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A New Star(t) - Journey to Mental Health with the Help of Rainbow Tai Chi

by Sterre Overvest(more info)

listed in depression, originally published in issue 250 - November 2018

My name is Sterre Overvest, 27 years old and I am born and raised in Utrecht, Holland. Currently I am studying to become a Rainbow Tai Chi teacher. The Rainbow Tai Chi School is based in the UK so I decided to move to England five months ago, April 2018. I am a singer and I play the guitar, I also played football for fifteen years and I’ve studied Social Work.

Sterre Overvest

I have been suffering from lots of different diagnoses: Depression, addiction, eating disorder, personality disorder and was since puberty searching via medical and physical help to find a solution, for help, for healing. I wanted to change but I did not know how; no matter how hard I did try, I kept falling back. I truly wanted to be ‘happy’ and live my life without clinics and medication. In April 2017 my life changes, I found Rainbow Tai Chi and with the guidance of a real Taoist Master I am learning to heal myself. I stopped all my medication and therapies, gone back to mother nature and the chi, the life force and I can honestly share with you: I feel happier than ever before! This is what I write about, I have my own blog about my life in England and about Rainbow Tai Chi, about my self-healing process.

May 2018

Locked away, removed from society, isolated, broken, scars, hunger for love and attention, alone. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be normal? What is the point of living? I don’t know.  I am not worthy of anything, who am I anyway? I am nothing, yes I am something: I am a shame.  Constantly fighting, me versus myself, hearing negative voices of blames, guilt, anger and hatred, feeling so terrified. I miss you mum, why did you die? It like a part of me died at the same time, I miss myself, the old me. Who is she? I don’t know, Am I still alive? Is my blood streaming? Is my heart beating? Are my lungs breathing?  

Locked up, a straight jacket, tube feeding, I don’t want to eat anymore, I am way to fat, closed doors, no freedom, the judge decided, out of control. Times goes by, day after day. Stuffed with medications with all the best intentions, everyone did their best to help, to support, be there for me and so did I: I did my best. My best to stay alive, to not give up, I nearly died, several times.  I can’t do it, I don’t want to, just give up, don’t be a coward and just end it!

I am sorry, I am so sorry I know you love me! I know you care but I just can’t take it anymore, goodbye….

Welcome to my life: Only a year ago!

Feb 2017: Hospital, Closed Department Psychiatric


Feb 2017 - hospital, closed department psychiatric

I brought this hot water bottle everywhere; it was my best friend.
I starved myself for longer than a month and I was shaking and shivering all day long,
this bottle gave me a warm and safe feeling, a feeling of love and hope. )

Exactly a year ago, I arrived for the very first time at the Rainbow Tai Chi School (RTC) in England, a chi self-healing centre. I had in that time no idea what chi meant. Actually, I was not even familiar with Tai Chi, let alone self-healing! The only thing I did know back then was that I needed help, desperately! I was caught up in myself, in a dark place and I was not able to find the light back. I was searching, looking for something, not able to enjoy and be satisfied with what I had, with who I was. All I wanted was to feel just a little bit of happiness and some ‘peace’. I wanted to stop listening to the fears and the self-blame. I was trying my best to find a way to deal with my depressions, constantly trying to hurt myself and to get rid of the panic attacks and personality and eating problems.

Later I will share more about how I found this school and what changes I have been going through last year but I’ll start by sharing about my past. Even though I find it hard and challenging to write all of this down and to be completely honest, open and transparent. It makes me feel ashamed, little, small and vulnerable but I do feel the calling, the urge the importance to share my voice, my story with the world: So here we go:

When I was fourteen years old, I had my first contact with a psychiatric and since then I have been trying many different kinds of therapies, medicines, hospitalizing, lots of labels have been put on me. I felt put into a box, the box of being different, being a lunatic. No matter how hard I tried, it felt like I was never really able to change, to heal, to feel alive. Sometimes things started to look better and I felt more happy and good. I definitely had also lots of beautiful and special, precious moments in life. But I find it hard to keep the balance; it was either black or white. Hyperactive, outgoing, mega busy and focused or deeply depressed, down, negative and out of control. In the end, it came back to the ‘same shit’ as usual.

