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I Have Had Anxiety Since Childhood

Anxiety has been a part of my life since my childhood. My mum and my grandmother both suffered from anxiety.

As I child I was so used to that mum always took the stairs, sometimes stayed at home while the rest of the family went on holiday, and that she was terrified of thunder.

After my parents’ divorce my mum started to self-medicate with alcohol. My grandmother took so many pills each day that she was in a constant fog.

When I was 20 years old I got very sick in salmonella and started getting anxious about finding a toilet in time.

I also started getting constant thoughts about not being able to do this and that. I tried not to listen since I had big plans for my life.

I studied hard at a University and got my BA. When I was 22, I got the opportunity to fulfill my dream – travel to USA and work there for 6 months.

I came back home and started on my Masters. Studying was so much fun but I put a lot of pressure on myself and was never satisfied.

I could always do more or do things better. I studied full time, worked halftime and planned my wedding.

Eventually the stress made it so I was not able to sleep at night, and it also made me nervous and afraid.

I had a hard time trusting myself. One day on a train I got my first panic attack.

It was horrible and I got off at the next station, in the middle of nowhere.

Somehow I managed to get married and finish my masters. I became the master in avoiding stuff.

I lied so well that it became the truth. I tried CBT therapy several times during the years. I was also offered medication but never saw that as an option after my grandmothers’ experience.

She actually got well after more than 20 years on pills and went to rehab as a 72 year old.

I thought this is how life should be. I avoid elevators, I don’t need to fly, I’ll go on the small roads instead of the highway, it´s cheaper to watch a movie at home then at the movies, etc.

Then I had two kids and it started to be more difficult to live a life with lies and avoiding behavior.

Becoming a parent was wonderful! I loved my girls and wanted to do everything for them. I started to put tons of pressure on myself.

I had to be the best parent in the world. During this time I got my dream job and my husband got a promotion.

Life was too much! I had two breakdowns before but managed to get up, but then I got a severe burnout. I got panic attacks and general anxiety 24/7.

I was afraid of being alone at home, I couldn’t pick up the kids at school, I was afraid of going in a car even if I had my husband with me.

This happened in Jan of 2015, 13 months later a friend told me about a book called Dare and that’s when things changed.

Dare has given me the understanding that my life doesn’t have to be lived in a small safe zone.

The wonderful Dare family on Facebook has made me understand that I am not alone in this and I was never ever crazy, as it felt when I was at my lowest point in life.

My favorite part in the Dare book is chapter “Give up being so hard on yourself”. Thanks to Dare I stopped being a Super parent and just became a good enough parent.

A parent that has time to sit down and listen to her child instead of baking healthy homemade bread. I am much happier now even if I have my days off, but so does everyone.

I believe that I am changing my family tree and the legacy. My anxiety and stress syndromes sometimes make life a bit of a struggle but they don’t run my life, I do.

A big turning point in my recovery was when I stopped with all the lying and didn’t hide anymore. Being open about my anxiety took away a lot of pressure!

The Dare steps that helped me the most were allow, accept and engage. I use that step a lot when I’m in the car. I accept and allow and engage rather than ‘feeding’ the anxiety with a lot of what ifs.

Run towards is the hardest step for me, but I know I will get there! I also love the jump up and down, moving legs and arms. It helps a lot when a panic attack tries to get a hold of me.

Today I am well on my journey of recovery, I´m about 70 % recovered. The picture I have here was one of the best DARE days ever, I did so much and realized that DARE really works.

I can do so many things that I avoided before, like going to the movies, be home alone with my girls, going on vacations even if it´s still a bit close to home, going to concerts, go swimming with the family and go to the dentist.

Dare has also given me my DREAMS back. I can actually see myself one day riding on an airplane. I still struggle with all kinds of transportation.

I can manage 20 minutes on the highway. I can go so many places now! Yesterday I bought concert tickets for May 2018, and by then I have to be able to go 2,5 hours on the highway and be in a crowd with 50,000 people.

Let’s do this! Keep on Dareing!

Sofia

22 Comments

  1. Kris Brown says:

    I read your article about anxiety. I know exactly how you feel. I suffered from anxiety attacks and severe depression since I was about 18. I could find no resolve. Then one day, i went to a bookstore where there were millions of books. While checking the titles of these books, a paperback book fell to the floor near my foot. The name of the book was “From Sad to Glad.” it is written by Nathan Kline. In it he describes the role of neurotransmitters which, in essence, control your mood, your emotions, etc. He explained that if certain neurotransmitters are lacking, that could cause this disease. Interesting enough, my sister and my mother had the same disorder. He ran a test called a dexamethasone suppression test which determined that I suffered from an inherited deficiency of serotonin. He put me on another medication and within six weeks, I was fine. To this day, I feel so blessed to feel GREAT and when I met people who suffered from the same symptoms, I recommended that they get the book. I worked for 15 years in a large trauma hospital in Palm Springs where I would meet lots of patients. Being that I enjoy talking to people, I would spend some time talking to them and there were times they would open up to me about their problems. I can’t even tell you just how many people I helped but I know God put me in their path for a reason. Get the book and see a psychiatrist treats treats biochemical depression

  2. Tonii says:

    Thanks for sharing your story so far look how far you have come been very proud of yourself.

