My Story

In 1998, my family was torn apart by my parents’ abusive relationship, difficult divorce, and the negligent system. At the time, Russia (where I grew up and lived) was going through a great depression, after the fall of the USSR and restructuring of the economy. There was no food in stores. My mom was laid off from work and my dad wasn’t helping us much. We were completely broke. My brother, mother, and I shared a small piece of cheese for breakfast for the entire week. My aunt Tatyana helped us financially and I am forever grateful to her. I am also grateful to my mom for getting us through this incredible hardship.

I was in deep pain. As a young teenage girl, I had no father, no food, no stability, no financial security, as the country and the system were breaking down. I remember walking to school in the morning, in the 9th grade, but never making it to classes. I would sit on a bench between the houses near the school building and never go inside. I just sat there for hours and stared at things. I felt numb. I didn’t know why I was feeling this way or how to stop it. My depression was progressing. There were no psychologists available in my city at that time and there was a negative stigma around it as well (e.g. Why do you need to go to a “shrink?") Things were getting worse.

 

On a clear October night in 1998, I jumped out a second-floor window and broke my back. I was 17. I just wanted to end the pain, end the cycle, break the pattern, and start over. I didn’t want to give up on life; I just couldn’t take anymore of how I felt right then.

 

This was a turning point for me. I had been accepted to Kuban State University before my accident and now I had a decision to make. I could take the academic year off while I recovered from back surgery or I could find a way to keep going. I was young and needed guidance but didn't know who I could turn to. My father was gone. My mother was overwhelmed. And my aunt already had her hands full.

 

It was around this time that I was introduced to Pavel Leonidovich. He was a martial arts coach who started the "Head Wind" school. He taught me about meditation, concentration, and energy work, which helped heal my body, mind, and soul. He believed in me and saw my potential. He helped me find the power within, so I could release the depression that had taken hold of me. He was so many things to me – a martial arts sensei, a psychologist, a friend, and a father figure. But most importantly, he was my life coach.

With his support and guidance, I decided to attend university that year. I walked to class on slippery snow every morning, wearing a thick corset under my clothes to support my back, with my mom holding me by the elbow. Inevitably, professors would ask me to sit down during class and I was forced to explain that I wasn’t allowed to sit for half of the year following my operation. It wasn't easy, but I graduated on time with very good grades.

understand how it feels to be stuck. I know how trauma and depression take a hold on you. But I also know how to rise up, how to take your power back, and how to lead your best life. This is my mission as a life coach. I want to guide you and help you create the life of your dreams.

 

©2020 Tatyana Gao. All rights reserved.