For such a long time, for years I felt a victim, a victim of life. Not worthy at all, sad and I could not grasp it, I could not do anything about it. I wanted to change I did not choose to be depressed and I did not want to hurt myself, No of course not! But I did not know how be with myself. Not knowing how to change all my negatives, how to get rid of my deeply rooted beliefs. Not knowing how to deal with my emotions, let along the emotions of others. I felt like I had nothing to protect myself with. I’ve always been so open and receptive for energies and for emotions; hyper-sensitive I see now, but by then I had no clue what was going on.  I truly believed and felt like there was nothing to do about it, about having this negatives beliefs and self-blames. I did have lots of ‘reasons’ to feel like this I constantly convinced myself. Always trying to find the cause of all my suffering. Trying to explain it, does it have to do with some traumas I’ve gone through?

My parents got divorced; I’ve lost my mother when I was 21. She died at cancer after seven years of treatments and illness. I was convinced this was partly the reason why my life could not be good anymore. I don’t know how to explain it now but it was not only my own perception of seeing this. People and friends also felt sorry for me and saw me as a victim sometimes. Of course, they did not encourage me on purpose to feel sad and depressed, they tried to help me and be there for me but by admitting the fact it is terrible what has happened. But for some reason by hearing this that I felt almost like I had more right to be depressed. It is weird how this works. It is just an interaction between people and how we deal with ‘traumatic things and emotions’ I reckon. We simply just don’t know how to deal with our emotions and we pretending that nothing has happened. Deep down inside we just don’t know how to be.  When people tell me they are sorry to hear about the loss of my mother and that they can’t imagine what it is like to live without their mother it does hurt and it makes me feel sorrier for myself as well. Nobody wants to see a family falling apart. We want things to be ‘nice’, have peace and harmony. Human being is not made to suffer and the fewer problems and pain, the better. Just close your eyes and pretend it is not there, just look the other way. This is how I’ve lived my life for the last twenty-six years.

Jan 2017: Start Tube Feeding

During my whole life, I was always looking for help, love and attention outside of myself. Always searching for distraction when emotions came in. I have been taught to take a pill, a tranquilizer when feelings became too strong. I kept numbing myself over and over again. I’ve started to drink alcohol and smoking weed just to not feel anymore. I also started to develop serious eating disorders, bulimia to start with and later anorexia. Just to keep in control, so afraid of the unknown. To find distraction, something which could keep me away from the ‘real’ pain which I was feeling deep down inside my heart. I was always so busy finding a way to stop all these fears of feeling fear inside of me. Often I took a pill before I even felt any emotions, for example by taking my anti-depressives meds, they literally numb you off all the time. During taking them I was not aware of this fact, to be honest. I did know it had an impact but I can see and feel now, after all those years that it has taken away lots of glimpse from my daily life.

Jan 2017 - start tube feeding

In my life, I have created a whole bunch of ‘friends’ who are trying to take away my power and they keep talking to me, they keep attacking me. Actually, they are not my real friends, they are just voices and believes inside of me who pretend to be my BFFS. They keep tempting me to do things I actually don’t want to, I don’t want to listen to them but it is so hard sometimes to ignore them, especially when I feel so lonely…

“You will never be able to live with yourself!”
“You are born to live a life full or pain suffer and darkness!”
“You may think you can do it, but that is a joke, you can’t do anything at all”.
“Don’t act like you can surf the emotional waves, you will drown instantly”.
“You are so worthless, ugly, fat and unkind, if I were you, I would end my life”.
“Accept the fact you are crazy, a lunatic and worthy of nothing, nothing, nothing!”
“You don’t deserve any kind of love and attention”.
“‘What is the point of getting out of bed, you will not achieve anything, so why even bother?”

And? How do you feel after reading this? Not really supportive heh?

