My journey with Anxiety started in 2012. I was 20 years old, and had made some wrong decisions financially.
With my mounting debts came sleepless nights and this was during exam season at College.
I told myself everything would be alright, but one morning, having stayed awake all night – I suffered my first panic episode.
What followed was months of anxiety, manifesting and destroying countless aspects of my private and social life.
I decided to try and take back control of my life, but I didn’t know much about Anxiety and I didn’t really do much to fix the underlying stresses in my life.
Instead, I started what I called a “recovery program” that was based on relaxation, reclusiveness and spending 4 years practically locking myself away from the world.
This was probably more disastrous than the anxiety itself.
During this time, on one of the rare occasions I booked a short break away – I was first on the scene of a large road traffic accident.
This was a fatal accident and what I seen that day had a profound effect on me. My weight had also become a problem. I was almost 400lbs.
My mobility was becoming more difficult and the doctor told me I may not see 35-40 years old. Despite the anxiety, and despite the PTSD – I absolutely refused to take medication.
I knew there was other ways of getting out of the situation I was in. That’s when I started to do some research online.
In early 2016 – I decided to spend a weekend in another city – with my friends. I realised during this trip that there was so much more to life than the life I had been living.
It was during this crowded and very stressful train journey that I made a promise to myself – to completely change my life around.
When I got home, I discovered DARE online. As I read through the book, I started to implement some of the method.
The one that seems to have helped me the most was that I repeated to myself, over and over again “I accept these anxious feelings”, the running towards which was very scary really helped to, I would say to myself “I want more!”
And one that I still use today “Anxiety, I need you right now!”
I realised that it didn’t matter where I felt anxious. I was missing out on so much, yet even in my safe space (my bedroom) – I still had panic attacks… So then I decided, why not go out and see the world?!
Eventually, I stopped fighting against my anxiety. I simply stopped fearing it. What’s the point in being afraid of being afraid?
Since early 2016 – my life has changed so much. I have now lost 120lbs in weight, and I am doing all of the things I used to shy away from.
DARE has given me the confidence to believe in myself again. To take back control of my life, and to enjoy it so much more.
I have just returned from a trip to Barcelona. During the trip, I watched a Football game surrounded by 50,000 people – I snorkelled in open waters, and I travelled in an off-roader to the top of a mountain range, where I was able to combat my fear of heights.
All of these things would have been unimaginable two years ago.
My story is only just beginning, and I’m the first to admit that I have had my fair share of set-backs along the way…
But I like them, they keep me level-headed and remind me I’m only human.
Personally I have found the DARE method to be one those rare self-help books that’s both simple in its core message, but offers effective and profound results.
The Facebook groups have been an immensely helpful tool to have – especially seeing the success of other people – it pushed me on.
I definitely want to thank Barry, without him none of it would have been possible.
I also found his narration of the audio book very helpful and the videos on his YouTube channel
Thank you for reading and my story with DARE.