My story starts in the mountains and with my upbringing in the small mountain village of Hemsedal.
I grew up there, being the class clown, in safe surroundings, focused on sports.
My parents were taxi drivers and I got used to a steady stream of people, which made me very social and outspoken.
When I had finished High School I moved down to Oslo, to my 86 year old great grandmother. I was heading to become a marketer at BI (Norwegian Business School) like the rest of Norway. Joining me, I had four of my closest friends from childhood. I've always been a home bird so that felt nice.
Even if I never ended up as a marketer after my studies, my network continued to grow. My most valued asset in life became having a big circle of friends.
A night in October
A night in October flipped my whole existence on its head. One of my closest friends went into an acute psychosis and attacked me with a knife.
Andreas, another close friend, was killed. I managed to escape in a taxi after the fight of my life, receiving 20 stab wounds to my torso.
After 3 operations and 11 days in a coma at Oslo University Hospital, I woke up to the newspaper headlines: The Halloween murder, the witnesses, the fight, God written on the wall in blood.
During this period, my ever so naive view of the world came crashing down. I had lost 2 of my closest friends, and it felt as if on display for half of Norway to see. The public had opinions, and I got my first meeting with the police, John Christian Elden and with journalists.
I had been severely injured ad had to endure rehabilitation, even to get myself out of bed. I have to admit, in hindsight, I was struggling with severe mental trauma, that I, in the beginning completely ignored.
I went down a vicious spiral I couldn't escape from.
Back to reality
After a long battle with the voices in my head, and ever-declining physical health, I was ready to fight my way back to real life. I was training 5-6 days a week and went into tunnel vision for that period. I started to eat healthier and my sleep improved, which is great when you are battling trauma as soon as your head hits the pillow.
I chose to have faith in those around me in order to get back and stop being afraid. I was completely dependent on maintaining my large social network if I was to become functional again. I remember setting my alarms earlier and earlier to get more out of each day.
I was struggling with anger and I recall setting partial goals moving forward. As being the class clown I leaned a lot on jokes and gallows humour. By doing this, I realized that those around me could more easily cope with my trauma, and even put a smile on my own face. But humour was mostly a tool to ease tension, as it is challenging to interact with people when you don't really know what to say or how to make them feel better.
In that period, as the trial started, the media circus went wild. I had chosen to forgive the physical and mental trauma brought on me. It was the removal of a burden of bitterness and anger that cleared my vision. I felt good, but there were conflicting opinions and I came to realize how fragile my own points of view really were.
From book to lectures
The next chapter was to write a book about what really went down, and so I did, in collaboration with Marit Aalrust and Cappelen Damm in 2014.
It was important to portray a story of an ordinary group of friends. Some guys exploring the big city together, naively and with late-night movie nights a primary focus. Comunity during a defining period in our lives.
I wanted to turn the spotlight on the area of psychosis, my own mentally challenging journey, and not to mention, in order for the memory of the deceased Andreas to live on.
This set the stage for the most important step in my life.
When you are selling books, it's common to hold lectures, they told me at Cappelen Damm. That's scary, I thought to myself.
Fast forward to today, I'm closing in at about 500 lectures nationwide, and I view myself as a seasoned speaker.
What a journey this has been, and still is! It's been a journey that sets mental health more and more on the agenda.
I did well as a telemarketer alongside my studies prior to getting injured. I believe that the combination of being the class clown, lots of energy, and having a story to tell have been a great starting point.
My journey is the foundation of my lectures. Since 2011, I have learned so much about mental health, what goes into succeeding in life and how to prioritize wellbeing.
I continuously get booked to an increasing number of, as well as bigger lectures. In Norway, we have definitely taken the step toward prioritizing mental health.
I have a broad audience and I am thrilled by that.
The joy of visiting an elementary school, a soccer team or the army is equally rewarding and important.
I am no scholar or scientist. That's why I focus on what you can actually do within yourself and by referencing myself and my journey.