Does this sound familiar to you? Do you have ‘friends’ like this as well? I believe that everyone has at least one ‘friend’ that you wished you had never met, never invited him or her in, to have a chat with you. Wouldn’t it be easy if you could just delete them, push the button, as you do on Facebook? - like, dislike- friend, no friend- Sounds good, isn’t it? It would make life so much more simple and easy. I don’t know sometimes I wished it would work like this but I can also see the charm of living a life filled with ‘friends’. It is just really important to keep listening to your real friends, to the friends of light and not to the friends of darkness.

I am learning now that I do have a choice!

Feb 2017: Still in Hospital

Feb 2017, still in hospital

In times when these dark ‘friends’ came in it felt for me that I did not have a choice anymore. There was no other solution than going into treatment again, going to hospital or anywhere else. I did not even care where to go as long as I did not have to take care of myself anymore.  Let others do it, please. I can’t do it, I don’t know how; I don’t know what to do. While reflecting on it now I can see it were not my ‘friends’ to blame; it was me who invited these friends to come in. I do have a choice to listen to my ‘friends’ or to ignore them. I was desperate and confused and it was not them who were screaming. No, I was the one who was screaming, screaming for attention, for love, for someone to see me, to hold me, to help me.

I would be lying if I would say that my life was only full of negatives and misery because that is not the truth at all! I have had lots of beautiful moments and plenty of amazing happy memories as well, lots of good friends and activities. Soccer, for example, has really helped me to keep having fun in my life. No matter how sick I was, how down, I was (almost) always able to motivate myself to go to soccer practice, to play the game. It gave me a reason to get out of bed, to start moving, literally! To be part of a team helped me a lot and I loved it from the moment I started to play soccer fifteen years ago. I am a real team player and I love to interact with people, work together to reach and to score the goal!

Besides all these positives there was always this fear inside, I was waiting for the thunder to come in again. But even when the thunder was there, the days were dark, cloudy and a big storm was chasing me: somewhere deep down there was always a little voice in me filled with hope, I see now. Somewhere deep, deep hidden away, maybe not even a voice, it might be a light or something else: a life force, which guided me and helped me to survive. Because even though I tried to give up, to end this all, I never succeeded (luckily!) There was a part of me somewhere that did not want to die. I just did not knew how to be alive, how to ‘be’ without running away constantly, running away from myself, by using medication, alcohol, weed, auto-mutilation. I did not know how to ‘be’ me, how to be Sterre.

But now I do, step-by-step I am chancing this believes I can share with you honestly, from my heart that the time has come that I can ‘be’ me! I am Sterre and I love her, I accept her and I am proud of her and I thank her, day in day out, for being Sterre. This might sound a bit strange to you. And maybe you wonder how you can you thank yourself for being yourself what is the point of doing that? You might even think that it is selfish to do or that I am having a big ego, but the truth is: I do care about me, I care for Sterre and I am not ashamed to share that. I am even proud to say it, to admit it! I feel that I do deserve love and attention and this belief is the opposite of what I’ve believed my whole life. I have always criticised myself for being not good enough, always comparing myself with others, looking up to people who are better, more pretty, skinnier, smarter, faster, more elegant, more confidence, more social active. funnier, who feel more happy. The comparer in me (in all of us) is so big, so strongly developed. Comparison starts from the day you were born. You are compared with other babies, with your brothers and sisters, with the image of how a child should be developing, with the picture perfect of human beings. Without comparison, you cannot measure yourself and it is difficult to create standards or believes. You can’t tell or say if you fit into society and you can’t grow and develop, at least this is what we believe and it is partly true. This is how your parents have brought you up; this is what you’ve learned in school ever since you are little you learn to compare yourself. It is a habit and it goes from generation to generation.

At the Rainbow Tai Chi school, I’m learning about the fact that there are two kinds of comparison: emotionally and mentally. The difference between these two types of comparison is enormous and I feel the importance to be aware of this. The comparer is useful in comparative judgments about the physical world; you need to compare signposts and count how much money you need to pay for the postage right? Other than practical physical necessities, the comparer when used ‘emotionally and mentally’ on ourselves and others  - destroys confidence, create illnesses, start wars, produce divorces, make people bully others and destroy souls!!

