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They say fear of death is second only to the fear of public speaking!  For me, depression and thoughts of suicide threatened to erase everything...

My Story!

They say fear of death is second only to the fear of public speaking. For me, depression and thoughts of suicide threatened to erase everything – all of my accomplishments, everything I had achieved and survived. Yet, in the end, it was public speaking that saved my life.

Like many of you, I’m no stranger to hardships in life. But I was always seen as a strong, determined woman.

 

Even after my divorce, I kept my grief inside. No one knew how I felt inside, the frightening feelings, the loneliness, despair, guilt, frustration, anxiety, anger, and devastation. Having to cope with changed financial, living and social circumstances as a single mom. I felt miserable, just wanting to cry at any time, at 3 am in the morning, or mid day, while surrounded by coworkers at the office.

 

And just when I started to pull myself together and regain control over my life, once again, life decided to test me, and hit me with cancer. and I am back on another rollercoaster with distress, disbelief, fear, sadness, anxiety and resentment. I felt confused and numb, unable to know what to think or feel. I felt my life was totally out of control and couldn’t tell what the future held.

 

… Yet, throughout all of this, I showed up as my best self and practiced my role as a mom and a professional. I put on my best image, wore my smile, and held press conferences, public events, and spoke for those who couldn’t speak up and was the voice of the voiceless!.

And when the people of my country rose up for more rights and freedom of speech, I witnessed the crucial response of the government, the crimes committed towards the innocents, women, men, young, elderly and children. I had to stand up and speak against injustice. And as an activist was soon categorized as opposition and became targeted and both the lives of my daughter and mine were threatened.

And once more my life was shattered! This time I had to flee my country, leave my home and everything I ever owned or ever known behind! I felt like my life had been ripped away.. Just like that! As a single mother in a new land, I was fierce in my desire to protect my daughter and give her a safe and loving environment so she could be free and flourish. Re-establishing a home and an identity, while trying to juggle the tasks of daily living, was beyond challenging… and the pain was unceasing.

In New Brunswick, Canada, I was an immigrant starting over from scratch. I carved out my new life like a miner digging for gold in the hardest of rocks with just my ingenuity and the light of hope showing me the way. Soon after I arrived, I was invited to speak on radio and TV about the crisis in my home country, Syria. On the outside, I presented as polished and articulate, but inside I was a 7-year-old.

Terrified of doing a presentation in front of my class for the first time. Just like that first time, I was determined to work through the fear. Soon I was emceeing conferences all over the province, participating in different platforms to present motivational and inspiring speeches. I became the face of immigrants and refugees in the province and spoke on their behalf. Similar to my work in Syria where I advocated for the victims and displaced of the criminal regime, here in Canada, I founded two associations where women like me could be seen, heard, and express their full potential in a supportive and inspiring environment, and immigrant entrepreneurs can plant a seed to grow their prospect businesses in a nourishing environment.

I was at the height of my accomplishments, and life was finally good again. Ironically, that’s when depression flattened me with the force of a rockslide. It happened so quietly and suddenly. I had glimpsed myself in the mirror, and I didn’t see an accomplished, resilient woman who made it through divorce, cancer, war, but a woman choking on the lies that society fed me. Lies that I believed about life having to be hard, and that I was destined to work at jobs that drained me. I had been struggling inside for so long but always made sure to look great as I slid deeper and deeper into the mine pit of depression.

That was the lowest point of my life. By this time, my daughter was 18, and I had created a good life for her and those like me, but I hadn’t given myself time to process all that had happened to me, and my soul was exhausted.

 

There I was at the bottom of this mine shaft, that I had been digging my whole life. The light of hope that had always guided my path was so weak, I could barely see in front of me. There seemed to be only one direction to go now. Thoughts of suicide swirled in my head like coal dust, clouding my vision and obscuring all hope.

 

But then, that young girl who pushed through her fear of speaking in front of the class came to me, and I realized she was my guiding light all these years. She was what lit my path towards a better future for me and my daughter. I reached out to her and embraced her like I had hugged my daughter countless times. Then the magic of childhood flooded my whole being as if the sun had burst through the rockface of depression, and I knew that, no matter what, my life had meaning, and I had so much more to give to myself and to the world.

 

This led me on the path to heal myself and then create a business that helps people who feel a profound disconnect between who they are on the inside and who they present themselves as on the outside.

 

My work with clients starts with deep listening and together we dig down into the real you and let that reflect on the outside like the precious jewels we all are. When this merging of the inner and the outer happens, you move from surviving to thriving with joy and the light of hope guiding you every step of the way.

 
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