At just 17 years old, Psalm Isadora broke free from the fundamentalist Christian cult she had been born into and embarked on a wild drug and sex-fuelled journey.
Isadora was escaping not only the group's oppressive lifestyle but also the father who had molested her from the age of five.
Her quest to heal her "sexual wound" led her on a perilous drug and sex-fuelled journey from the clubs and bars of Hollywood to the ashrams of southern India, reports News.com.au.
"I spent my 20s in a hot mess of sex and drugs," Isadora told a wellness seminar in the US last year, just months before her suicide.
"I used anything I could to escape the pain but I still kept my secret, I still protected my abuser. I was still afraid of being judged, I was afraid if I told people, no one would love me because I was too broken and wounded.
"It would feel like the red-hots, like I couldn't crawl out of my own skin and the only escape would be maybe drinking because then I was numb and then I felt free. Or doing drugs because then I would feel free.
"Or sex. I had sex with men, I had sex with women, I had sex with Hollywood. I'm not mad at it except it wasn't empowered (sex). Sex was like my heroin. Some people who have had sexual abuse (become) hyposexual - they shut down their sexuality.
"I was hypersexual; sex was where I could go and escape myself. I would have sex and feel like white light was everywhere, like I connected something eternal with ecstasy. It was sublime."
She turned her life around with yoga, becoming a teacher in Hollywood. Word of her charisma spread and in a relatively short space of time she had gone from running free classes in Hollywood to building a multi-million business including online courses, live events, and TV shows.
In 2007 Isadora travelled to India where a Tantric master gave her initiation in Shakti Tantra Yoga - the ancient teachings on feminine and sexual energy that were kept secret even in India for centuries because of religious taboos.
Sri Amritananda was a former nuclear physicist turned tantra teacher who had built an enormous temple adorned with statues of penises and vaginas in a remote location in the country's east.
He educated Isadora about Tantra in the Śrī Vidyā tradition, an ancient lineage devoted to worship of the feminine. She used it to heal her own "sexual wound" and heal others whose sexuality had been crippled by the trauma of abuse.
She went on to become a sex coach to celebrities, counting legendary actor Catherine Deneuve and Burn Notice star Gabrielle Anwar as devotees and developed a cult following of her own.
But the spectre of depression and anxiety always haunted Isadora - she could never escape the trauma of having been abused as a child. She was also diagnosed as bipolar disorder but hated taking lithium, instead self-medicating with Xanax and alcohol.
In March this year, she took her own life. Her death, at just 42, shocked the industry and her disciples, who had believed she had succeeded in overcoming her demons.
The Los Angeles Coroner's Office ruled the death a suicide but investigations into the circumstances leading up to it are continuing.
Meanwhile her disciples continue to post tributes on her Facebook page. Some express their disbelief that she could ever have killed herself while others flag the possibility she was murdered "for her controversial views".
To put any conspiracies to rest, Isadora's longtime friend Monique Caulfield recently released a statement urging people to accept her death and rather than glorify, or even imitate it.
"Psalm Isadora struggled most of her life with bipolar disorder," Caulfield wrote.
"She was incredibly courageous in the face of a chemical imbalance that took her to sometimes dizzying heights and debilitating lows.
"The latest depression that came over Psalm was a heavy one that had been weighing on her since the winter. Tragically in the midst of this depression she was trying to quit the prescription medication Xanax which she had been using for some time to treat insomnia.
"Psalm realised she wanted that medication out of her system and decided to quit Xanax, Caffeine and alcohol all at once. What she did not know is that one of the potential side effects of Xanax withdrawal is depression as well as suicidal ideation."
Caulfield continued: "Psalm courageously fought against a number of depressive episodes during her life. She had worked hard to use her yoga and spiritual practice to help treat her bipolar disorder and succeeded in building a beautiful life of service and growth.
"During this last struggle those around her tried to help in so many ways including trying to take her to rehab to help her transition off of Xanax but she thought she could get through it on her own.
"She did not realise that this time her depression was being amplified by withdrawal from a medication that increased the likelihood of suicidal thoughts and depression. She did not comprehend the dangers inherent in stopping Xanax without medical supervision.
"She believed this bigger, darker voice was herself and did not understand it was a side effect she was being victimised by.
"I feel that people should know that Psalm Isadora is not dead because she gave up on her life, those she loved or her healing work. She did not take her life in some blaze of sex/death glory. She made a series of decisions in a compromised state of diminished judgment without clear comprehension of what her circumstance really was. It is a tragedy. It is so sad."
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• CASPER Suicide Prevention
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