We learn to be strong, grow up and study hard. Get the best results in the shortest amount of time. In school, you need to remember as much as you can, all mentally, in your head in your brain and mind. No connection to the heart, to your emotions. It is almost as if the heart and the emotions are not part of learning. I always perceived crying as a kid as something which was not good to do. I can remember that when I was little I find it hard to let my parents came to me when they wanted to hug me or to help me. I was convinced for such a long time that when I allow myself to ‘feel’ I would be seen as weak; other children and people can make fun of me which I did not wanted! The more vulnerable you are, the more people can hurt you. This is the perception of our daily lives, not being in touch, in tune with the heart, with our emotions. Like as if there is a separation between you and your emotions, between you and your heart and your body mind and spirit. How is this possible? What is happened? What are we doing? I don’t know what it is all about and what is the ‘reason’ or the ‘cause’ all of this…  But I feel happy that I am now able to change my perception about how to be with me, with my emotions and not only focus me on the mental aspect of life. While studying RTC I am focussing on all the different layers; it is a heart body mind spirit (HBMS) education, which makes so much more sense to me then any other study I have done before. Maybe all of this sounds a bit vague to you but I am trying the best I can to share where it all started, where the change began to happen: only a year ago.

One of my best friends did a Rainbow Tai Chi course; she felt that this might be something for me, that this could help me to find more happiness. She truly believed that this was it and she wanted me to meet one of the Rainbow Tai Chi Teachers called Helen. Even though all my hope for a ‘better’ life was gone, I felt suspicious, had lack of trust and was in a really dark place, I thought there is nothing to lose so I decided to give it a try. I spoke to Helen the next day already, which was my luck (she is still studying RTC in England and was only in Holland to give a workshop in Holland). The moment I met her I felt that she truly believed in me and that she was non judgemental and so open and honest. There was something special about Helen but I could not grasp what it was. The way she spoke to me, listened to me, she was there for me. She shared that she truly believed that I can make it and that there was still hope for me. It moved me to tears and I felt heard. She shared that she has been through a lot herself as well and that RTC has saved her life. She told that she is changed so much and this inspired me and gave me hope. She advised me to come to England, to the school to receive help and guidance from her teacher, the owner and the founder of the RTC School: Master Choy. I was a bit overwhelmed and in a shock and had no idea what to do with this situation.

Something in me, in my guts, said that I could trust this stranger and I decided to jump. A couple of weeks after meeting Helen and having contact via email with Master Choy, I decided to go. I stepped in the plane on my way to ‘I don’t know’. A journey into the unknown: it literally felt like I had no idea what would happen. I had so many questions, what would my day look like? What do I need to bring? What can I do? It made me feel terrified scared and I really struggled to go, everything was so different then all my other therapies and clinics where everything is structured and full of rules and dos and don’ts.

April 2017 Selfie reading RTC book by Master Choy

April 2017, I took this Selfie while reading the RTC book written by Master Choy,
a week before coming to the personal retreat, as you see I was a bit sceptic ha-ha.

I stepped onto the plane and 13 months ago I arrived. It was the start of a whole new chapter of my life and I could never ever expect it to turn out the way it has done. I simply can’t explain, I can’t describe how happy I am, to be alive, more alive than ever before while writing this!

I feel so happy with all that is happening and changing in my life, in such a short amount of time. It is just simply unreal for me to realize and it is like as if times have changed. Time has changed me or actually, time did not change me, I’ve changed me, I did it and no one else and I can’t change time but what is the meaning of time anyway? I can choose to feel sad about my past - I am twenty-six now and I can feel sorry for all the months and months I have spent in clinics feeling depressed and isolated from myself and others. But that won’t help me; I perceive time now more as a concept, something, which we people, made up. Always looking back in time. “I wish I had not said that I wish I could do it again, I wish I could turn back time to do it all different”. Or the opposite: Constantly busy with planning things ahead. “Dreaming about the time when you will retire so you can do anything you want, finally! Longing for a break from work, a day off. Wishing that the time had come that you had enough money to never have to work again. Time to create some more time for you. ‘ me time’ instead of ‘you time’. I wish it was holiday again, so I don’t have to do anything.” Always living in the past or in the future; it is a shame and it does make me feel sad to see so much suffering and negativity around me. By practising RTC I can be in the present, it helps me so much and I can really enjoy all that I am doing, it is like my eyes are more willing to see what there is in the moment and I can give thanks for what I have, here, right now, wow!

