I Nearly Died By Suicide. Here’s How I Turned My Life Around

I Nearly Died By Suicide. Here's How I Radically Turned My Life Around, purpose, life coach, wayfinder, Kristi Amdahl

Welcome to the second episode of the Wayfinder Diaries podcast! In this episode, we’re exploring how taking ownership of our lives works and how it transformed my life. Just a quick note that if you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to my podcast and/or YouTube channel and consider leaving me a review. Also, please like the video! Doing these things helps the algorithm so that it can reach a wider audience. Thank you! 

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About this episode

*Trigger warning*

Do you ever feel like you’re not in the driver’s seat of your life? That things keep happening to you? This is what the first 20 years of my life were like. In fact, I suffered from depression for a decade during my formative years.

In this episode, I share with you what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. The depression, the suicidal ideations and attempts. How I nearly died and how there were more rock bottoms even after that. And, most importantly, what happened that led me to turn my life around.

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Transcript

0:02
Hi, my name is Kristi Amdahl, and I am the host of the Wayfinder diaries Podcast. I’m also a life coach, a blogger and a Soul Seeker. This podcast is for anyone who prioritizes living from a place of integrity, regardless of the personal cost. Its format my sisters who know that they were put on this earth for a reason, even if they don’t yet know what that reason is. And it’s for those who are inspired by stories of personal struggle, perseverance, and transformation. This podcast is my platform for sharing the lessons that I’ve learned throughout my own very unconventional life, and for providing an opportunity for others to do the same. If you’d like to learn more about me apply for life coaching, or be a guest in a future episode, please visit my website at Kristi amdahl.com.

Hi, my name is Christie and in this episode, I am going to share with you a story about how I stopped being a victim of my life. Trigger warning, I am gonna be talking about suicide. So please make note of that and stop watching now if that’s not something that you can, can handle hearing about. So I want to start this by going back to July 31 1996. That was my 20th birthday. And I got into a fight with my then boyfriend. It was over something stupid, like he didn’t buy me a birthday present. But he bought a fancy stereo system for his car and I was mad and whatever. So I ended up going out with my girlfriend that night and drinking margaritas and getting pretty hammered on them. Well, this did not contribute very well to reconciling with my boyfriend and we got into an even bigger fight. So that night I went home, things were a mess, I was just not in a good space. And I decided to numb it all by swallowing three bottles of sleeping pills and going to bed. The next morning, my dad, he always checked up on his girls on his way into work in the morning. And so this morning, August 1 1996, he came in my bedroom, and I was passed out unconscious, laying in my own vomit. Or that’s what I’ve been told. So he rushed me to the ER, I’m in the ER, I’m watching very briefly because I’m not lucid at all there was ceiling tiles jumping all around, and then they’re sticking a shoving a tube down my throat and like an IV in my arm and a catheter and you know my privates and I’m hardly feeling any of it like I am so far gone. And then I look over the heart rate monitor. And I know that when I’m looking at is means that I’m in pretty bad shape. And that’s that’s all I remember. That’s all I remember that whole thing was a blur. And I’m just part of this is recounting what other people have told me. So when I finally come to I’m in the ICU and I’m they’ve stabilized me and I had to stay there for a bit. I lost 10 pounds during that whole experience. And for me that was the silver lining while at least I lost some weight, you know, because I always felt fat and ugly and unattractive. So I was released. And that’s a separate story. You know, people wanted to send me to a psychiatric hospital and I refused. And they let me refuse. But shortly thereafter, things kept going downhill from there. That was not my last rock bottom. My It was not my only rock bottom. I had a few others in in the following weeks, or maybe month and a half or whatever the timeframe was. And the last one was when I was one of the last ones I should say was when I was drunk one night watching the movie show girls with a friend. And if you haven’t seen that movie, it’s about this gal who decides to hitchhike to Vegas to be a stripper and then becomes this big fancy show girl. And for whatever reason that night I felt inspired. I am going to go to Vegas. I’m going to be a stripper. This is my calling. Right? Yeah. And so I got home. I packed a backpack with some stripper clothes. I called the club to make sure they were still hiring dancers. And not that I was had much experience in the stripping industry but whatever. I was gonna do this I was gonna make it work. And so then I have my bag ready I called the club and I left my parents a note saying I am hitchhiking to Vegas to be a stripper. Don’t worry, I’ll call you when I get there or something like that. Ice I wandered down the on ramp of at 94 outside of Chicago with my thumb stuck out. I got picked up. I got several rides at night, but one of them was pretty sketchy. I really thought that the guy was going to rape and murder me in the cornfields of Illinois. But instead of raping and murdering me hand me $100 Bill and wish me luck. And that was kind of shocking, but after that experience, I was like, Yeah, I’m not so big on this hitchhiking thing right now. I think I’m gonna use this $100 that this guy gave me to buy a greyhound ticket to Vegas. And so I did that. Well, I called my parents to let them know because now I was sobered my plan wasn’t was starting to come unraveled a little bit was like I don’t know about this anymore. But I was had too much pride to turn around. Plus, I knew I’d be in like major, major trouble if I did. So I call my parents were like, come home, come home. And I’m like, No, I can’t. But don’t worry, I’m not hitchhiking anymore. I’m

