courageously breaking stigmas

ON a mssion to

We lift the veil of shame around mental health and curb the unattainable quest for perfection by sharing your stories and experience

BITE THE BULLET Stories is a MOVEMENT and a GLOBAL COMMUNITY dedicated to breaking the STIGMA surrounding MENTAL HEALTH.

We are a network of strong, courageous, and ambitious people redefining success on our own terms.

Our PURPOSE is to create a new reality where the veil of shame is lifted so progress can be made personally, professionally, and in society.

We are here to celebrate, empower, entertain, and inspire action.

We believe that overcoming our hardships is the only way to build strength, self-confidence, and happiness.

The rapid success and community support for BITE THE BULLET Stories is no doubt due to our participants’ willingness to share something personal - often for the very first time - in hopes of emboldening others.

Our goal is to raise awareness, inspire and speak up for those who stay silent but want to feel heard. So we can grow beyond, together.

On a mission with this angel...

I’m “Biting the Bullet" because since I was a child I’ve allowed people’s actions to define my worth and fill me with shame.

Today I want to let go of that and speak my truth, because I believe it’s the only way to heal and hopefully help others along the way. Especially nowadays, in a world of ‘perfect’, being yourself is an act of rebellion.

I was born in Poland to poor, mediocre circumstances. In 1990 we immigrated to Germany for a better life. From that moment on it became ‘home’, but it didn't feel like that, it felt worse.

It started with me seeing my dad stealing, drinking, betraying and beating my mom. And by age 5 I was molested by him.

Filled with fear I told my mom. She quickly came to my defense and filed for divorce.

During their divorce it became normal for the police to come over whenever my dad showed up drunk trying to break into our home to hurt my mom.

#1

I remember them screaming, the sound of the front door breaking, my 10 year old brother trying to protect us while I was hiding in a tiny gap between the kitchen counter and the wall.

Then the day came when I had to make a statement in court. When testifying about the molestation they confused my fear and discomfort as delight. They said I was lying to help my mom win her divorce. I didn’t realize it then, but that moment forever scarred me.

My truth was taken away and I was shamed. At this early age I felt unworthy, like I didn’t belong.

It's like your light inside goes off and your soul flies out of your body in self-protection, not knowing your place in the world.

The following years I saw my mom as a warrior. Feeding us and sacrificing all of herself for us kids. Due to the language barrier, finding a good job was a challenge so she took cleaning jobs.

#2

I’D SPEND THE WEEKENDS PLAYING WITH THE "RICH KIDS" WHILE MY MOM CLEANED THEIR HOUSES.

It seemed weird to me but soon I found myself enjoying those moments as I envisioned myself living like that “when I grow up” and it helped me escape my own feelings of being unworthy. It triggered my growth mindset.

This feeling of worthlessness was strengthened by my Polish last name. I was told by some of my teachers that I wouldn’t make it in life or through school.
School became a torture, a constant battle of proving I deserved a place in this world too.

In addition to that, because I was bilingual, I always had to step in for my mom, translating and explaining the world to her.

This caused me to take over lots of responsibility for myself at a very early age. I felt like the mom of my mom.

#3

All those incidents created a belief system of lack, defined by overperforming and made me feel empty inside, not lovable, not worthy and in turn, seeking love and attention from others to fill the gap.

Daddy-issues, unable to set boundaries in relationships, diagnosed with adjustment disorder and burn-out. I became an overachiever and people pleaser longing for validation from the outside world.

My ‘performance’ in life and at work was what kept me alive. The moment I left the door, it was “showtime”.

I resisted my nature out of shame and denied who I truly was. I didn't want to be an open book. I tried to tear out pages of my life. No one should ever see what lies below the surface. I filled the emptiness inside with shiny things.

They became the bandaid and makeup of my unhappiness and the broken soul I was. It helped me hide the pain. I created the perfect facade and I became GOOD at it. 

#4

I defined myself by what I owned (and fell into debt). I rejected myself and was constantly self-sabotaging. I felt like a fraud.

Throughout my journey I met wise, caring souls, who helped me realize that until I believe I deserve better, I won’t receive better.

I started to question my status quo, the system and the path I was on.

I became tired of living in a society that benefits from our self-doubts, numbs our voices and makes us deny our truth.

So I began the journey, the one I’m still on. I chose happiness and freedom over money and a traditional career. I quit my soul-sucking 9-5 and educated myself in entrepreneurship and my passion for creativity.

I became a certified Life & Business Coach and a Brand Designer too.

#5

Choosing this path comes with setbacks. It’s been two years of ups and downs, restarting again, trying harder, running out of money, until I had to move back in with my mom.

I spent six months in a dark room in her basement figuring out what happened. I thought I chose the right path, but something still felt off.

I had to sell everything. My world crashed. This is when I finally learned that it's what’s inside that counts.

I became detached from what surrounded me and turned into a minimalist. I noticed I’m happier than ever although I owe nothing. I felt easy after a very long time.

I learned to deal with the unknown. That the only thing certain is change. Change forces us to leave our comfort zone and grow into a higher self without needing anyone or anything else.

#6

I stopped looking for myself in the arms of others, or in the reflection of all those shiny things filled with false promises. I stopped labeling myself.

I embraced the weirdo and rebel I am. I freed myself from who I thought I had to be due to what society deems appropriate. I stopped avoiding the pain.

I did lots of inner work and I STILL DO. There are still days that feel like crash landings. But I found myself. I remembered who I was. I came back to life.

We owe it to ourselves to find the path meant for us. To speak and live OUR TRUTH. Knowing that what you do makes your heart beat faster, letting life itself be your greatest addiction. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s worth fighting for.

My hardest setbacks became my greatest blessings. Despite the challenges, in less than 12 months I figured out a way with almost no budget to find myself in a place where my soul finally feels at home - Los Angeles.

#7

Here I am now, still not knowing what will be in a month or two. Still working on myself and healing while creating a life that feels fully aligned with who I am.

I found a tribe of women that makes me feel like I’ve never been broken. Where my feelings are valid and I can be vulnerable without being judged.

My journey and experience led me to become a mental health advocate to break stigmas and serve a bigger purpose.

Being part of BTBS fills my heart and I hope sharing my story will help you find courage and let it become your driving force the way it became mine.

Once you reclaim your power and own your story, you get to write the ending. The one you deserve.

#8

love,

Sandra

© 2020 Sandra Mack | Website Design by VX • Design Studio • LA