And you know what? It does not make sense at all because we are timeless human beings J When I look back in time, like I am doing now during writing this article and I reflect on my life, especially on last year: I feel so inspired and full of passion to share about myself and about my purpose. When I see my own transformation, which I have been going through in only one (freaking!) year of time! It is incredible and almost too hard to put into words actually. Everyone who knows me by person can confirm the changes and the growth I have made. It is like a miracle when I reflect on it!
Part of the RTC education is focussed on developing your creativity. I did never believe that I was creative at all. I did play the guitar and sang songs now and then I also composted songs when I was a kid together with my best friend but I had less confidence and trust in my own abilities and creativity. Master Choy is helping me a lot to develop my creative spark and to find it back, to develop it. I create my own songs now and I sing and play the guitar and it seems, according to other people, who listen to me, that I am pretty good at it.

April 2017 performing during personal retreat

April 2017, performing during my personal retreat

During the personal retreat, I started to work on myself with the guidance of Master Choy and the group support of all the students. I’ve learned that it is truly okay to feel how I feel, to be who I am. That I am accepted even though I feel like I am full of negatives, feeling unworthy and like a piece of shit. Nature is able to transform shit into compost, into soil what can be used to grow new fruits and veggies. Compost is even called ‘black gold’ by organic gardeners. When I came to the school everyone even thanked me for bringing my shit and I felt so surprised and did not know what was happening - ha-ha. It was a whole different dimension and perception of looking towards myself and to all the shitty things I have been dealing with. Everyone feels shitty sometimes and that is really okay. From accepting that, we can learn to transform this. So from now on, I am giving thanks to my shit ha-ha, it sounds like a joke, like a paradox but it is true and I’m learning to be more grateful for the shit that I have faced in my life and what I am still facing every day.

There are four factors necessary for change and growth:

  1. Humbleness to (un) learn
  2. The right teacher
  3. Group support
  4. The right environment

I can see clearly that I am at the point of my life that the timing is ripe for me: I am ready to change. After one year of several visits and training weekends in the UK, I decided to move to the RTC School in order to deepen my practice and to start studying to become a trainer myself one day. I decided to follow my heart, my guts and I left everything behind, not only my friends, my job, my family but also my old believes, my medication, cigarettes and alcohol, even my psychiatric and my labels!
Back in Holland, I was working with elderly people with special needs and I truly loved my job! I feel so much care and passion for elderly people and for people with special needs. The innocence, the purity and the open attitude and honesty of the people I have been taking care of, is just so special and makes me often speechless. I feel inspired every day by working with them and I find it hard to say goodbye. But I do feel humble and so motivated to study RTC and I was willing to let everything behind. The good news is: I already found a new job here In England in an elderly house! I can’t wait to get the paperwork sorted and to start definitely!

By studying with Master Choy I am really convinced that I have found the right teacher. Taoist Tai Chi Master Choy is amazingly skilled in teaching. He helped thousands of people to heal, to find more happiness and he is the founder of the HBMS education system, where other schools often focus on body mind spirit. Which mean that they are not focussing on the heart, the emotions. I cannot believe that I could find a better teacher anywhere else in the world.  He have helped me to heal a lot already and I feel really supported and humbled to learn from a real Tai Chi Master! It is so special and I feel tremendously grateful for studying here in the RTC School. Like I’ve shared before, I felt so welcome and loved and I still do feel this way.

