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Making friends with my anxiety.

Seven years ago I started to suffer anxiety and panic attacks. Suddenly I felt like my body and mind was totally out of my control, and I felt so shut off from the world.

I was suddenly scared of everything but didn’t understand why? Even simple little thing like household chores and looking after my family became so hard for me.

Over the years I had the usual treatments, councilling, medication, CBT none of which got to the bottom of the anxiety. It would just keep coming more and more over the years usually before Xmas and gone by May.

About two years ago I started to do my own research and thought I’d finally cracked it because for the first time in years my anxiety didn’t appear at Xmas, I was so happy. But then without any warning, bang it was back in March 2016 and the worst it had ever been.

I very quickly was back on the anxiety loop again and had convinced myself that my life was over and that this would be me for life.

The general anxiety and panic attacks were so crippling I was petrified even leaving the house but also petrified to be at home alone, I couldn’t win had no safe place anywhere. I had every sensation you can think of including for the first time depersonalization and derealisation which scared me so much.

My thoughts were 100mph. I was desperate and had to find something to help me out of this hell.

Then, I came across Dare, looked into it and thought “Wow that looks different to the usual bog standard self-help books”, so I ordered it. As soon as it arrived I read it all in one go and thought “Omg accept what I’m feeling no way!” Left it a while then at the end of July I thought I have to do something and decided to read Dare again and promised myself I was going to give this my all and 100%

I had nothing to lose but a lot to gain. (A new life)  I started by listening to the dare response as much as possible, listened to the morning motivation and watched every single video Barry had on YouTube. I stuck to the life map and kept notes with accept and allow.

I’m excited, shake it out. Engage in life. I can do this, I’m not scared I am safe and in control everywhere in my bags, jeans pockets, car everywhere! First would take the book everywhere with me it was like my Bible.

I would see myself like a boat bobbing around with the nervous energy and would feel it rise and fall. I told myself to not be scared and accept it all it’s the only way to get better.

I started to be more playful and called my anxiety Billy Bullshitter the bouncing ball of energy. I treated every day like a challenge and see how strong I could be.

I stopped crying when scared and would laugh and say out loud “Come on Billy I love this feeling give me more, come on give me what you got” and guess what? It never got worse, it subsided instead.

I did have the odd setback but I welcomed them because I knew that was when I had to keep calm and carry on the most and keep pushing through at the end of the day everything I was feeling was really just all down to cortisol and adrenaline.

Whatever Billy was trying to get me not to do, I would do the opposite and go for it. I was finally engaging in life again and after a month I had managed to get myself two part time jobs that I loved in my youngest son’s primary school and went on holiday to Australia with my family.

It was my biggest challenge yet, the holiday was booked 6 months before and I was adamant I couldn’t and wouldn’t go, but DARE gave me the push to go, so I packed a bag for Billy and took him with me, we both had an amazing time.

I did have rebound anxiety when I got home but after a week I gave DARE my all again and it quickly went away.

I was finally living life again to the fullest and now I don’t take  one day for granted and practice mindfulness and gratitude every single day, eat healthy don’t drink alcohol and cut out sugar as much as

I can and drink lots of water. I have more me time and still take cold showers! Everything that Barry recommends.

I now have made friends with Billy and am grateful he came into my life because he was only trying to protect me and show me my lifestyle needed to change.

Thank you Billy, Barry McDonagh and Suzane and the dare support groups for always being there for me I love you all xx

Louise B

9 Comments

  1. dorothy furman says:

    Just a wonderful tribute to Barry Suzanne and YOU. Thanks for sharing

  2. Marge says:

    Loved your story of acceptance Louise! Mostly because you gave detailed examples of what you did to accept Billy Bullshitter…not just I applied DARE and got better. I hope all DARE members who share their stories continue to give details of how they got through their days, what your routine to accept anxiety looked like! My anxiety has a name, Molly Minion, and I think I need to make her more dastardly and wicked, I’m realizing she’s too cute…maybe she needs to be “Molly Mayhem!”

  3. Cat says:

    You are such an inspiration to many! So happy for you!

  4. Sophie says:

    This could have been my story – so similar in how things escalated and how isolated you feel – and how we have both beat this… I’m writing this from the airport about to fly to Mexico!!!

    Let’s do this! DARE!!

  5. Rebecca cacy says:

    Thank you! Encouraging.

  6. Gina DeMeo says:

    Wow! Your story is my story I cried reading it. I want to thank you for sharing and now you havd pushed me to get the book and help myself. God Bless you!!

  7. Dominick says:

    Your story is very inspiring to me. Most of what you have said i have experieced now and in the past. Thanks for sharing

  8. Louise brickell says:

    Thankyou for sharing my story,I’m really hoping to see others go for it, buy Dare and get their life back on track, it really is possible you just have to do the work and put in 100% effort. I wish everyone all the love and luck in their Recovery xxxx

  9. cassie says:

    Wow, what a great writer and incredible story! Thanks so much for sharing and giving so much detail 🙂

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