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!