September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Setting aside this day provides the opportunity for people, across the globe, to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention.
I spent most of my life contemplating suicide. I thought nobody would miss me. I never felt like anyone loved me. Now I realize I didn’t love myself. I didn’t know how. I attempted suicide when I was 9 years old.. Nobody ever knew. I never told anyone.
Looking back at my childhood, I now see I lost my internal power when my mother died from cancer. I felt like my world came crashing down. A part of me died with her. She passed two months before my 13th birthday which was also my Bar-Mitzvah.
My mom was my protector. She cared for me, hugged me, kissed me, and nurtured me.
Because my parents divorced when I was two years old, I primarily lived with my mom. I saw my dad every other weekend. He was rougher around the edges. There was rage, verbal and physical abuse.
My dad constantly told me:
You’ll never amount to anything.
You can’t do anything right.
When my mom died my father didn’t have the tools to help me deal with the grief. He had his own issues. My mom’s parents were also consumed with their own grief, especially my grandmother.
The one thing that was always around for comfort was food. As a child I was a “normal” weight. I was always active and outside playing. But after losing my mom I turned to food for comfort. I quickly gained weight. A few times I was caught eating more than I “should”. I was shamed for it. Soon I was eating in private and I blossomed into a food addict.
By the time I graduated high school, I had tried many diets. I always found success but, as soon as it was over, the weight quickly returned. The problem was I never dealt with the underlying issues.
I remember thinking, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I succeed? Thoughts of not being good enough to keep the weight off, and memories of all the things my dad said about me, confirmed that I was worthless and nobody could ever love me.
With these thoughts as the foundation of my mind, I justified my self-sabotaging habit on a daily basis. Anytime anything happened my reaction was always, “It is my fault” or “I can’t do anything right.”
I constantly battled with self-deprecating thoughts. I needed a way to get these thoughts out of my head. The “noise” was too loud.
I searched and searched for answers. About 20 years ago I found a 12 step program for compulsive eaters. I started the process of doing “soul” work. This was the beginning of my journey to healing. Even though I didn’t keep the weight off, I did begin to heal.
As time went on, I was also able to be honest with myself. I realized I never grieved my mother’s death. And, after my dad passed away, I knew I needed to put the “stuff” with my dad to rest. I made a lot of progress. But, I needed more tools.
In 2017 I first heard about Oola but never explored it. Then I saw Dr. Dave and Dr. Troy at a couple of events. At one event, in St. Cloud, Minnesota, they were part of a panel. People were asking them questions. That night left an impression on me. What stood out was their positive attitude, upbeat personalities, and the love that exuded from both of them. I started following their Facebook Lives. And, when I heard they were launching the Certified Oola Life Coach program, I knew I had to join.
In December 2019 I attended my first OolaPalooza. During the session on Oola Fitness the topic of weight loss came up. Then someone started talking about the scale. I hated the scale. I didn’t even own a scale. But then I heard the scale doesn’t define you. It merely allows you to acknowledge where you are today. This knowledge gives you a starting point, so you know where you need to go. I was so inspired I made a weight loss goal to lose 60 pounds by October 2020.
Later Dr. Troy spoke about the Oola Accelerator Integrity. The thing that smacked me in the face was my habit of self-sabotage and not keeping my word to myself. I don’t struggle keeping my word to others, especially in a work environment. But I truly never thought about the impact of self-sabotage on my life. Why didn’t I keep my word to myself?
After OolaPalooza I felt overwhelmed by some of the goals. It took me until the middle of January to start pursuing them. Then, at a physical, the technician told me how much I weighed. I was horrified. But that was only my starting point. There was no going back.
Immediately I knew I had to give myself daily wins. I had to build daily success to keep myself inspired. In order to beat self-sabotage I needed to build my personal integrity. It was time to reclaim my life and my own internal power.
Unfortunately, at this time, exercise was a challenge. I had major back issues that required surgery. So I concentrated on strengthening my mind.
First, I became honest with myself about my relationship with food. I took a hard look at the food I was eating.
Did it get me closer or further from my goal?
How often was I eating?
Was I using food for fuel or to stuff my emotions?
My course of action became clear: Clean up my food and get serious about intermittent fasting.
I knew that the key in getting my life moving forward was to overcome my food addiction and to stop self-sabotage.
In the beginning it was hard; some days harder than others. I came up with positive affirmations to tell myself:
I am strong.
I am worthy.
I am valuable.
I am loveable.
I took baby steps every single day. When I felt hungry, I became quiet with myself. Then I was able to process the emotions I found there. Sometimes I called a friend or spoke with my husband. By talking things out with people who supported and loved me, I found encouragement to keep going.
Throughout this journey I’ve learned I’m stronger than I ever imagined. The hold that I allowed food to have over me has disappeared. I’ve developed the mental willpower to overcome a 40 year addiction. I can accomplish anything.
Hopelessness and despair have been replaced with hope. I look at myself in the mirror and say, “I’m proud of you!” By the end of May, 2020 I lost 59 pounds. I’m proud of my accomplishment. The feeling I get everyday, by ending self-sabotage and keeping my word to myself, is priceless.
I’m still learning more about myself and how to apply Oola to the other areas of my life. In mid June I had the back surgery and am healing. I’m now able to walk outside which helps to strengthen my mind and body.
No matter where you are in life, no matter what is going on, you can accomplish anything. You are worth it! You are priceless!
I’m so grateful my 9 year old self didn’t succeed his suicide attempt. I truly hope that if you’re feeling hopeless, in despair, and don’t know what to do, you reach out to someone. There is a suicide prevention hotline in the United States: 1-800-273-8255.
You are worth it. Your life matters!