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I am a thirty-two-year-old school teacher and have suffered from agoraphobia, panic
attacks, and generalised anxiety for the past twenty years. Over the years, I have sought
help from many psychiatrists, psychologists, general practioners, hypnotherapists, and
centres ‘specialising’ in the treatment of anxiety and panic. But of the dozens I saw, half
had no personal experience with anxiety or panic themselves, and the other half wanted
to medicate me so heavily that I could barely care for my newborn. At my darkest hour,
feeling there was no hope for me and that the life I wanted to live would be a dream
and not a possible reality, I met Dean Smith. The fi rst time I met Dean, I walked in
already convinced that he would be just like all the others and that this would all prove
to be another dead end for me. However, at the end of our fi rst session, I called my
husband, in sobbing tears, saying that I had fi nally found the person who could help
me . . . , and he did. Dean’s approach to treating anxiety, panic, and fear allowed me
to confront my demons but never once feeling afraid to do so. His practical exercises
were confronting but had an amazing result. Each session taught me to both
challenge and accept my thinking without being frightened anymore. After a year
of working with Dean and applying his techniques to my life, my dream life finally
became a reality. I once was too afraid to venture to the local shops for fear of having
a panic attack in public. In March 2011, I got on a plane with my husband and son
and fulfi lled my lifelong dream of going to Europe. Dean Smith gave me the tools to
begin my life and discover who I truly am. I am and remain forever grateful to him.
Anxiety and panic attacks led me to Dean. I didn’t know or understand what was
wrong with me or why these attacks were starting to affect my life and well-being.
I went to Dean because I thought I needed ‘fi xing’ because something was wrong
with me. Working together, I started to learn tools that helped me understand my
anxiety. This helped me to stop fearing it; I can honestly say I’m not scared anymore!
Yet working with my emotions, using the many skills that I have learnt from Dean,
helped me to see that I don’t need fi xing. I am perfectly normal, and my anxieties are
symptoms triggered by something much deeper, thirty-fi ve years of shame, guilt, and
perfectionism . . . Now something was beginning to change – me.
This has been the biggest challenge in my life; however, beginning to fi nally lean into
my feelings of vulnerability, working with them, and understanding them has been
one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
My greatest gratitude goes to Dean for helping me through my journey of awareness.
- Xlibris, October 2012
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