gonna take a greyhound. I’m going to get to Vegas that way, so I’m safer. I’ll let you know when I get there. And they’re like, Well, come on. This isn’t cool. It’s not what we’re looking for. So I did promise them to call them from the gray and the next Greyhound stop, which was going to be in Des Moines, Iowa later that day. Get to Des Moines call my parents in the payphone because back in payphone days, no one answers and I’m like, that’s really odd. And then I hung up the phone, I looked up and my dad is like, staring at me from the other side of the Greyhound station was a very long ride home. And it also that Stan also earned me a two week stay at the psychiatric hospital. Now I want to back up for a minute, even further than, you know, that timeframe, just to share with you a little bit about my depression. So I had been depressed for a decade. And when I say I was depressed for a decade, I mean, there were plenty of good moments in that time. It’s not like it was a constant state of depression. But I had, like starting from when I was nine years old. I remember being depressed. And even suicidal. My first suicide attempt was I was either nine or 10 years old. And I swallowed a handful of aspirin. Now, I mean, it wasn’t going to kill me, but I didn’t know that I looked at the bottle of aspirin and I saw the dosage and it was like contact Poison Control immediately if you exceed it. And I’m like, I’m so certainly exceeding, like taking 10 times the amount, right? So in my nine year old head that was, you know, I was legit trying to kill myself. And, you know, I had several instances after that, like when I was a sophomore in high school, I was suicidal. And I was hospitalized for two weeks. for that. I was in therapy for years, beaten up effigies of people who did bad things to me and all that. I had been molested by an older boy in my church youth group when I was younger he wreaked of cigarettes, I remember that. And it was really it was a guy actually that I had a crush on for a period of time. So but it was not consensual. And it really kind of messed with me. I mean, I had a lot of things to be unhappy about. But usually aside from being molested, most of them were like self induced, it was my focus. It was my mindset, like I viewed myself as a victim, crappy things were happening happening to me in my world. I did not feel like I had any control over my life. There were I don’t even know, like, there were a lot of good things and like things that you would think, well, why were you depressed, and I really don’t know. But I had that mindset in me that sort of lent itself to, you know, victimization, depression, just having a negative life experience. I was also very, very empathic I still am. And that I think, played a role into it too. But in terms of my family, you know, I grew up in a middle class family we struggled with, with finances when we were young, but then, you know, both my parents have lots of education and good jobs and like, we had sort of like a quote, unquote, normal upbringing in that respect, that we didn’t have a lot of fighting in my home, either. And, you know, I just I looked back and we had dogs and like, we took care of them and we loved our dogs. And just, I mean, I was on the swim team in high school, I was co captain of that swim team. Like, I don’t really know why I was so miserable, but it was. So that was kind of long winded. Anyway, now I’m in the hospital. I’m in the psychiatric hospital. Again. I’m 20 years old. I just got picked up by my dad and the Greyhound bus station for almost ruining my life yet again. And things you think they can’t really get much more And yet they did. That’s a different story. But