Not only Master Choy and the other students have helped me so much, also the support and love I’ve received from my family and friends from Holland is tremendous! Everyone is so supportive, nobody has ever lost hope and they were always there for me and whatever I’ve done, how big the mistakes were. I felt loved and supported by my friends and family! Even during my goodbye party, nobody was trying to ‘keep me’ in Holland or convinced me not to go. Everyone was supportive and the girls from my soccer club even collected money so I could join the soccer training camp in Albufeira just before I moved to England! My father even helped me to move to Devon! We drove together to the school and he took a plane back! How sweet, loving and super supportive is that? What more can I ask for?

  March 2018 let the journey begin
March 2018, 05:00 AM, let the journey begin!

I’ve said goodbye with a smile and a tear to the old and here I am, ready to embrace the new!  I feel radiant, confident; I love to make fun again, I can even make jokes about my own weaknesses and I feel stronger than ever but also more vulnerable than ever. Even though I have healed a lot already, it is not that I am now free of negatives and I don’t need to practise RTC anymore. No, it is not like that at all, of course not. But I do feel inspired to keep practicing every day, to learn and unlearn. The practice helps me to become more balanced and I learn to transform my negatives into positives and healing creative solutions. For example, I do feel judgments coming in towards my own writing skills, just now. I feel like the story is not good enough to share and feel unworthy about the fact that my English is not perfectly correct. I also have some fears that people might judge me for starting my own blog. I have been reading it over and over again the last weeks and changed things, deleted words, reorganized the paragraphs, had lots of frustration coming in and tears as well. But you know what? I accept the result of my hard and soft work and I thank myself for giving my best. I even appreciate myself for having the courage to share my story so open and honest from my heart even though it is scary to do.

My wounds are being healed, day-by-day. I do realize that you may believe that only I can do it and you can’t. That you may feel too many fears, pains and hurts. That you will never be able to love and accept yourself you are. But you know what? I also used to believe that for myself! But I have changed and if I can do it, having visited almost every clinic there is in Holland, you can definitely do it! Everyone can do it!

I don’t know if you see it, but the spark that was missing, I found back!

May 2018, RTC School

May 2018. RTC School

Don’t give up! There is hope! You can find your spark as well. I truly believe you can!

With a big loving hug,


Feel inspired after reading my story?

Feel free to contact me: , to have chat or if you have any questions you would like to ask me. Or check out the website of Rainbow Tai Chi and come and join Summer School!


  1. Master Choy said..

    I can vouch for Sterre’s amazing road to recovery of her health, creative spark and happiness. She is truly an ongoing inspiration to all her fellow colleagues, family and friends. Her infectious smile and laughter fills us all with hope and the light at the end of every tunnel is shining in the sky. Her name means STAR. She is already a star in our eyes. Just yesterday she “wowed” everyone including a room full of strangers in a bar with great comedy skills acting with her friend Tom, everyone burst into spontaneous joyous outburst. It was her first time and she was already brilliant, the manager wanted her back!!

  2. Christine Chin said..

    Wow! Well done Sterre. Thank you for writing your story, so much courage! You are an inspiration.

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About Sterre Overvest

Sterre Overvest, originally from Utrecht, Holland is currently studying to become a Rainbow Tai Chi teacher. The Rainbow Tai Chi school is based in the UK so she decided to move to England five months ago, April 2018. She is a singer and plays the guitar, and also played football for fifteen years, Sterre has also studied Social Work. Sterre has suffered from numerous diagnoses including depression, addiction, eating disorder, personality disorder. She has, since puberty, searching via medical and physical help to find a solution, for help, for healing. Although she wished to change, she did not know how, no matter how hard she tried, and kept falling back. She truly wanted to be ‘happy’ and live my life without clinics and medication. In April 2017 her life changed; she found Rainbow Tai Chi and with the guidance of a real Taoist Master she is learning to heal herself. She stopped all my medication and therapies, gone back to mother nature and the chi, the life force and feels that she can honestly share with you: she feels happier than ever before! Sterre may be contacted via and at the Rainbow Tai Chi School

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