I have learned the importance of navigating through life with good choices that are consistent with my values. I have come to know that my life and my pain have put me in a position where I can help others. Wise people before me have said “I can only keep what I have by passing it on”. I hope my story can plant a seed in you so that you can succeed in your own life.
My life was never about living, but about surviving. Because of the insecurity, violence, and fear I felt as a child, I thought there was something wrong with me. I thought I had to change so that I would get the love and security all children need and deserve. Therefore, I adapted to my surroundings as I thought my parents wanted me to. I validated myself by confirmations from others. I developed several unhealthy survival traits. I became addicted to excitement, and the only perfection was good enough. To protect myself, I sought confirmation and tried to please everyone, even though this led to me losing my identity along the way.
I became afraid of other people and people with authority. I felt guilty when I stood up for myself, and I was terrified of being rejected or abandoned. I became more and more self-destructive and depressed. The way I treated myself eventually manifested itself painfully in my body. I was in and out of hospitals and met with several interdisciplinary therapists, for MRI and X-rays. They never found anything wrong with me, which was very painful and frustrating. I was lost and unhappy. The psychologist diagnosed me as bipolar and I remember how good it was to find a reason for my depressions and ups and downs. It felt good to be seen and heard, but I was not ready to take responsibility yet.
The escape from my feelings continued with intoxication and alcohol abuse. I remember the first time I tried drugs. It felt like coming home. For the first time in my life, I could let go, and I felt a sense of power and security that I had never felt before. I thought I was invincible. These powerful emotions combined with the lack of thinking about consequences quickly led to the disease of drug addiction. Within a year I lost my apartment, my car went up for foreclosure, my business was filed for bankruptcy and I was left with a huge debt.
It took 11 years before I was diagnosed with a rheumatic disorder (Ankylosing spondylitis) and 12 years filled with drugs and alcohol before I finally reached my bottom and ended up in a twelve-step treatment.
You don’t know where the path takes you until you’ve walked it, but you have to start somewhere. I realized that I couldn’t fix myself and that I couldn’t do it alone. I had to ask for help and learn to live again. I have relived the feelings from my childhood so that I can become the person that I was born to be, and express what I wasn’t able to express. I found my own identity, values, honor, and principles that I strive to live by today.
On January 14, 2020, I celebrated 5 years of drug and alcohol-free time. At the same time as I have worked to become the person that I dream to be, a calling awoke inside of me of what my passion is, and what I want to do.
In March of 2015, I was lying desperately and motionless on the couch while trying to find a solution to relieve the pain I had in my body. That was when I came up with the idea that would change my life completely.
The only thing that changed my experience of pain was lying on a mat with spikes (shakti mat). I wanted to use the mat in a way that could be combined with activity. I cut it up and made a band with spikes that pressed on my lower back. This is where the name Zpikes first appeared. It was amazing how the tension in my body let go, and I was able to move in a way that I couldn’t even during my best days. I went ahead and applied for the first patent. I was denied the application but noticed in the answer that they had not found “tape with spikes” in their search. I had mentioned tape with spikes in a sub-sentence in the patent application, and thank God for that. I applied again and got the patent! One thing is the feeling, the hope, and the belief that this will one day make a difference in other people’s lives. Another is to actually read the feedback from people who have had their lives changed completely because of ZpikesTape. That is so powerful and hard to describe in words.
I look at life as a school where I teach myself how to best navigate the future. There is no such thing as a mistake or defeat unless you make the same mistake over and over again.
You have your way in life and I have mine. You have no idea what will happen around the next corner, but as long as you make good choices for yourself, good things will happen. That’s what’s so beautiful about this world. I refuse to accept that a person will not succeed if they follow their passion. To my wonderful team and supporters, thank you so much. You know who you are. I would have never made it without you. You are a part of me as I am a part of you. Let us continue to make good choices so that people around the world can have the opportunity to try the product that does what none of us thought was possible.
It was the pain that showed me the way!