I’m in a psychiatric hospital, and I’m heavily medicated at this point there with mood stabilizing drugs. And my psychiatrist. You know, my psychologist, everyone’s like you have a chemical imbalance in your brain. And we don’t know what’s wrong with you and whatever. But there was a lot of therapy involved. When I was released, I had to keep on doing the therapy, I had to keep on going to my psychiatrist to get my medication, tweaked and all of that, and I was still, I was still a big mess. I hated every minute of it. I was rejecting in my head, I was rejecting things and sometimes even made a game out of it, right. So I’d seen, for example, I’d seen Basic Instinct. And there’s that whole scene when Sharon Stone has been interrogated and in the basement of the police department by a bunch of detectives, and she’s wearing this slinky white dress, and she does this like crossing scene in front of all these male detectives, and she’s not wearing any underwear, right? I recreated that for my psychologist in a session, and I do not think he was impressed. So that’s just I was just like, Screw this, this is I’m making a game of it. That didn’t really do me any favors. But eventually, I did have a good, good session and quotes here with my psychiatrist. And he had told me he was pretty pleased with my progress, and told me that as long as I keep taking my medications, that I could live a somewhat normal life. I’m looking at this guy, like, you have got to be freaking kidding me. I am miserable. This is like a horrible way to live. I don’t have the energy to kill myself right now probably because of all the drugs you have me on. But like, I couldn’t stand I was crawling out of my skin, my life sucked. It still sucked. It was sucking more in some ways than before. I’m like, this is the best prognosis you have to offer for me, or offer me. And so I asked him like, Well, how long do I have to stay medicated for and he said the rest of your life. And that’s what I heard. And I just like, everything, I felt like my whole world came crashing down on me. Whatever little of it was left came crashing down on me like, I didn’t have the energy to kill myself again, or try to kill myself again. I didn’t have the energy to do anything. And yet I couldn’t. I couldn’t imagine continuing on this life in this trajectory for another moment. And I couldn’t imagine doing anything different. Either. It reminds me of in Eat, Pray Love, either the book or the movie. It’s in both of them, where Elizabeth Gilbert is in her marriage. And she’s like sobbing on her bathroom floor. And she’s just like, the only thing worse than stain. And the only thing worse than leaving, right the only thing worse than leaving was staying and the only thing worse than staying was leaving or something like that. And that was exactly what my experience was here except I didn’t, I couldn’t I didn’t know how to change things. I just I felt powerless and trapped and like, completely defeated. So I left his office. And I don’t remember if it was the same day or same hour or like the next day, but it was very shortly thereafter, I heard a voice say you are responsible for your own happiness. I have goosebumps right now just telling you that because this was the most. For some reason, I was able to hear it. I wasn’t stopped reading self help books at the time, unless it was about weight loss or something. And I was not spiritual. And I had rebelled so hard against the religion of my upbringing that I was definitely not religious in any way. And I heard that voice. So I have no idea where it came from. It was sort of like this omnipresent voice, right? It was not just like me thinking in my head. And the only thing I can say is that that happened because I was in such a state I was so I was so defeated. I just there’s nothing left to do, but surrender. Like, I can’t imagine doing anything different. And I can’t imagine staying this way. Like, it was just awful. And so this voice, I heard it, you’re responsible for your own happiness. And that changed my life. It was from that moment on that I decided to stop being a victim of my life. And I took actions because it’s all about the action. I upgraded my job. So I was working at the counter at a donut shop. It was a crappy, really crappy job. And I upgraded to another service job. So now I’m working at Boston Market and I was promoted to shift supervisor pretty quickly. Now I know that might not sound like the greatest job in the world to you. But at that time in my life, that was an upgrade. And then I went back to college. Now I had dropped out of college three times prior to this. I wasn’t a good college student. I