  3. Jarrod says:

    Amazing! You are such an encouragement to me! We can DARE it!

  4. John says:

    Absolutely spectacular! You’re doing it!

  5. Alane says:

    God bless! You’re awesome.

  6. Diana says:

    Wow as a mother with anxiety I can totally relate to this.. I am a stay at home mother and sometimes it’s hard to be home alone with her because I’m afraid of getting panic attacks and “not in control ” thank you for this

  7. Maureen Obrien says:

    I can so relate to this. Anxiety follows me around like a black cloud. Small amounts of anxiety medication help a lot. But my life is more limited than it should be. The fear that I might experience ” The mother of all panic attacks” out of the blue dogs me. I so want to be free of this. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  8. Jade says:

    Hi I’m so glad ur got better well done I’m u now I’m really struggling 24/7 vertigo dizziness sickness numb arm and legs carnt go out I stay in bed everyday wasting aeay iv had it 2 years but got worse over last year and I’m really struggling to carry on don’t want medication I have disrealization so I get a feeling of things arnt real and I over panick my vision is blurred sensitive to noise I’m worried I’m dying x

  9. Lewis says:

    Hi,
    DARE has worked well for me in terms of panic attacks, but any advice for tackling a lifelong ‘paruresis’ phobia which blights my life would be welcome.
    Thanks.

  10. Claire Page says:

    WOW Sofia you have come so far. Well done and keep daring. Thanks for sharing your story! 🙂

  11. Emma says:

    When I read your post it’s like I’m reading about myself . I have been 16 yrs with this , I don’t go on holiday with my family , I’m scared of everything .
    The DARE bootcamp was amazing I did so well . I seemed to of relapsed and am finding it hard to get back into it . You have givin me inspiration & thank you ❤️

  12. Karen says:

    At a time when I’m about to give up I read your story. It has given me hope. I’m ordering the Dare book today. I just hope it helps me. I have no support system so this is a journey I’m doing on my own.

  13. Demha says:

    Jade, I think your symptoms are migraine. Forgive me if you already know this, but migraine is not a headache, but a symptom of migraine. Migraines are electrical and chemical activity in the brain. I occasionally feel how you describe. Migraines are often mistaken for a stroke. They can cause numbness and weakness, temporary blindness, vertigo as well as headaches. Go to the migraine trust website. Good Wishes

  14. Anxiety is an evil self applied mental trick that becomes a real problem in intelligent and very creative people. A practice that has helped me is practicing every day, many times, a day positive or neutral creative mental imagery. This strengthens the mental pathways of thought from negative creating anxiety to benign or positive creating relaxation. Fear is always false evidence appearing real. The problem is your body believes it even when it is subconscious and will out of your control at that moment react to it. Thus DARE works immediately. The mental imagery practice will make the DARE response necessary less frequently.

  15. Mandy says:

    I am a mother and can relate to a lot of what you said!!
    I’m getting better day by day implementing dare etc.. we can do this xox
    Proud of you;)

  16. Charli says:

    Jade you’ve got this. Get up. Dance. Pray. Practice the DARE response. Take suppoments that help your adrenals. Stress B, Vit C, Rhodiola Make sure you look past your smart phone, past your thoughts, out into the far reaches of your sight. Practice mindfulness. Meditation, yoga.

  17. Marz says:

    Well done! Thank you for sharing ! DARE on!

  18. Barbara T says:

    Very inspiring ! WELL DONE !!

  19. Tessa says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Your story is my story. Brought tears to my eyes😢

  20. Sofia says:

    Thanks for all the kind comments. I hope that sharing my story will inspire others. I love to read all the stories on Dare success stories. Tonii, your stories are very inspiring and you are so brave when you challenge anxiety.

  21. Jane says:

    My name is Jane. I have anxiety disorder, mine is when it’s start, it will be like something else is controlling my brain and mind.. I get shivering when I lock myself in the house. I start walking up and down to relief myself.

  22. Torvald says:

    Moved to tears reading all these stories of people struggling. I’m not alone in the World! Myself being in the middle of a setback fearing a long distance vacation coming up in a couple of weeks. DARE is really a Comfort and I’m trying the best I can to accept and follow the steps. The big trouble is my “Safe zone” (I know the safe zone is a myth). Some would say in my case the safe zone is huge but it definitely has a limit and that goes for flying over seas. I had a panic attac when I was 19 years old and I’ve struggled alll my life through with family, work and travelling. I’v forced myself, slowly overcoming my agoraphobia but there seems to be a lot more job to be done after all.
    All the best to you Sofia, You are a warrior! (I get a feeling we share the same native language!)
    Torvald

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