Petra Velzeboer considered taking her life. But then, she engaged in a one-year personal experiment that led to a life she is proud to live.
Petra Velzeboer was raised in the Children of God cult. By the time she left, she was an adult with no formal education.
As she entered life outside the cult, her life was complicated. She was a mom, stuck at home with two children, unable to work. She learned to avoid, distract, and numb herself with alcohol.
Then she hit rock bottom.
She awoke one morning. Petra wanted to end her life. “I thought if I just disappeared then all the pain would disappear too,” she says. But then, she made a choice. “I put off ending my life for one year. I decided to spend that year observing, researching, and imitating what seemed to be working for others.”
She didn’t know where to start. “I had 2 young children, barely any education and a childhood that did not prepare me for life in the real world.” Her first step was admitting to herself and the people around her that she needed help.
She gave up alcohol. That was a good step toward regaining control of her life. Unfortunately, it also left her feeling raw. She struggled to deal with her pain.
Over the next year, one day at a time, one decision at a time, she built her resilience. “I experienced moments of happiness and true connection,” she says, “which helped me want to live.” At the end of her one-year experiment, she no longer wanted to end her life.
“Since then I have worked with people from all over the globe. I help them to empower themselves and others to improve their mental health.”
Her podcast, Adversity to Advantage, explores stories from people who have succeeded in the face of adversity. She just published her 130th episode.
Today, she is a Mental Health consultant, psychotherapist, and coach. She works with individuals and businesses looking to improve their mental health to sustain success.
In this episode of Thrive. Connect. Contribute, we discuss:
- The role of hope in building resilience.
- The importance of empathy and human connect.
- Growth Mindset.
- The importance of acceptance.
- Finding meaning in every situation.
- And the importance of right-sizing problems.