wasn’t a good high school students. I mean, I had the P word potential. I was always told that by my teachers which got me in trouble when my grades sucked But I was never a good student. And sometimes some something changed. Like this time I was hungry, I was never hungry. Before this time I was hungry. And I got on the Dean’s list. That was like holy crap, I suddenly realized that like I could do well, like that was a huge confidence booster. And so then I kept upgrading my life. So then I decided to transfer to the main campus of Purdue University. And I got on the Dean’s list there, too. And then I joined an environmental group, and then I was elected senator for producer produce Student Government. And then when I was Senator for Purdue student government, I sponsored a budget bill that saved the organization, the environmental group that I was in, it was like they needed funding, and they were losing it. And the only way for the organization to survive is if I had been elected and passed a budget bill through my lobbying and everything like that. And I was successful, just barely, but I was. So then I got appointed to be executive director of this environmental group after that. And then that opened up other doors for me, I went to Washington, DC and lobby, several members of Congress in the Clinton administration over force protection, legislation. And there’s all these things, all these doors opened up because I was receptive to them, I changed my mindset instead of being like, when I was, for example, when I was just a member of the environmental group, and we learned that our budget, we weren’t going to have a budget, we weren’t getting getting get the funding for our organization, which would effectively kill it. And most people, in fact, I think everyone else in my organization in this environmental group was like, shoot, that sucks. I guess we’re not going to be here next semester, or whatever. And me, I was like, No, this is not it doesn’t end here. So what do we need to do to save this organization? We need to get funded by Student Government. How do we get funded? We need to pass a budget bill, how do we pass a budget bill? We need someone to sponsor it. Well, who can sponsor it? No one’s willing to, well, how do we get someone willing to do it? Well, we run for office, we get into produce Student Government. Okay, how do I do that? And then I did it. So it was I found the way I made it happen. Now, I’m going to stop that story there. I mean, my there’s, if you’ve been to my website or my blog, you’ve seen that that’s like the beginning of one era of my life, or one era begins and the other ends or whatever. And so there’s a whole lot that happened. After that, that doesn’t necessarily backup everything I’m saying here, well, it does. But it’s like a totally different trajectory. So I’m going to stop there. But now I am going to, like forward, fast forward maybe 25 years, 26 years to the present day. And when I look back on my life, I can see times of suffering, I can see times of triumph. Overall, my life is 100. I mean, 1,000% better than it was, but I still have struggles. And I when I think about it, when I evaluate things, when I look back on those times that I struggle most the times that I was in feelings of despair, which are only a few times but they were there. Those were those. It was in those moments, when I realized that I had gone back reverted to that victim role. Something huge was happening to me in my life. And maybe it wasn’t my fault. Usually, it was like someone else’s issues came into my life. And I got sued once, for example, for custody of my daughter, and then there are other things to that happen. But I felt like a victim when I was in those deep stages of despair, I did not feel empowered. And once I changed that dynamic, I’m like, okay, so I can’t help that someone is suing me right now. And I’m not going to meet their demands, in order to get make it go away. Because that’s just out of my integrity if I do that. But what can I do in this situation? This crappy current situation, what can I do to be empowered to not be a victim. And so I would take actions like, for example, when I was sued I, I started meditating in earnest. That’s when I really, really solidified a meditation practice. And I meditated on forgiveness, and feeling true forgiveness and true compassion and true love for the person who was suing me. And that, that’s another thing that totally changed my life. That’s a separate story. I definitely want to have an episode about that. But it was a mindset thing, like I chose to stop being a victim and to take the actions and power and actions I could take. And in this case, you know, was the meditation on forgiveness thing. And so I guess, I want to share with you that

