Why I Left the Country and Home that I Love: Insights from an American Health Activist


People always ask me…
“Why did you move to Costa Rica? Were you a TI (targeted individual) in the U.S.? Were you escaping/running for your life?”

The truth is I should probably answer “yes” to both of the latter questions, as my family’s health was deteriorating from the heavily fluoridated water supply, the grid pattern of chemtrails seen daily over our house, the GMO food supply, the “Round Up” contaminating yards and fields all around, the electromagnetic pollution emitted by WiFi and cell towers everywhere…etc. However, I usually sugar-coat my answer by saying that my husband retired for health reasons, my son loves the ocean and nature, and that I wanted to embrace a simpler and more relaxed lifestyle. After all, these things are also true.

But if I really dig deep down into the essence of my being for a response to the first question, it would be that I was “called” to come here. I don’t know how or why, but I do know that eventually, the purpose will be revealed to me in the end. It always is. And, I know that because I answered that call, I will be alright.

Hero's Journey illustrationThe journey of my work as a psychiatric drug survivor and Pharma whistleblower has been a remarkable one. Through this work, I have discovered my personal truth which is, I am a magnificent spiritual being here having a human experience. Moreover, I am the creator of that experience. Most psychiatric survivors don’t sit well with that idea. How or why on earth would they “choose” or “create” such malevolence and trauma in their lives? Surely, this was perpetrated upon them by evil forces and profiteering corporations without a human conscience? Indeed! That is, in truth, a part of it. Again, there are multiple truths.

That perspective is just a limited myopic view of the bigger truth: the person who chooses/creates this experience is a true spiritual warrior. They have been initiated by subjecting themselves to the most sacred of sacrifices in order to walk the path of the wounded healer, otherwise known as the hero’s journey. It is a life drama when played out that will separate the wheat from the chaff and only the strong will survive. It is only when we can take our power back that we begin to heal and then, to thrive. We must first acknowledge our own humanity, and then fully embrace our divinity, in order to find salvation on this path.

For years I have resisted working with individuals one-on-one. Survivors can be difficult for me to deal with. The situation is much too close to my heart, and I am too empathetic to detach myself emotionally. So, I have insisted on being on the front lines of this battle leading the charge, in the media, testifying before Congress and the FDA, speaking to large audiences, appearing on TV and in documentaries, rather than tending to the wounded in the trenches. I can take the ugly attacks online and in person by the ignorant public masses. What I could not endure was to be attacked by the very people I was trying to help and represent!

Moving to Costa Rica has now coaxed me back into the trenches. Unable to legally work here, I have been forced to earn a living via the internet as a health coach. Since I don’t sell anything other that a paperback book, I am limited in my retail income opportunities. Logically, I have attracted a clientele of psychiatric survivors who are attempting to recover their health and alleviate their symptoms.

GwenSo, as I sit here introspecting, surrounded by the jungle, with the knowledge I have garnered in over 57 years of life, 18 years of formal education, 20 years of employment with Pharma and the natural foods industry, and over 10 years as a researcher, writer and health activist, it all comes down to this: I have been called to serve humanity, and the human race is comprised of individuals. No one is better or more special than another. We are all one family. We must be willing as individuals to heal ourselves. Then, when we are able, we must use love, compassion and knowledge to help others. It begins with self-empowerment and taking responsibility for your spirit, mind and body temple. You are the steward of your lighthouse. It is you who must guide yourself home!

Foremost, we must not be attached to our persona, or the image we have of ourselves in relation to others. If life has taught me anything, it is that this self image morphs and radically changes with time.

Be willing to meet yourself where you are at present with compassion. Forgive any past transgressions by self or others. Beating yourself up doesn’t serve anyone. And, picking a fight with your fellow man may leave you bloody and bruised. As trite as you may think it sounds, we must learn to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

When we focus on the blessings in our lives they expand. Our perspective is based on our belief systems, and it is necessary to change our minds before we can change our physical realities. After all, one doesn’t change a bad movie by throwing rocks at the screen. You simply change the channel, and switch to another program!

I may not know exactly why I moved to Costa Rica for awhile. Yet, I am at peace knowing that as long as I embrace the adventure by following my inner compass, and care for myself and others, I will be just fine. I am loved and supported. When that occasional fear does rear its ugly head, I just remember my ultimate truth: that which is in me is greater than that which is of this world, and someday, it will lead me home.

Gwen Olsen, is the author of Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher, an inspirational speaker, health coach and activist who lives in a permaculture community in Costa Rica. If you would like to change your mind, renew your health, rejuvenate spiritually, book a health coaching session today by contacting her here


Wounded healer is a term created by psychologist Carl Jung. The idea states that an analyst is compelled to treat patients because the analyst himself is “wounded”. The idea may have Greek mythology origins. Research has shown that 73.9% of counselors and psychotherapists have experienced one or more wounding experiences leading to their career choice.

