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You are not a bad person just because you say no

By Dorrit Karlsen

Photo by Luemen Carlson on Unsplash


On a regular day of Tuesday, I had hit the wall. 

I am laying on a bench in the office of an Osteopathic healer. I was there because I had been struggling with terrible pain in my left shoulder and hip for many months. And I was tired–terribly tired all the time.

Laying there on the bench, I feel him remove my socks, but I am too tired to think why. He barely touches the soles of my feet and I start to cry uncontrollably!  It’s like an explosion of feelings in my head. Tears are rolling down my face and I am sobbing loudly. He looks at me, and says, “You are not in the right place. You should be in a hospital NOW”. In a haze, I get to my doctor’s office. I can’t even remember driving there. My doctor gets me an ambulance to take me to the hospital. I spend a week doing a lot of tests before I am sent home. They say they can’t find anything wrong with me.

For two weeks I am curled up in my bed, sleeping and crying. My boss keeps calling me, asking when I will be back.

I have been managing his shop all by myself for two and a half years, seven days a week. No one but me to do the heavy lifting, the inventory, the cleaning, ordering supplies paying bills and seeing to the costumers. At home five kids, three dogs, a hardworking husband and a big house demand my attention.

Lying in bed, I realised that I can never go back to that job. I am in constant pain, have zero energy, trouble sleeping, loss of short time memory and brain fog. What job could I possibly have…? While I am grieving the loss of my job, I become very. When you have worked from the age of 10, and you suddenly have to stop–it’s heartbreaking. How could I be useful when I struggle to remember even simple things – like how to make soup, or to pick up my kids from school…?

Six months pass with a lot of trips to doctors and specialists.  I am diagnosed with two permanent issues, both triggered by stress. It has taken me seven years to find balance—being able to determine how much can I take on before the stress flares up.

So how did I end up in this situation? I have been thinking about that for a while. The answer became clear to me in a coaching session that I attended at the Leadership by Heart Academy in Oslo Norway. I was raised to be a “good girl”. My mother and grandmother were very strong and strict. I grew up learning the value and importance of always working hard, having pride in everything I did and never saying no.  But no one taught me to relax, take care of myself, unwind after work or anything like that. I think if I had learned that in my younger years I would never have hit the wall.

I could not and would not accept that I was going to be on disability for the rest of my life. So, I began searching for a solution. My life had to be more than painkillers and sleeping pills.

I prayed for something positive to help me improve life, to have less pain and be able to help people. My prayers for a solution were answered when I connected with two remarkable women in the US, who shared with me their knowledge.

After nearly seven years, my brain fog finally lifted, I had energy again, a lot less pain and slept like a baby (without sleeping pills!). I was eager to find something (anything!) that I could do to be useful again. I decided to take courses and study to become a certified Leadership by Heart Coach.


What I have learned from this period in my life is:

*Listen to and respect your body

*Take breaks, do things that give you energy and joy

*It’s not weakness to ask for help

*You are not a bad person just because you say no

*Trust your intuition

*Follow your heart


Sometimes life will force us to change course, but we have the ability to adapt and to heal.

Dorrit Karlsen

Dorrit Karlsen is certified as a cosmetologist, makeup artist and hairdresser and worked for 10 years beautifying women.
Worked in sales, as store manager for a large pet shop for close to 10 years.
Certified as a Leadership by Heart Coach while wanting to help people improve their “inside” not just their appearance.
Started her own  business as a Heart Guide, where she does special coachings, and also represent a biotec company in Utah USA.
Ambassador for One Nation One Heart to help share love and unity in the world.

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