought, how ridiculous it was that I, as a doctor, a smart woman – couldn’t even help myself.My husband (I will tell you the unlikely story of how we met in a later email) turned to me and said one of the smartest things I heard anyone ever say.Please excuse his language, he is a man – and very direct and down-to-earth…“You know, dear, we all eat the same, we all shit the same”
Think about that for a moment.As I did, I realized 3 things:1. I am no different than any other human being (Although I used to think I was better than others – of my education, money… I WAS WRONG!!!)2. I don’t need to be perfect (I always tried to be – I WAS WRONG AGAIN!)3. If I wanted my world to changefor the better, I – me – had to change – and take responsibility for ALL my actions (good or bad, smart or stupid) and stop complaining. (THIS IS TRUE!!!)If I was to Create a Brighter Future for myself and those I cared about , it was up to me to make this a reality, not to medications, doctors, therapists or anyone else.I actually had to DO the things I needed to do, not just THINK about them – or wish for them (that’s what I used to do…)So my motto became this:
“Stop Dreaming, Start Doing”
And I started to take action.And just like a baby learning to walk, I had to learn to take actions in a better direction than I was used to do (well, really, I had no direction)So I tried to get up, only to fall down again. I started to do and try different things, to take action.Sometimes this turned out to be going in a helpful direction, and sometimes it backfired badly.Some actions were having bad consequences (e.g. losing a lot of money and going in debt for things I really didn’t need, or wasting a LOT time on things that I should have known wouldn’t work, or totally losing focus, and getting sometimes so excited that I tried to do 17 things at once (oops, My brain doesn’t work that way, either))But I went on living forward, trying new things, doing things.Hey, over time I became better at it. I made better choices.I want to say I am perfect now (lol)… Old habits die slow…Right?So, here is the truth:Old sayings are still around – because most of the time, they are true.(And my dear hubby sure reminds me every day that I am not perfect…)So it goes: 2 steps forward, one step back.Well, for me this often meant: 2 steps forward, 1.99 steps back – or sometimes 2.5 steps back, or maybe only 0.5 steps back… (can you tell I like numbers and statistics?)And even these days, to avoid getting discouraged and frustrated with world events, client struggles and personal failures, I still need to remind me often of the good things that I experienced, the happy memories, and how my own struggles led me to the person I am today, that the time spent struggling was not just wasted life time…I am now so much happier, off all medications (except supplements) and when I fall off the bandwagon or slip into my dark space for a few days, I get out much faster.My smile is for real now.Now I’m doing something that I never thought I would be doing. I am living my best life – while helping others do the same.I discovered that true giving to others is only possible when your own cup is filled to the overflow so you can share without losing your spark yourself.It is creating this spark in others eyes that gives my life meaning now. Having been an inpatient in a psychiatric hospital, having gone through the abyss myself, I KNOW how it feels to be stuck deep in the hole.Most physicians and psychologists have never experienced this true despair of life themselves. Fallen and pushed off the pedestal that I was put on by education and society, I became just another human.And it is me now who has the privilege to meet another human being that is suffering, not the other way around.I use my very human experiences now – as a Brain and Mental Health Coach – to connect with my clients on a very different level than most other practitioners who are trying to help people going through the “dark night of the soul”.I love helping people who are just like I was not too long ago.Nobody is born knowing how to navigate through life. Our childhood experiences and life experiences are very different, but we are all humans.Deep down, we are all the same. Remember my husband’s saying?We all can learn from the past, look forward to a brighter future – and LIVE in the HERE and NOW.These days, my eyes sparkle most of the time with excitement and energy.The fact that I could get through this all,from being a total wreck on the floor of a QT room (a locked room with just a mattress and a hole in the ground) in a mental hospitalto re-building my life from the ground upand…
- building a moderately successful coaching business from scratch (twice)
- without much money (actually from having debt and going through bankruptcy)
- being able to publish by now 6 books (and am a multiple #1 bestselling author),
- speaking on stages and online,
- holding webinars, events, podcasts, video, and
- being accepted and delivering first TEDx talk in 2022 (watch out for the video, I will share it with you when it is ready – it will be a good one 😉wink-wink!!)
So the fact that I could do all this from being suicidal, in a mental hospital, diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, major depression and avoidant dependent personality disorder (all reversible, by the way)
This fact only proves to me: YOU CAN DO SIMILAR THINGS!!
Believe me, my dear reader:
The GAP between being hopeless and depressed and dragging myself through life and now truly creating a brighter future for myself and others had years of tears, sweat and hard work in the middle.
It contained so many fears, frustrations and setbacks.
All the medications and psychotherapy alone couldn’t truly give me the tools, accountability and practical tips – to help me transform myself to the person I wanted to become.
So this is why I am now transforming my own business from coaching individuals (which by itself is a very satisfying and great endeavor) to creating a community of “Sparkles”, here and in my Facebook Group.
For you to choose and pick what feels right for you – when it feels right to you.
And to create the most important thing that I missed out on – and that even more people are missing now – a safe, supportive community of like-minded individuals.
Sparkles at heart – like you and me.
🌟#Sparkles 🌟- Sisters and Brothers for Better Mental Health
Let’s Co-Create a Brighter Future – four ourselves, our kids and the world around us.
Brighten Your Day With Gratitude
All we have is this daily sparkle – today. Don’t waste it. use it to the benefit of yourself, of others and the world at large.
This little book with prompts and quotes and directions on how to use it will help.
Get it today as a .pdf for FREE