As an example, of the “wounded healer phenomenon” between an analyst and his/her analyzed:

  • The analyst is consciously aware of his own personal wounds. These wounds may be activated in certain situations especially if the analyzed wounds are similar to his own.[1]
  • The analyzed wounds affect the wounds of the analyst. The analyst either consciously or unconsciously passes this awareness back to his analyzed, causing an unconscious relationship to take place between analyst and analyzed.[2]

The Hero’s Journey is an archetypal story pattern, common in ancient myths as well as modern day adventures.
The concept of the Hero’s Journey was described by mythologist Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces and refined by Christopher Vogler in his book The Writer’s Journey. It can be boiled down to three stages:

  • Departure: the Hero leaves the familiar world behind.
  • Initiation: the Hero learns to navigate the unfamiliar world of adventure.
  • Return: the Hero returns to the familiar world.

Separating the wheat from the chaff — In the process of winnowing, as it has been carried on in the East for thousands of years, the grain is tossed into the air so that the wind may cause a separation of chaff and straw. The light husks from the wheat and fine particles of straw are dispersed by the wind in the form of a fine dust; the heavier straw which has been broken into short pieces by the threshing process falls near at hand on the edge of the threshing-floor, while the grain falls back upon the pile… This straw is ordinarily saved and fed as “roughage” to the animals. It could easily be gathered and burned, as indicated in [many Biblical] verses, while the chaff is blown away beyond recovery, a strong figure to depict complete annihilation.

JAMES A. Patch, Bible Dictionary from, Public Domain

There is NO FREE LUNCH in Sales!

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You might be surprised by the number of doctors who say that they are not influenced by the constant presence of Pharma reps (historically known as “detail reps”), that frequent nearly every educational event doctors attend following medical school. After all, these docs would not want anyone to think that they would succumb to marketing ploys designed to influence their clinical decision-making in favor of the economic agendas of pharmaceutical companies. And, with delusional doctors, that anyone, obviously, includes themselves.

However, logic tells us that Pharma would not spend the exorbitant amount of money they do procuring, training, grooming and educating their sales reps, (last I heard it was in excess of $100K per rep), if it was not at least, profitable for them to do so. Reps drive company cars and are given state-of-the-art electronics and computers. They enjoy lucrative benefits packages providing healthcare, prescriptions, counseling, dental and eye coverage. They also have large expense accounts and corporate charge cards and gas cards. So, reps rarely ever come out of pocket for most every day expenses.

Money talks, and a recent survey of drugs since 1997 with revenues over $200+ million in sales annually, tells the real story. This survey found that Pharma’s average return received for each dollar spent on direct detailing to doctors was $10.29. That’s a whopping return on investment, considering it is twice the return they made on journal ads directly targeting prescribers, and nearly 7 times the return on investment received with direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising. You’ve seen the DTC ads and they are the ones that always end with, “Ask your doctor if so-and-so drug is right for you!” (The Drug Pushers, The Atlantic, 04/2006)

The Atlantic

Pharmaceutical reps are generally some of the most personable people on the planet. Many are even exceptionally attractive – both males and females. (Enjoy this clip about Pharma reps as seen on the sit-com Scrubs: )
Often, reps will know the names of doctor’s spouses, children, the church or clubs they frequent, what their favorite foods and restaurants are, even when their favorite sports teams play. Reps make it a point to know these facts of interest, because everything done for a doctor by a Pharma rep tends to have a personal touch to it, the rep having considered the psychological profile, as well as the prescribing habits of the physician, before they are “gifted”.
Otherwise, known in Corporate America as the “quid quo pro,” Pharma reps are constantly reminded by their superiors that they must “get” something in return for what they “give” to providers. In other words, you scratch their backs if they’ll scratch yours! When a doctor doesn’t play ball, their “goodies” are soon limited to the occasional box lunch or pens, pads and other promotional items. However, for those high volume prescribers who allow reps to haunt their corridors and provide corporate support at every turn, they can be treated to grand rounds in exotic locations, or receive gourmet, catered meals for their entire staff. They may even be invited to act as an Opinion Leader or be on the Speaker’s Bureau representing the company with his peers!

Of course, none of this constitutes bribery…officially. Or, does it? The definition of a bribe is: “anything given or serving to persuade or induce:” The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association has self-imposed rules and regulations regarding “gifts” and their acceptable values. However, reps are instructed by managers to hide most gifts and bribes, for accounting purposes, as continuing medical education or other legally accepted expenditures. In my personal experience, there are rarely moral conflicts-of-interest expressed in the bribing of doctors – only financial ones!

Contrary to popular beliefs, the pharmaceutical industry isn’t in the business of health and healing. They are in the business of disease management and symptom(s) maintenance. They are beholden to their shareholders and concerned about their corporate profit margins. The executives of these companies live and die by their “market shares” and bottom lines…pure and simple. The people largely responsible for those market shares and bottom lines comprise the sales force, which brings us back to my title: there is no FREE lunch in sales!