all of the changes that I made were based on a change in mindset. I made a conscious decision to start viewing the world with a new pair of glasses. Now this was a world of opportunity. Making upgrades How Can I upgrade Did my life what is the lesson to be learned in this struggle? What can I take away from this? How can I make use this to make me a better person to operate more from the heart to operate with more compassion and to be of service to the world in some way, or even just to make my own life better, whatever. And so when you view life from a pair of glasses of opera, like a, if your glasses are those that show opportunities, your life is going to be very different than if you’re viewing it from like, why is this crappy stuff keep happening to me, I’m a victim. Things aren’t fair. And so what I did was I started to seek out the opportunities in difficult situations. So this is beyond upgrading my life. Now, this is about seeing where are there opportunities here. So when I was sued, the opportunity that I was able to uncover is that I could become a more compassionate human, and live in deep integrity, and learn true forgiveness. And that’s, that was the opportunity there, and I did those things. And then I practice gratitude. So what is there to be grateful for, and there is always, always, always something to be grateful for. There always is, even if it’s a beautiful sunset, and that is like in everything else is like, horrible. If there, you know, there’s a sunset, there’s the air you breathe, there’s something there’s always something to be grateful for. And then I would change what I could. So if I could change my job, for example, the donut shop job that sucked, I changed it, I upgraded that, if, you know, I can’t change being sued, unless I’m willing to like, bow down and accept whatever is being sent my way. I couldn’t change that. But I could change how I reacted to it. And so that’s what I did. And I want to just share, I guess, one one statement that Viktor Frankl has made, that, to me is a very powerful statement, I’m gonna have to read it. So my looking down here, but Viktor Frankl was, among other things, a Jewish psycho psychiatrist from Austria during World War Two and the Nazis threw him in a concentration camp. And he lost everything there in the concentration camps. And he witnessed things like horrific things that no one should ever have to witness. But anyway, he chose to view this, he’s he chose to search for the meaning in life and man’s existence. As a result of this, not as a result, but like, that’s how we chose to view his circumstances. And he famously said, everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. Think about that for a moment. This is a man who witnessed executions left and right, whose his family was murdered, was murdered in the concentration camps. And he just like I can’t I can’t even comprehend it makes like all of my stuff look like absolutely nothing. Like he had real problems. This man had real real problems. And yet, that is how he chose to view his life. And that’s probably what saved him what kept him alive and those times. And so if you can do that, what can you do? What can you do to stop being a victim of your life? If you are a victim or to even make your life better? Maybe you’re maybe you’re not a victim, maybe you’re not depressed? Maybe your life is like, Okay, it’s good, it’s good. But what can you do to make it better? How do you take ownership radical ownership of your life? I want to share with you one resource before in this podcast episode, so Byron, Katie, she’s known for what’s being called the work. And it deals with limiting beliefs and basically shatters. Like the negative thoughts and negative beliefs, the limiting beliefs.

It makes you question your assumptions about everything about life. And I’m sure there’s way more eloquent way to state that but like, it’s very, very, very powerful medicine, and it’s best done with somebody else, but like, you can even do it with yourself. And so if you are struggling with limiting beliefs, and if you’re willing to get very uncomfortable with them, for the sake of profound transformation, then I really recommend checking out. Byron Katie. Her book, I believe, that talks about the work is I think it’s called loving what is I think I’m totally spaced in it right now. Anyway. Okay, so that is the end of this episode, I hope you got something out of it. If you are interested in learning more about my story about the backstory about the suicidal stuff, and the craziness and how I turned my life around, please go to my website, Kristi amdahl.com. And then in the blog categories, those are usually categorized as my story posts. Also, if you would love to help, work with work with me, I’m a transformative life coach. To help you overcome your own limiting beliefs to do the work I can do the work with you, on your own limiting beliefs help you change your mindset. If you’re ready to do that, and you are willing to get uncomfortable for the sake of profound personal transformation, please apply for a coaching session on my site as well. And christianbook.com So thank you for allowing me to share my story with you about this. This is just covered up my mic there. This is something that is so dear to my heart, taking ownership of our lives. So I hope you got something out of this that you will take with you and until next time. Bye Thank you for listening to this episode. Please subscribe to my channel and leave a review so that others can find it via the algorithm. If you’d like to learn more about me apply for life coaching, or be a guest on a future episode. Please visit my website at Kristiamdahl.com with peace gratitude and love